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Behind the Scenes with Allyson Conklin Public Relations

Allyson is a boss lady that moves mountains but does so with a smile on her face and a stunning office as her base. One draped in her signature color combo (#blueandwhiteforever) and chic to its core. We’re going behind the scenes with Allyson Conklin Public Relations and not only talking PR shop but getting the details behind that gorgeous office. See even more captured by Cassie Rosch in the VAULT.

SMP: Tell us a little about your business.

AC: Allyson Conklin Public Relations (or ACPR) is a boutique public relations agency specializing in beauty, home and lifestyle brands. Since our launch in December 2010, we have worked to get beauty brands, home accent lines, interior designers, bloggers, and e-commerce shops across the U.S. noticed by editors and consumers. Our efforts are focused on public relations, social media, and brand styling, which are all critical components to a well-marketed brand.

SMP: Some words you live by?

AC: Balance, acceptance, expression, and courage. And above all, kindness.

SMP: Any guilty pleasures?

AC: Sleeping in! We have a 10-month-old yellow lab mix, Macon, who has an affinity for early mornings. So even getting out of bed at 6:30 a.m. is an indulgence.

SMP: What did you think your dream job was before your dream job found you?

AC: Lucky for me, I had no idea! So I can’t imagine anything else than this!

SMP: What’s your favorite quote that describes your creative process?

AC: The best things happen unexpectedly. I’m a big believer in not forcing the process. Trust that everything will work out.

SMP: What’s a typical work day for you like?

AC: My workdays typically start between 5 and 5:30 a.m. and are followed by a cup of coffee, quick check in on email and social media, walk with the dogs, and a workout. I’m in the office by 9 a.m. and try to always start with a quick team pow-wow. Then it’s a mixed bag. Most days involve some sort of strategic planning, media relations, social media work, creative writing, managing and mentoring my team, and client communication. I also dedicate several hours to each week to business development, accounting, connecting with other business owners, and other general operations. My days are jam-packed, so I tend to power through lunch and eat at my desk so that I can be out the door by 4:30 p.m. After dinner I check in on email and social media one last time before I settle in for the night. And no judgment please, but most nights I’m in bed well before 9 p.m.!

SMP: Do you have any secret talents?

AC: I can parallel park like it’s nobody’s business. Also, I can sing. Though I never had the guts for anything beyond singing at my high school’s sporting events and talent shows.

SMP: If you could dine with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

AC: My husband. Lucky for me, I get to dine with him everyday.

SMP: What was the tipping point in your business that made you feel like it was going to thrive?

AC: When I came to the realization that I no longer could do it all myself! This happened about a year into business and it was one of the scariest, yet soundest, decisions I have made thus far. Deciding to hire staff was instrumental in shaping the future of ACPR. I started with a part time freelancer and eventually added salaried employees. While hiring and employing the right people still isn’t a perfect process for me, I’m pretty pleased with where we are today.

SMP: What is the hardest lesson in business you’ve ever learned?

AC: Everything won’t always go your way. And that’s ok. If everything went my way, I’d be jaded. And that wouldn’t be good for business!

SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?

AC: Don’t wait. There are a million excuses why you can’t or now isn’t the right time. But if you can’t stop thinking about it, there is no better time than now. The beautiful thing about life is that we’re capable of manifesting what we want. Be brave and go for it.

SMP: What is your favorite item in your office?

AC: It’s a tie between the nuLOOM rugs and the ginger jar watercolors by The Aestate. The rugs because they singlehandedly changed the entire look of both offices in one fell swoop. And the art because #blueandwhiteforever and they make me happy.

SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and personal life?

AC: Just do the best you can. I don’t think balance is a state, but a feeling. And it can be tough to achieve, especially when it comes to owning a business! Find something that works for you and be flexible in your methods for keeping it.

SMP: One thing every style savvy homeowner should have?

AC: Pillows! To me, a space just isn’t complete without them. They have the ability to transform a look entirely! The leopard pillows were a no-brainer for me. I’m obsessed with the Jamil Natural Leopard Velvet fabric by Braemore and am fully on the “leopard is a neutral” bandwagon.

SMP: Your secret to success?

AC: Learn to take the ebbs with the flows. If there’s one thing that I’ve accepted about business over the past five years, it’s that there are no constants. The only constant is change! The ups and downs are natural and when I resolved to embrace it, instead of fighting it, I opened myself up to attracting more success than I could have ever imagined.

SMP: The best job you ever had?

AC: This is it! It’s a job that I never thought I would have, but now that I do, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

SMP: Why do you think your business has done so well?

AC: I think we make public relations more approachable. PR has a reputation of only being available to a select few, mostly based on budget and access, but it’s my hope that we can continue to help shift that mindset. That’s why I am so passionate about working with the independent brands of the worlds. They are the movers, the shakers and the innovators!

SMP: What was the first job you ever landed?

