Rachel Butts, brand development and public relations lead at Mabel’s Labels, unleashes her creativity to create exciting brand experiences. She emphasizes the power of saying ‘yes’ to new opportunities, and describes how inspiring it is to work at a female-founded company.
ISIS: I’m Isis Simpson-Mersha, Conference Producer and Reporter at Ragan
LYNSEY: Hi, I’m Lynsey Stanicki, and I’m the Digital Video Production and Marketing Content Producer at D S Simon Media.
ISIS: And today we’re here with Rachel, and we’re so excited to have you join us today.
RACHEL: Thank you. I’m excited to be here.
ISIS: So, how were you able to determine your niche with Mabel’s Labels?
RACHEL: So, a little background on me. So, I went to university at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada. I graduated with an honors Bachelor of Arts from a communications and multimedia program. And that program gave me a really good skill set, so I was able to do PR in my undergrad as well as media. So, photography, videography, and a little bit of coding enough to get me to understand just the smallest amount, but definitely an IT expert. And my first job out of university was here at Mabel’s Labels. I started as the marketing assistant, and I think when I started with this role, I came with a skill set that was very unique. And once the upper management saw that I had a very interesting skill set compared to what the marketing assistant role was, I was then promoted to work internally with an agency that we did our PR with. And they had the confidence to let me work with strategy with that agency. And I did a lot of influencer work with the agency. And that was really fine, but then COVID hit, and then during COVID, we had to bring PR in-house. And at that point, I think I upper management obviously saw that I had a lot of experience as well as a ton of skills that I was able to offer to that position so that I took on our brand management as well as our PR. And that’s where I am today. So, I lead our PR strategy here at Mabel’s Labels, and I think my skillset again, is very unique because I’m really good at creative writing and writing in general, which helps with pitches and brand communications. And then with my photography and videographer skill set, I work very closely with our creative team to create beautiful assets that we can send out in our pitches.
LYNSEY: That’s awesome. And speaking of creativity, how do you unleash your creativity in your role at Mabel’s Labels?
RACHEL: So, one of my favorite parts of my role is our PR gifting. We work with a ton of parenting content creators as well as influencers. And part of that is doing gifting. So, we do seasonal PR gifting where we send, you know, new products or something that’s timely and for that time of year. So, for us at the beginning of the year, Valentine’s Day, daycare, summer camps in spring and summer, as well as back to school. And then right now we’re in our holiday season. And because we have a ton of influencer friends that receive these gifts year over year, I really have to push the boundaries every year to make sure they’re getting something new and exciting. And it’s really fun to come up with different concepts that match up with our brand messaging as well as our PR campaigns. And an example would be for back to school this year to go with sustainability that we’re trying to do here at Mabel’s Labels. We made the box reusable by making them coloring books, so we had a cute little coloring book and sent some crayons and markers for the kids to color in the PR boxes, so they didn’t go to waste.
ISIS: AI love that you get to be so creative in your role and like you mentioned, all the different, like really different skill sets you have. I mean, it’s really impressive. And so, what advice do you have for other communicators who want to grow their skill set?
RACHEL; Yeah, absolutely. So, my best advice is don’t say no to anything. If you see an opportunity that excites you, even if it’s the smallest amount, say yes, I can guarantee you’ll probably come out on the other side learning something new, whether that’s just a new fact, a new skill set. I think there’s always something to learn, whether it’s from your colleagues, your peers, or other people that you network with. And I always say, like, attend webinars. There are so many free ones that you can attend, and I feel like I pick up so many, like little tidbits that I get so excited to bring back to my team and say, Oh, I learned this, this week. And if you can go to conferences. I went to Ragan writing conference back in May in New York City, and that’s where I met Colleen, which was very lovely. And I was able to connect with the D Simon Media team. And I just think it’s just you learn so much, you meet new people, so don’t say no try so many different things.
LYNSEY: Thank you so much for sharing. Rachel, what is it like working at a female-founded company?
RACHEL: Well, we do obviously have male co-workers here, a lot of our team is female. Our leadership team is female. And that makes me so excited because it’s women that I can look up to, to see where I can aspire to go with my career. They’re very strong women, and I admire that so much. And because Mabel’s Labels was founded by four moms with the intent that they needed a more flexible lifestyle to work as well as raise their children. While I’m not a parent myself, there are a ton of parents here, and our work-life balance is very, very great here. We have the flexibility if we need to go do something and then obviously that gives us, you know, wanting to do our work and we don’t feel like we have to cut things out of our life just to work and I really like that. And it’s just a really inspiring, flexible work environment here.
ISIS: Yeah, Rachel, you kind of like led into my next question, like speaking of like aspiring where you want to go with your career, you know, how will you rise to the occasion over the next few months in your career journey? I mean, the months I mean, even looking at the next year.
RACHEL: I really just want to say yes to so many opportunities. I want to learn more. I feel like this industry changes so much. I want to take in all the knowledge I possibly can. And I love learning from my peers. I love seeing what other people are doing and I think there’s so much to learn from other teams and what other brands are doing and what other agencies are doing as well. So, just learning and taking it all in.
ISIS: Awesome. Well, this has just been such a joy and I think we have so many takeaways just for Lynsey and me. So, we thank you so much for joining us today.
LYNSEY: Thank you so much, Rachel. We really appreciate it.
RACHEL: Awesome. Thank you, this has been so fun.