So how exactly does a suburban Vancouverite obsessed with fashion turn that passion into a career in Public Relations that takes her to the heart of New York Fashion Week? Not only has Nikki Dindo proved it’s possible, she’s showing Blanche Macdonald students exactly how it’s done as a Social Media instructor at Canada’s top Fashion School.
Nikki’s stellar career as a student at Blanche Macdonald paved the way to an internship with New York PR legend Kelly Cutrone and her agency, People’s Revolution. After returning to Canada and continuing to hone her PR and Social Media Marketing skills, Nikki eventually took the bold step of creating her own company, Spring Media Co. Today she splits her time between creating content and strategy for the ever-expanding Spring Media client roster and the classroom at Blanche Macdonald. Throughout her continent-spanning adventures there’s been one constant: an indefatigable love for fashion.
The extensive event and show experience I had from my time at Blanche helped set me apart from other candidates.
“When I was ten years old I was constantly asking my parents for their credit card to take out subscriptions to every fashion magazine,” she smiles. “I was getting six or seven magazines a month. By the time I was at high school everybody knew me as the fashionista. I was the 15-year-old spending $300 on designer jeans! I wasn’t doing it for my peers. It was a form of self-expression.
“Even then I didn’t realize fashion could be my career. I grew up thinking I could be a doctor, a lawyer or a businesswoman. I got into the performing arts and was dancing and singing on cruise ships for a few years. I thought I’d become a business development manager for the cruise lines. When I started in that role my boss’s daughter was on the Fashion Marketing course at Blanche Macdonald. I’d never heard of courses like that before but I knew I’d love to work on the business side of fashion.”
Nikki abandoned ship and launched herself into her fashion education at Blanche Macdonald, inside and outside the classroom.
“I loved doing those deep dives into fashion history with Peggy Morrison. For one of my Fashion Awareness class projects I chose to do a breakdown of the history of Alexander McQueen. When I told Peggy she said, ‘Excellent choice; when done correctly.’ Challenge accepted Peggy!
My advice to my students is to always say yes!
“I met up with [Career Director] Mel Watts early on and she helped me find internships for everything I was interested in. I’d told her I wanted to be a buyer or own my own store, but after a month she said, ‘You should go into PR and communication.’ She lined up some volunteer opportunities for me and I soon thought, maybe she’s right. Mel introduced me to Lyndi Barrett. We worked at the Deighton Cup and Vancouver Film Festival together. I did a six-month internship with Mitchell Fawcett who now works for Major Tom. I was in my element. I loved being around people and the energy of events. I thrive in organized chaos. I found I was able to think on my feet and find solutions before people realized there was even a problem.”
Nikki had made her mark in Vancouver’s Public Relations industry before she’d even graduated Fashion School. The next step was taking her career to the heart of the fashion world.
“I knew I wanted to go to New York,” she explains. “I made a spread sheet of every PR agency in the City. I tracked down who was hiring and I started reaching out for internships. I was offered spots at a few agencies but People’s Revolution with Kelly Cutrone was the one I wanted. The extensive event and show experience I had from my time at Blanche helped set me apart from other candidates.”
Two seasons at New York Fashion Week later, Nikki had been through the belly of the fashion industry at its most hectic and lived to tell the tale. She’d also sampled the wisdom of one of the Public Relations’ brightest minds.
“Kelly was a bit intimidating, obviously, but once you get to know her she’s actually really nice and super helpful. She was the mom figure for everyone; she’d even cook for us during Fashion Week! She’d bring us soup and make sure we were never working too late.
I thrive in organized chaos. I found I was able to think on my feet and find solutions before people realized there was even a problem.
“Nothing could have prepared me for Fashion Week. It was crazy, but it was also the most amazing experience I’ve ever had. We had seven shows and three events in one week. It was madness. We’d be in the office until about 2 am, then have a 4 am call time the next day, have two shows and then go back to the office until 2 am again. We were exhausted, but as soon as the lights dimmed, the music started and the show came on, I was on a high. It was great to see the work we’d been doing for months come together to flow seamlessly.
“Jeremy Scott’s New York show was utter madness. I was in charge of backstage check-ins and media outreach and we didn’t have nearly enough backstage passes. It was complete chaos and I was receiving no help whatsoever because everyone was too busy. I had to take the entire situation into my own hands. I broke a few rules to let people in and out, averted about five major crises, and nobody even knew. My proudest moment was after the show when people were asking me what happened and I was able to say, ‘Not to worry, I solved everything.’”
Nikki returned to Vancouver eager to continue on her strong start in PR. She found a home at a social media and public relations agency before deciding to begin a business of her own. Even after being temporarily lured back to New York following a job offer from VP+C Partners, at that point she knew she had to carve her own path.
It was great to see the work we’d been doing for months come together to flow seamlessly.
“After a few months in New York I realized that dreams change. The time was right and I was ready for a new adventure.”
Since taking the decision to start her own PR and Social Media Marketing Company, business has gone from strength to strength. She’s already expanding into new realms beyond fashion.
“I’ve worked with everything from commercial real estate to recycling companies. Right now I’m finding my niche in lifestyle brands; beauty, baby and kids. It’s about working with the right people. I’m always looking for companies I want to support and grow with.
“I’m looking to build communities around these brands. To succeed on social media you need to be a good storyteller. What makes someone stand out is an ability to craft a brand’s story. Anybody can put up posts about products. What people connect with more is the story behind it. It’s about creating a bigger picture and storytelling plays a huge part in that. Even though social media is a visual platform the accounts and posts that tell stories are the brands that resonate the best with people.”
Today she’s sharing that wisdom with the next generation of Fashion PR and Social Media masterminds. And she’s enjoying every minute of it.
“I love teaching. It’s great being able to share my experiences with people who are so excited to learn more. My path and dreams have changed many times, but there’s never been an opportunity I said yes to that I later regretted. Even though an opportunity might not feel right for you, there’s always something you can learn from it. Be open to the connections that come up and see what doors they open. My advice to my students is to always say yes!”