Kira Cohen, public relations director and mom of one, has learned how to balance her high-powered job in the fashion industry with taking care of her 3-year-old son. Heading up publicity for JustFab and ShoeDazzle under the TechStyle Fashion Group for nearly two years means she spends her days in the office overseeing two flourishing brands and her nights and weekends with her family—all while maintaining an envious yet relatable social media presence. However, this impressive work-life balance has not always been the case.
After working as a branding agent for six years, she decided that she needed a lifestyle change so she could spend more time with her son. “I loved doing that, but it didn’t allow me much balance in my life,” Cohen says. When a position opened up under TechStyle, she jumped on the opportunity. “The woman interviewing me (now my boss), let me know she was a parent as well and that the company actively supports its employees in being just that. When the stress and anxiety over being a parent was removed, my entire professional ability shifted.”
This shift in mentality and work environment is obvious in Cohen’s accomplishments since taking on her new role. In just 18 months, Cohen has overseen successful rebrands of JustFab and ShoeDazzle, as well as multiple talent deals and strategic partnerships—the most recent of which was one of the company’s most successful and innovative partnerships to date: a collaboration with the hilarious social media account @Betches promoting body positivity.
Cohen tells us how she leads by example as a boss and a parent.
As a mother as well as the director of PR for JustFab and ShoeDazzle, how do you make it all work?
One day at a time. It sounds cliché, but it’s important to not think too far ahead to the point where the balance seems unattainable because that is attainable. I am lucky to work somewhere that truly respects its employees and their families and allows them the opportunity to parent in peace.
When did you first feel successful?
Probably as far back as my very first job. I am from a very small town, so when I responded to an ad on Craigslist for a PR internship in Los Angeles and received an offer, I packed everything I owned in garbage bags and drove to LA to take the job. I ended up getting offered a role as an assistant the same week and was doing a press tour with a big celebrity a week later. It almost didn’t feel real. Getting my first paycheck and all of the work I did within that first year was my first “Wow, I’m really doing this” moment.
What's your advice for moms who are looking to make an impact and take on a leadership role in their workplace?
Confidence is key. Know your worth and believe in your ideas as well as your contribution to the company. The moment I shifted away from thinking, “I’m lucky to have this company,” and started thinking, “This company is lucky to have me, and I am lucky to have them,” my career changed. In PR, you know and promote your brand’s worth. Doing the same for yourself will help you to move up in your career as well as give you pride in your personal life and your role as a mother.
Has there been anything about working in PR for TechStyle that surprised you or inspired you in a way you didn't expect?
The culture here has both surprised and inspired me. Before working here, I felt like it was really hard to be a mom because I was always spread too thin. Facing challenges as a parent is always hard, and when you add the pressure of feeling like you are putting your career in jeopardy it causes a lot of anxiety. My son had a pretty intense scare last year and was hospitalized for a week. My company (mid-launch of its new name as TechStyle) stopped what they were doing to not only pick up all of my work so I could focus on him but also sent dinner to the hospital room and checked in with me daily. I remember crying tears of joy because I knew then that I was supported and would be able to focus 100 percent on him. My work became much better because I was suddenly empowered by my life. I can honestly say I enjoy going to work every day and I am able to do work I am proud of.
How would you say you embody TechStyle’s cornerstone to “be entrepreneurial and accountable” both in the workplace and at home as a mother?
In both areas of my life, I think outside of the box and can (usually) make things work well and come out on top even in the craziest situations. I think accountability comes with self-acceptance. Once I stopped trying to fit every circle into a square, I was able to stand behind my actions and decisions. What keeps my world turning is finding new ways to make things work and holding myself responsible and accountable for any and all actions.
Once I stopped trying to fit every circle into a square, I was able to stand behind my actions and decisions.
What made you want to partner with the social media account @betches? How did this partnership come about?
I had gotten the chance to work on a partnership between a fashion blog and Target before coming over here. I always thought that a really cool next level of that would be a partnership between an Instagram account and an e-tail fashion brand (like JustFab and ShoeDazzle, for example). One of my coworkers was always telling our team how much she loved going online and tagging her friends in funny memes, and one of her favorite account is @betches. I loved their voice and thought they would be a really great fit for a partnership, so teamed up with them for our #FabforAll campaign to promote JustFab's expansion into extended sizing. The trend for decades has been putting a face to fashion, so why not put a voice to it?
As a successful female entrepreneur and businesswoman, what are some ways that you teach your son about "girl power"?
I always make sure my son knows I am going to work, and he has come into our offices a few times as well. He is proud to tell people I am at work, which is awesome to see. I took him with me to the Women’s March recently, and people there told me how great it was that I brought my son. I think it’s important to show our children the obstacles people face so they aren’t raised thinking they don’t exist. Hearing him chant “Go girls!” when we were there was one of my proudest moments as a mom.
What sacrifices have you made as a mom and successful business woman to keep everything in balance?
Sleep. Kidding (kind of). Probably some of my friendships. I don’t think I have sacrificed any to the point that they completely ended, but the amount of interaction has shifted. When I’m not at work I really do want to be with my son, and when he’s asleep I want to be asleep too. That being said, I have also compromised some of my sleep/relaxation time to make sure I can still be a friend at times, and that’s something I am happy to do.
Are there any new initiatives or products on the horizon for TechStyle?
We have a lot of really great stuff coming up. Later this year, we are launching our full rollout of PS by JustFab, which is our personal styling service. The service was previously only available to VIP’s but will soon be available to everyone. There are a few partnerships on the horizon that we haven’t announced yet, but will definitely be ones our girls will love—you will have to stay tuned!