Exclusive Interview with 'Buzz Girls' Heather Hope-Allison
Her name may sound like the heroine of a flowery romance novel, but tastemaker, party planner, PR dynamo and all-around cool chick Heather Hope-Allison is anything but a shrinking violet. A woman of today, Hope-Allison is taking the once-diminutive word "girl" and making it big-business and buzz-worthy with her super-successful The Buzz Girls venture.
Because... It's so not about thinking "outside of the box." It's all about being "inside the circle." - Buzz Girls Mission Statement
Hope-Allison has turned the world of Hollywood PR on its gilded ear by planning and presenting parties in alliance with several of the film studios (as well as other related industries) and putting an inclusive feminine slant to the celebrations: Those on the all-female, no plus-1s, exclusive, invite-only guest lists enjoy a truly immersive experience.
For the 'Confessions of a Shopaholic' film launch, the invitees not only participated in a runway show after getting hair and makeup from famous stylists, they got to keep the outfits! At the 'Mamma Mia' party there was a rousing sing-along, and at the 'Alice in Wonderland' "Muchness" party (my own first experience with the The Buzz Girls) we were presented with hats from The Mad Hatter (portrayed by a lovely lady in a Colleen Atwood-inspired costume, naturally), enjoyed a marvelous tea party-inspired dinner, and at the end of the evening were presented with a gift bag fit for a (Red or White) queen.
That's where the "buzz" comes in. After these parties, we talk about them. We network. We're inspired by the women we meet. We try the makeup, fitness, health and bauble products, and if we like them, we recommend them.
Best of all is the personal touch. Hope-Allison co-hosts the events she's hired for, shaping the parties from beginning to end with her own brand of pizazz and yes, muchness.
It was my pleasure to not only attend the Muchness Tea Party, but to have an opportunity to pick the brain of one of Hollywood's savviest women:
Q. What can you tell me about tonight's event? Did the producers of 'Alice in Wonderland' give you some guidance on the muchness theme?
A. The producer of 'Alice,' Jennifer Todd, attended a Buzz Girls creative event we had last year and [she remembered us]. Then when Disney was preparing to release 'Alice in Wonderland' on DVD she thought it would be a great tie-in. We discussed the idea of "muchness" in relation to chutzpah, and the whole idea of today's women who are in charge of their lives and putting themselves out there for adventure and challenges. And I really feel that is what the Buzz Girls are all about. It's a down-to-earth group of very successful woman who do, on a day-to-day basis, put themselves on the line in different areas.
Q. What do you mean, 'on the line'?
A. We are all networkers to some extent and when you recommend someone, you're putting yourself on the line. So, [these parties] are about creating a really great network of people that you can trust, that you're comfortable with. When you're in a protective atmosphere with selected guests, you're not necessarily going to get [nuisance from] that person who just moved to L.A., saying "How do I become a writer?"
Q. And to what do you attribute your own success?
A. I would say networking is a huge part of it. But I think when you really nurture the relationships with people you naturally connect with, instead of forcing the relationship, that's where you find success. I have been able to maintain relationships with people that I haven't come across in any business opportunity, necessarily... but, I have been able to hand them over to other people because I genuinely like them. That's the best way to grow, and it's kind of natural, and it's more sincere. People respect it. You're not forcing a relationship with someone you're not connecting with. And let's face it, the more successful you are, the more boundaries you tend to have.
Q. I'll bet you get a thousand emails daily with "hire me" as the subject line. You have to be a little more guarded, yet you are in PR so you should also be friendly and open; that must be a tightrope to walk.
A. Yes, I literally get resumes every day and internships for certain positions, and the ones I respond to off the bat are the ones that look like they have done some research about what I do. And that they come from a real point of sincerity, instead trying to come across as professional sounding as possible. I know you're 22 and you're just getting your feet wet, but be honest: What are your interests? And if you tap into something that I have a mutual interest in and I feel like I can lend some information, then I will be more than happy to do that.
Q. What advice would you give women who want to be entrepreneurial like you? Do we all have to be on Twitter and Facebook?
A. Well, Facebook is definitely useful. But I think more than anything is diversify your skills. To be an entrepreneur you need to be pretty good at many things [because you don't want to hire out people to do it for you]. Starting out, I did my own website. I did my own printing. I did everything. If I didn't know how to do something, I would try to find someone to at least guide me so that I could do it on my own. Definitely, strengthening all of your skill sets is the first key to success as an entrepreneur.