The job market wasn’t looking good in 2012 when Patricia Maristch graduated from Immaculata with a bachelor’s in Communication. So she started freelancing for a state senator’s political campaign, doing public relations and social media.
She kept freelancing after she got a job at an agency, and she soon built enough of a client base to launch her own business, Piqued PR, a lifestyle public relations firm focused on piquing the interest of the media and consumers, especially in the area of fashion. “I knew I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and own my own business,” she said. “I just didn’t necessarily know that it would happen so quickly!”
Maristch handles media relations, social media, branding, and events for both local and national clients. She enjoys helping clients get press placements and “seeing them enjoy the limelight for a little bit” in local newspapers as well as national publications—People Style Watch, Real Simple, and Southern Living. Fashion designers show Maristch their collections of jewelry and clothing each season, and she looks for what’s new and unique that might attract media attention. “It’s always changing,” she said. “Every week I have to think of new pitches and creative angles.”
One of Maristch’s favorite projects involved attending New York Fashion Week last fall with a client who designed a dress for a runway show contest sponsored by Subway. “They had to create dresses out of Subway napkins, and Subway sandwich wrappers, and Subway plates,” Maristch said. “But they all were really crazy and gorgeous, and they looked like regular clothes!” Maristch tweeted and posted on Facebook during the event, and it got some coverage from BuzzFeed.
Another favorite project was creating Main Line Fashion Week, an event this past spring full of runway shows and shopping events. While Philadelphia has its own fashion week, Maristch noticed that there wasn’t a similar event for the Main Line, which has its own distinct interests. Her goal was “to support the local businesses and designers and celebrate style.”
With the help of some partners and some Immaculata interns, the event was a great success. Maristch is planning another one for the fall, this time broadening the scope from fashion to style in general, including beauty, interior design, and even food. She also plans to provide more opportunities for students, offering talkbacks and seminars with industry leaders.
Maristch appreciates all the opportunities her professors provided when she was a student. “It still continues now that I’ve graduated,” she said, mentioning Assistant Professor of English Denine Ellis, who encouraged her to write for The Immaculatan, and Director of Fashion Merchandising Chris Baeza, who sends Maristch interns and invites her to classes as a guest speaker. Baeza also assisted with Main Line Fashion Week, and Maristch returns the favor by introducing her to other professionals in fashion. “I think the community [at Immaculata] is really important and has influenced a lot of what I’ve done,” Maristch said.
Her favorite fashion tips? “I think belts can be a great accessory,” she said. “They’re unexpected. Everyone normally puts on jewelry, but a belt can totally be a statement as well.” She also loves statement shoes, mentioning a pair she saw that was designed to look like a watermelon—green and pink with little black crystals.
Though she has accomplished a lot already, Maristch has big goals for the future as well. “I’d like to continue to grow the business and hire employees as well as find an office space that could also serve as a showroom for some of the designers and brands I work with,” she said. She also dreams of opening branches of Piqued PR in Washington, D.C. and using her creativity to design home décor or jewelry.
She learned early to go beyond what’s expected and create her own opportunities, especially in this market. “Everything’s what you make of it,” she said.