It Girl | ALLYN LEWIS
By: Danae Edmonds
I had the pleasure of connecting with Allyn because of an amazing book she was working with titled "All's Fair in Love and Wardrobe." Not only was I in love with the book, but I was so grateful to meet Allyn through that experience. Her hustle and drive is so inspiring to me. As a model turned PR girl turned entrepreneur, Allyn's story is one that everyone can learn from!
Name: Allyn Lewis
Job Title/Company: Founder/CEO, Relevé Public Relations (Allyn Lewis, LLC)
Education Background: I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Dance
1. Tell us a little about who you are.
I’m an ice cream addicted business owner, PR girl, model, blogging fit fashionista on a mission to inspire other in their lives and careers.
2. How did you know that public relations was for you?
Public Relations found me. When I first went to college, I was a Neuroscience major determined to go to med school. PR got to me through the fashion industry. I had been modeling since high school and eventually started getting more and more involved in coordinating the photo shoots and fashion shows I was involved in just for fun. Eventually, this led me into the PR side of fashion – things like submitting photo shoots to be published, press outreach for events, and helping designers bring attention to their work.
3. Who are you most influenced by?
The people who are around me everyday. Hands down, my team influences me the most. Everyone on my staff actively contributes to the business decisions I’m making. Their feedback is how I judge what’s working and what isn’t. They also inspire me constantly! My family and my amazingly supportive boyfriend have been huge influences throughout this journey as well!
4. What was your first job and how long did you hold that position?
My first and last “real” job was as an assistant at a chiropractor’s office for about a year (that was when I was still going after the medicine career). I never had any sort of internship or position related to public relations until the firm I co-owned prior to Relevé Public Relations.
5. What is the most exciting part of your job?
Never knowing what’s going to happen. This job definitely keeps me on my toes!
6. What were your initial goals with your work? How have they evolved?
In the beginning, everything happened so fast that I didn’t have time to develop my own goals and dreams in this industry. My previous business partner had a very specific vision for the firm she wanted to start and I’m so glad I was able to be apart of that. Through my time there, I learned so much and found an immense amount of strength and trust within myself. Eventually, I developed my own take on PR and business development. At the end of the day, I want to inspire people to follow their dreams and live life to the fullest. I’ve found that inspiration is the foundation of not only positivity, but also success. When you are inspired, you believe in yourself. And when you believe you can do it, other people will believe you can too and that positivity will attract others to support you and work with you!
7. What do you think is the most important life skill you learned from being an entrepreneur?
Trust yourself. Only you know all the angles of what you and your business are going through. If something doesn’t seem right, don’t do it. On the other hand, if you believe something is going to work or has potential, then go for it! When you feel lost, it’s important to look to yourself for direction. Sure you need to have a support system around you where you can gain a variety of insight, perspective, and opinion, but don’t forget that you are also a very valuable resource!
8. Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
I have a few other branches of Allyn Lewis, LLC in the works that will extend the brand far beyond solely public relations. You’ll just have to watch and see =).
9. What is a typical day like for you?
Honestly, I don’t have a typical day. When I wake up and go through my inbox, it’s literally a surprise every day. I might have my whole day planned out and then a client emergency pops up and I have to drop everything to make sure they are taken care of. Everyday is COMPLETELY different and I love that!
10. What was the biggest obstacle you faced so far in the process of pursuing your dreams?
My answer to this probably changes on a day-to-day basic because let’s face it, there are a million super difficult obstacles when starting a business! Recently, it’s been coming to terms with the fact that I can’t please everyone. Some people are just never satisfied no matter what fantastic results you present them with and that’s always been hard to accept. I want my business and I to make a positive impact on as many people as possible!
11. What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Charge what you are worth. In the beginning, it’s so easy to devalue your skills to clients and customers by offering super lower prices. Some money seems better than no money right? Not always. You want to give discounts, especially when you’re starting out to build your portfolio, but you have to be sure you’re considering if the price you’re agreeing to is rational for the time and effort you and your team will take to work on it. If you overload yourself with trade agreements and insufficient rates, you’ll have no time for new clients and you’ll be left without money for the expenses you need to cover in order to continue the growth of your business! If someone isn’t okay with the reasonable rate you’re offering (accompanied by an explanation of why you need to charge that rate), then they probably don’t respect your time. Trust me, you do not have time to deal with people who won’t respect your efforts. It’s okay to say no sometimes!
12. When do you get your best ideas?
When I’m talking to others who are passionate about business or public relations. One small idea can bloom tremendously when you bring in a few more minds!
13. Can you share with us one time that you failed and what you learned from that failure?
I’m not going to give you a specific example because I fail everyday. I think that’s something everyone needs to come to terms with. If you aren’t failing on a regular basis, then you aren’t learning enough. Keep making mistakes; just don’t make the same mistake more than once.
14. How do you unwind?
Lots and lots of yoga!
15. What would you tell someone else who wants to pursue public relations?
Experience is everything. Take as many opportunities that come your way as you possibly can. You never know when that experience will come in handy! Never stop learning and ALWAYS believe in yourself. PR is not easy – don’t expect to sleep, be off on weekends, or live a stress free life. If it’s something you are truly passionate about, it’s all worth it though when you see how happy your clients get when they reach their business goals!
16. What do you hope people take away from your story?
Let the struggles make you stronger. Whatever you’re going through, no matter how bad it seems you can get through it. Then, use whatever came out of the situation you were in to build strength and courage. Don’t let life break you. When you can find it within yourself to find positivity and progress in even the darkest moments, it will truly change your life.
17. Anything we missed that you would like to share?
Here’s my favorite piece of advice to give – you can have your cake and eat it too if you’re the one who bakes it! =)