Fearless Friday: Sabrina Wottreng
I've known Sabrina for close to a year and I can immediately tell you that this girl is going somewhere. I suppose you could say we met because of social media, which I think is accurate, but I'm not entirely sure. Needless to say, our paths crossed because she referred some clients to my company and I've been on a mission to return the favor to her. She's also introduced me to some wonderful vendors turned friends and that's just about the coolest thing ever.
I can now call Sabrina a friend and one that I admire greatly. Here's why: she's wicked smart and driven. Two qualities that I am attracted to like a magnet. She is somewhat of a PR genius and frankly, just gets it. In fact, we had lunch yesterday and I kept remarking how much I need to take a page out of her book and go with my gut. I know you'll love her just as much as I do so let's get the party started - it's been awhile, huh? (here's the April Fearless Friday in case you missed it!)
Meet my friend Sabrina...
Tell us a little about Sabrina Wottreng PR & DIY PR and the mission of both companies. How did you come up with both and how hard was it to get started?
Sabrina Wottreng Public Relations has always existed for me as a side hustle and recently (again) as a full time gig. I’ve been an overachiever my entire life so when I graduated college early and couldn't get anything but an internship, my ego was rocked. My ego continued to get rocked as I followed the traditional PR path of making no money and never turning off. My then boyfriend suggested I try out personal development seminars, and, there, I was reminded that I can do anything I put my mind to. I decided to quit my job with no clients and $42,000 in student debt, and my parents thought I was crazy. Well, within a month leaving my job, I was already making more money. My business successfully grew over the following six months and then something weird happened. Two separate companies approached me and asked me to be their full time PR Manager. After some soul searching, I decided it would be a great opportunity to run my own department so I accepted one of the job offers (and great pay bump.) A year later, a little voice in my head turned into a never ending internal debate about what I wanted out of my career and my life. I was reflecting at “Take One” of my independent career and thought about the handful of exhaustive clients and the small number of bad clients and the incredibly large number of people I had to turn away because my minimum was too high for them. DIY PR was born. DIY PR is an educational service teaching small businesses how to be their own publicist through downloadable content, attending live events and one-on-one consulting.
1. What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an entrepreneur let alone in the PR industry?
I’ve always wanted to own my own company. From the age of six, I was always hawking something. My Dad use to sell vintage engine parts at swap meets. I would go with him and sell soda and water. I was fascinated by how I could make money for just reselling something. Buy low, sell high is a reoccurring trend in my life. When I was a teenager, I would raid Goodwill for anything with a brand name and then flip the items to consignment stores. I would buy GPS units and other random stuff on eBay during high school and flip them by relisting them with a catchier listing and strategic end time. I went into college with a plan – I was going to get a degree in Entrepreneurship and own my own luxury consignment business. During my sophomore year of college, my plan changed. I interned for a luxury consignment business and learned I had to pass calculus to get a business degree, both were eye opening experiences. At this internship, the company paid a blogger $800 plus a Marni bag for one blog post. This was the first time in my life that I had heard of influencer marketing. I was FASCINATED. So I decided to take a PR class, and I’ve been obsessed with PR since then.
2. What one Sabrina Wottreng PR client/project are you the most proud of and why?
It’s hard to pick my proudest moment so I’m cheating and listing a couple.
April 22, 2014 - I was interning at a big agency and doing PR for a few small, small companies. In my daily monitoring of a side client, I saw that they had a featured article about their product line expansion on Esquire.com. I thought to myself - why am I getting paid $10 an hour, to be an intern, when I have a college degree because I can get an article in Esquire.com? A similar thing happened when I was at a different agency when I was just an entry level employee. I had a national feature article run for a side client in Racked.com.
The biggest Sabrina Wottreng Public Relations win was booking my first TV segment, on my own, that involved a live performance with a teenage rapper. I didn’t know who DLOW was before the segment. I figured his team was going to yell at the marketing company that billed me in on the project because I had to be stern and quickly media train him before he went live, instead they asked me to consult with them for a few months.
3. How would you describe a typical day? What's your morning to evening routine?
There is no typical, which I find awesome! My day is filled with emailing, google stalking, reading articles and passing out my card. It’s also a rare day that I have lunch alone. I’m most creative in the morning so I do a lot of list making, thinking and strategizing. In the evening, if I’m not at an event, I’m working on some creative pet projects or at Second City taking a class. I do not open my email after 6PM.
4. How do you describe your personal aesthetic?
I wear a lot of black. Sometimes I get crazy and wear grey or white. I like to mix and match leather, zipper details and asymmetrical pieces. My style has a bit of an edge or street wear influence. You could say I always look like I’m going to ride my motorcycle.
5. What individuals, tastemakers, celebrities, entrepreneurs, public figures inspire you?
Sophia Amoruso & Kelly Cutrone – women with edge paving their own way.
6. If you weren't in the PR industry...and could be anything else...what would it be?
I would be the host of Booze Traveler. Getting paid to travel the world and drink sounds like my dream job.
7. It's creative time...what's on your Spotify? What inspires you?
#Girlboss Radio and Rap Caviar for life! I’m inspired by other people’s stories so I love walking somewhere and listening to a podcast. There is a type of rap music for every hour of the day, and I’m always wearing my headphones.
8. Favorite restaurant on a Friday night + why?
Date Night – a dim lit, cozy restaurant with craft cocktails because that’s the best place to discuss workflow management and scalability. My boyfriend and I are both very passionate about working smarter instead of harder, and we have the most intense conversations when old fashions are involved.
Ladies Night – Someplace in River North where one of my friends has talked the manager into giving us the best seat in the house and a free bottle of wine.
9. Wine or classic cocktail?
Classic cocktail because old fashions are my favorite.
10. Favorite weekend getaway destination?
I grew up right by Lake Geneva and my boyfriend has a lake house in Michigan so a weekend near a lake is the perfect weekend for me!
11. Bonus question - 5 must-have apps that you need in your life to function?
3) American Express Receipt Match
5) Google Calendar
12. What's next for Sabrina Wottreng PR & DIY PR?
What’s next is building up DIY PR. I’ve had to turn away a lot of clients because they didn’t have enough of a budget for my services. DIY PR is an educational service including an ebook, live seminar and one-on-one consulting to help small business owners and startups be their own publicists. Ideally, they will hire me once their businesses are profitable and they need to outsource their PR.
Photography by Brian McConkey