Every Thursday during the pandemic, we’re checking in on members of the jewelry trade in an attempt to glean shareable tips and tricks for doing business—and living as well as possible—during the COVID-19 crisis.
Today we hear from New York City–based Jessica Kiraly, senior account executive at Mega Mega Projects, which represents jewelry brands including Lydia Courteille, Pamela Love, Karma El Khalil, and Milamore.
JCK: Where are you based right now?
Jessica Kiraly: Currently, I’m living in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood with my boyfriend and our dog, Izzy. When everything hit last March, we were living in a one-bedroom together, which normally is manageable, but after five weeks of us both working from home we just couldn’t take it anymore. So we decided to leave the city and stay with my parents in southern Virginia, where they live on a lake. We thought a month of fresh air and space would be just what we needed. Fast-forward four months and we were still there. I’m so grateful that we were able to spend that time with them.
How are you managing life in the pandemic?
Honestly? I am hanging in there! I’m grateful for the health of my loved ones and myself. I’m taking each day one step at a time, though I will say a nice glass of red wine certainly can help!
How has the pandemic changed or altered your business/work life?
It’s obviously had a significant impact on my work life. I was used to going into an office every day with a tight-knit team, so switching from that to being by myself all day was definitely a huge change. Luckily, the majority of my work can be done over emails, which has made the transition a bit easier. I miss seeing people’s faces, though, whether it be editorial contacts, stylists, clients, or my colleagues.
Have there been any silver linings during this tricky time for you?
The biggest silver lining during this time has been strengthening my relationships, personal and professional. We get so caught up in the craziness of life, especially here in New York City, so it’s nice to have the time for an unplanned FaceTime or phone call when I normally wouldn’t. I have connected with people from my past and “met” so many new people this year.
What lessons would you say the pandemic has taught you, in business or as a person in the world?
That quite literally everything can change in an instant. I’m constantly working to embrace and learn from the obstacles that get in my way. I’ve found that in order to succeed in business (and in your personal life) you have to take a second to collect your thoughts and prepare to adjust to new, and often unusual, challenges. It certainly hasn’t been a walk in the park, but this past year has really taught me that constantly fighting and refusing to accept things that are out of my control will only hinder me and the clients I support.
In what ways has the pandemic changed the jewelry PR game? How have you bent or changed to meet those challenges?
The primary change, especially at the beginning of the outbreak, was the immediate shift to coverage suddenly being what felt like 99% digital. Magazines weren’t shooting editorials. Stylists weren’t dressing clients for events or red carpets. My day-to-day quite literally turned upside down. Pre-COVID, I focused a lot of my energy on digital media, but now it’s really become the forefront in terms of where I go for stories and placements.
What I’ve loved about the shift to digital is that I can better represent and build awareness for my clients that aren’t always able to have surplus stock set aside for physical shoots.
I’ve taken on many different activities! Puzzles and painting were a big one. Being a jewelry nerd, I actually started making those old-school braided friendship bracelets last summer and sent them to friends, family, and industry colleagues. I kid you not, I must have crafted and sent out over 120 of them.
Have any book/podcast/TV/movie recommendations?
Bridgerton! I love a scandalous period drama.
Top: Jessica Kiraly in virtual earrings from Lydia Courteille (all photos courtesy of Jessica Kiraly)
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