After a few years of heavy networking, drafting umpteen press releases, and nabbing big celeb hits, it's easy for egos to bloat in the PR world. So many gals seem to jump the gun on opening up their own shops, only to find themselves in the red shortly thereafter. To build a legit biz with happy clients, it takes wit, ambition, thick skin — and let's face it, serious sartorial chops. Case in point: Sahar Sanjar and Brooke Pace of laChambre Public Relations, who parlayed their combined backgrounds at big agencies and reached new entrepreneurial heights. Now boasting a client roster too long to list (Elie Saab, Charlotte Olympia, Moschino, Reem Acra, Alberta Ferretti, Alice + Olivia, and Joe's Jeans to name a few), they've become the go-to gals for every stylist looking to knock their megawatt stars' socks off.
For any of you bitten by the start-up bug, we sat down with the impressive, pretty pair who offered up a little inspiration and the hard facts on going it alone. After reading up on the doyennes' dishy tidbits, we won't be surprised if you get the urge to send your résumé their way — they have major mentor appeal!
What do your roles encompass from day-to-day?
Sahar: "My day typically starts and ends with responding to a slew of emails. With international clients and stylists, I'm vulnerable to messages flooding my inbox at any time. I could also be consulting on which new pieces should be included or edited from our designers' next seasons, devising a plan for a new L.A. store opening, or creating a global or domestic celebrity placement strategy for a specific brand — the days are never dull! My favorite part of the day, though, is when stylists come in to pull."
Brooke: "I look through images from the night before to see who wore what. There are press clips to look through and forward to each of our clients. Our showroom appointments usually start around 10 a.m., and we have stylists coming in throughout the day, pulling for different celebrities for their red carpet appearances. Since we have a variety of clients, we normally have at least one special project to work on that requires additional press outreach. We also make time to check in with our staff — and most importantly — have at least one or two good laughs a day, usually at my expense, ha!"
How long have you had your company and how did you come by it?
Sahar: "I've been working in PR since '05 and opened laChambre in '09. Starting a business has many challenges. Until you've been in that position, you don’t really know. When I first started the company, I really had to learn to be resourceful: Every dollar I had and made had to go right back into the company. It was tough, but so worth it. It wasn’t until my first awards season, working with Elie Saab, that things started to really take a turn for me professionally. It was amazing, and I've been blessed ever since."
What's the biggest perk to your job?
Sahar: "The wonderful people I get to meet, and truly being involved in the growth and awareness of a brand. What better perk than to see something build and become a success right in front of your eyes? It doesn’t hurt that I'm my own boss, but that’s a double-edged sword. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, right?"
Brooke: "Well, obviously I get to play with fun, beautiful clothing all day long, but being able to do what I love and work with one of my best friends is the biggest perk."
What's the coolest moment you've had while on the clock?
Sahar: "When a designer calls me to say: 'Because of that placement, the dress sold out.' That's the best feeling!"
Brooke: "I guess I would have to say that moment when you see an actress hit the red carpet looking beautiful, and you know your designer will be happy."
Describe your overall approach at laChambre.
Sahar: "My first personal mantra is to decide to succeed, do it with grace, and think about the big picture. Also, when there’s a will, there is a way. I live by these two."
Brooke: "My mantra is to work thoughtfully with passion and honesty."
On Sahar: Joe’s Jeans jacket, Elie Saab blouse, Topshop skirt, and YSL belt; On Brooke: Comme des Garçons pants, Vivienne Tam blouse, Alice + Olivia Jacket, Euva Anderson pearl necklace, and Leeah Lulu Mansfield cross necklace.
Photographed by Lani Trock