Walker Drawas is a full service media, celebrity and editorial public relations and marketing company. We spoke to founders and partners Adam Drawas and Jennifer Walker about the creation of their company, the key to a happy business partnership and the importance of a west coast hub.
How do you know each other and how did you come to launch the agency in which you’re partners?
AD: Jennifer was my client for five years, when the company was formerly Adam Drawas and Jennifer was VP of Communications at AllSaints. We launched AllSaints in America through a five year plan with fantastic results. After she left the company to consult on other brands, it became apparent that the two of us together was magic.
JW: I was working internally at AllSaints when the brand when gearing up to launch in the US. Because I was one of the first North American employees, I was building a team and creating the strategy for the brand’s debut in US. The Robertson Boulevard store (in LA) was slated to be the first US location and, given the initial stages we were in at the time, I knew the only vehicle to drive and garner press was through celebrity. At the time there was no social media, so those non-paid celebrity relationships were critical. I met Adam through a mutual friend in the industry because I was looking for an external west coast rep to launch the store. Adam had great relationships with key people and within the first month, we had Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani and Halle Berry come through the front door. We worked together for years after that, and once I relocated to the west coast after leaving AllSaints, we decided to join forces and launch our agency. The rest is history!
What’s been the key to a happy and successful business partnership?
AD: Communication, respect and the understanding that you’re both very different people. And….lots of profanity.
JW: Like any marriage, it takes patience, trust and compromise.
Did you have any mentors or people who inspired you along the way?
AD: Fiona Falkes - my mentor back in the day in Paris, when I was doing designer relations with The Louvre. Fiona gave me a great understanding of fashion and design from the perspective of art and costume. My former boss Lara Bohinc, for her grasp and understanding of running a company in the fashion industry. Arianne Phillips for her education and guidance in understanding the Hollywood machine.
JW: Dana Dynamite, my first boss in a PR role out of college. She taught me a more grass roots approach to business. Paul McAdam: I worked with on and off with him for 14 years. He has taught me how to be a leader as well as how to work, play hard.
How is the agency embracing the increasing evolution of PR and media into the digital space?
AD: By keeping our ear to the ground and evolving and adapting to the way the consumer public and influencers engage with and digest consumerism. Today’s consumer has such a short attention span, so how one reacts and creates newness and content is at a more rapid pace. Because of that faster pace, creation opens up to a lot of opportunity for original voices and more perspectives of fashion, style and pop culture as a whole.
JW: We’ve come to terms with the fact that the traditional approach doesn’t exist anymore. The ways to move the needle are through digital programming, viral initiatives, and making a lot of noise to over saturate both socially and over digital media.
Walker Drawas is based in Los Angeles. How would you say the business is different than if you were based in New York City or elsewhere?
AD: What happens in LA resonates globally, because we engage talent and influencers in one place. I think that NYC is no longer the epicenter of the fashion voice and the consumer is more open to digesting style and fashion from different perspectives. As well, LA is a season-less city, so with the ever-changing pace of fashion and designers releasing more collections per year, and creating more direct to consumer opportunities with real time consumption, LA doesn’t have the restrictions of seasonal weather. We are able to place product year-round.
JW: The industry is changing and with that comes changes in environment. A couple years ago, being in NYC was essential; now being in LA is more important. Also, a lot of brands look to LA for innovation. Many brands are in the dark to what goes on in Los Angeles; it’s uncharted territory. If we weren’t here, we’d be subject to traditional approaches. But because we are based here, we’re able to capitalize on the entertainment and celebrity industries.
Can you give us a few local LA tips: some great new places you’ve discovered (or old favorites) to eat, drink, visit?
AD: The Local store on La Brea for Australian denim; Catwalk on Fairfax for hidden vintage gems; Alfred Tea Room for the best matcha green tea in town and a dinner staple would be Pace; the only restaurant in the Hollywood Hills.
JW: Chateau Marmont is a staple; New Era Design Lab store at Staples Center downtown; and Soho House Malibu.
What are some of your current projects that you’re excited about?
AD: Coachella, Coachella, Coachella. We are doing over 8 events this season. Readers should follow us on Instagram for a look into the mayhem that will be Coachella!
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