AC: A Fashion Intern for Footwear News. I was bitten by the fashion bug and needed to complete an internship to graduate, so New York City called my name. The entire interview process was conducted from afar and before I knew it, I found myself amongst the hustle and bustle of the city. As a Fashion Intern, I was responsible for managing the fashion closet, helping the Fashion Director conduct research for her stories, and assisting in photo shoots.

SMP: If you could buy yourself a single gift of any cost, what would it be?

AC: Proenza Schouler PS1 Medium handbag (in navy suede with gold hardware, if you must). It’s something that I’ve wanted for years. I’ve set some goals for myself in 2016 and if I reach them, it’ll be mine!

SMP: Best moment of your career so far?

AC: Landing a job at W magazine. I went up against thousands of applicants and somehow managed to make an impression on one very influential New Yorker, whose decision to hire me set in motion a series of events that would lead me to where I am today.

SMP: Your favorite instagrammer?

AC: I may be biased, but I think @waitingonmartha has the best Instagram feed around.

SMP: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?

AC: I would trust myself more. Coming from the corporate world, I always had a team to support and validate my decisions. But in the early days of ACPR, it was just me. I doubted myself and second-guessed my decisions almost daily. While it’s unrealistic to think that there would be no self-doubt if I did it all over again, I’d make more of a concerted effort to push that uncertainty to the side and just do my thing.

SMP: Advice you’d give to your younger self?

AC: Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Things will work out! And if they don’t, then it’s not meant to be!

SMP: Where do you see yourself in five years?

AC: If all goes to plan, I’ll still be doing this! But with even more passion, knowledge and wisdom.

SMP: Your most prized possession?

AC: My diamond eternity wedding bands.

SMP: One thing you can’t live without?

AC: My husband, Michael. We’ve been together for 15 years (married for 10) and I cannot imagine life without him. He inspires me to be a better person, keeps me grounded, makes me laugh, and teaches me to love myself just the way I am. Plus, he makes a killer omelet and the fluffiest pancakes you’ll ever eat! We spend essentially every minute of every day together (he has a home based office, too) and somehow, I still can’t get enough of him. He’s my favorite person in the whole world.

SMP: One place everyone must visit in their lifetime?

AC: New York City. The energy is unlike anything you’ll experience anywhere else. It’ll totally change your perspective of the world, and in the best way possible.

SMP: The best advice you’ve ever received?

AC: Work hard and be nice. Plain and simple, but highly impactful.

SMP: Your go-to recipe?

AC: I’ve been on a scalloped potatoes kick as of late! I knew that it was a keeper when my father-in-law went back for seconds. I consider that the seal of approval.

SMP: What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

AC: Honestly, I’m not sure that I would do anything differently! The harsh reality of this world is that we’re constantly being judged, no matter what we do. So instead of wasting time thinking about how you’re perceived by others, I say let’s focus on impressing ourselves. Silence the chatter and turn up the volume on your own voice.

SMP: Your most memorable moment?

AC: It may sound trite, but walking into the office every morning is memorable for me. Seeing a physical manifestation of something that I built from the ground-up is quite powerful (and I’m not just talking about the design). I don’t take that for granted.

SMP: Stranded on a desert island question… what’s the one cocktail you would take with you?

AC: White sangria! Just think of the possibilities with all that fresh tropical fruit!

SMP: Three things every home should have?

AC: A stocked bar, high quality bedding, and rescue pets.

SMP: One small design change that can make a big impact?

AC: It was a game changer when I accepted that every square inch doesn’t need to be decorated. I have a gorgeous, oversized (with an emphasis on oversized) built-in bookshelf in my office. Since the moment I moved in, it intimidated me. All that space to fill! It has since gone through a series of looks, including what I like to call the “over-styled” look and the “I can’t deal with it so just throw stuff in there” look. Its current state is a happy balance of styled and white space.

I started Allyson Conklin Public Relations (or ACPR) in December 2010 after working for big brands in both New York City and Park City, Utah. And since then, we’ve had the opportunity to represent independent beauty, home and lifestyle brands across the U.S. I pinch myself everyday because we work with brands that I admire and am personally obsessed with! After graduating from Colorado State University in 2005, I started my career in New York City, working for fashion title W magazine. I then transitioned into the PR world with an in-house job at Shiseido Cosmetics, where I worked on the Shiseido, Cle de Peau Beaute and Zirh brands. A stint with a luxury lifestyle developer in Park City, Utah, followed before I founded ACPR. And since then, I’ve been lucky enough to call myself a proud business owner. I do what I love and I think it shows!

Our offices are based out of my home in Fort Collins, Colorado, and we occupy around 900 square feet (bigger than my entire apartment in New York City post-college!) of the basement level. My husband and I purchased this home in September 2014 and the moment we toured it earlier that summer, I knew it would not only be perfect for us, but perfect for ACPR. So we moved our Old Town offices about a month after moving in. And haven’t looked back since!

After years of housing ACPR in different environments (a spare bedroom, co-working spaces, and dedicated offices), I had lots of ideas about how to furnish it. But it took much longer than I expected! I wanted the design to be thoughtful, combining the best parts of an office and the best parts of a home to create a space that is bright, inspiring and showcases my personal style. My favorite color is blue (I blame it on my mother who has been collecting blue and white ceramics since I was a child), am a sucker for leopard, faux fur and gold, and believe a bar cart belongs in every room (we have two in the office!). It all really started to come together in late 2015 and after spending a good month settling in, I’m happy to say that I’m in love, and so is the rest of my staff.

Source List: Desk: AllModern | Accent Chairs: Cynthia Rowley | Ghost Chair: AllModern | Rug: AllModern | Lamps: Home Goods | Console: Target | Bar Cart: Target | Blue and white ceramics: Vintage and collected | Art: The Aestate | Moroccan Pouf: Waiting On Martha | Stool: Target | Pillow: Custom Jamil Natural Leopard Velvet fabric by Braemore from Kathleen Ann Home on Etsy |

General Office: Desks: Target | Ghost Chairs: AllModern | Table: Target | Rug: AllModern | Lamps: Ralph Lauren | Bar Cart: Safavieh | Blue and white ceramics: Vintage and collected | Consoles: Target | Pinboards: Pottery Barn | Leopard Tray: Shop Ten 25 | Art: The Aestate | Bookshelves: Target | Stool: Target | Pillow: Custom Jamil Natural Leopard Velvet fabric by Braemore from Kathleen Ann Home on Etsy

Photography: Cassie Rosch | Office: Allyson Conklin Public Relations

How To Create The Perfect Champagne Tower

We’ve been indulging in sweets land for the past 24 hours and have been loving every second. But we’re getting a little thirsty around here. So, we’re busting out the bubbly and serving it up in style, champagne tower perfection to be exact. You guys, this is SO much easier than you might think! And such a fun way to dress up a party, whether it be a Valentine’s soiree or a birthday bash. Get the how to below!

Materials

Bottles of champagne (we used about one bottle for every 8 coupes but this will vary depending on the size of your coupes)
Coupe glasses (not flutes!)
Tray (large enough for your bottom layer)

instructions

step-1Set your tray on a sturdy, even table—it will catch any spillage from the tower.

step-2The tower is made of layers of coupes arranged in a square formation. Each layer of the tower has 1 less coupe on each side than the layer below- for example, if your base layer is a square of 16 coupes (4×4), the next layer would be 9 coupes (3×3), then 4 coupes (2×2), and finished with 1 coupe on top.

step-3To stack the coupes, arrange the first layer in a square shape with all the rims touching, so that there is a diamond shape of space in the middle of the rims. Place each coupe of the next layer centered over the diamond shape between the rims of the coupes below. Keep stacking until you top with a single coupe.

step-4Slowly pour champagne into the top coupe and as it fills it will overflow and spill into the coupes below. The champagne will trickle down and fill all the coupes in this manner (and make way less of a mess than you might imagine!).

See our full Valentine’s Day Inspiration here!

Photography: White Loft Studio | Design + Styling: Style Me Pretty Living | Flowers: Wholesale Flowers | Calligraphy: Becca Joas | Blush Linen Pillow: Wayfair | Champagne Coupes: ACME Party Box | Gold Cake Stand: Canvas Home | Gold Lumbar Pillow: Wayfair | Pink Ikat Pillow: Joss & Main | Pink Mohair Throw: Wayfair | Pink Pillow: Wayfair | Velvet Pillow: Joss & Main

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Dark Chocolate Naked Cake with Ganache Filling

With New England under a fresh layer of snow, this early morning chocolate indulgence is calling our names. Dessert for breakfast anyone? The Dark Chocolate Naked Cake with Ganache Filling is part of our delicious Valentine’s spread, and it promises to be your new favorite go-to. Find the recipe below and up next we have a how-to for making your very own champagne tower. A match made in heaven!

Dark Chocolate Naked Cake with Ganache Filling

Ingredients

We used this chocolate cake recipe (doubled) which makes four 8″ rounds

* Note – You will end up with 1 extra cake…which to me, is kind of awesome. You can freeze it and use it for impromptu guests or for crumbles on ice cream sundaes!

We used this ganache recipe (doubled)

* Note – You will end up with extra ganache which is another total bonus…you can use the ganache to make homemade filled chocolates!

To Construct

1. Cut the tops of each cake with a serrated knife to ensure that they are all level.

2. Place a dab of frosting on an 8″ cake round and add your first layer.

3. Scoop 2 ice cream scoops full of ganache and use an offset spatula to push your chocolate just past the edges. You want to keep your layer of ganache as even as possible. Add more or less to your liking.

4. Add your next layer and repeat with the ganache.

5. Add your final level and repeat.

6. Using a bench scraper at a 90 degree angle while turning your cake as you go, scrape the excess frosting around the cake.

7. Once your cake looks fairly smooth, use your offset spatula to add a bit more frosting to the “in between” layers. It’s okay if it’s messy.

8. Use your offset spatula to again, pull the excess frosting until nice and smooth (and a bit messy looking!)

See our full Valentine’s Day Inspiration here!

Photography: White Loft Studio | Design And Styling: Style Me Pretty Living

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here