5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Sam Hampar

This week we’re excited to welcome our newest team member, Samantha Hampar! Sam joins Soda Pop PR with influencer and digital marketing experience and a love for all things food & beverage.  Read on to learn what brought Sam back to LA from Austin, where she would go with unlimited funds, and her perfect food day if distance (and calories!) weren’t an issue.

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1. You recently moved back from Texas, what did you miss most about Southern California?

As an LA native, you really do take the weather for granted. I moved to Austin in an October and it didn’t drop below 100 degrees with 80% humidity until November. (This is partly where I get my love of sundresses.) Besides the weather, I missed my family most. When I ended up staying in LA for college (USC, fight on!) I promised myself that I’d move to Austin for 2-3 years at some point in my life to experience a new city and get out of my comfort zone. While it was hard to say goodbye to Austin’s quirky culture, outdoorsiness, breakfast tacos (someone say queso?), and extensive music scene, Dorothy has a point… “there’s no place like home.”

2. Describe your perfect food day from start to finish. (distance is not an issue)

I’d like to include calories as not an issue in addition to distance because I could live off of dessert and tacos alone…

Breakfast: Considering I have a Pinterest board exclusively dedicated to donuts, I’d start my day off at Sidecar with either an old fashioned or butter & salt donut. (If calories don’t count, why not do both?)

Second Breakfast: Breakfast tacos and queso are still on my mind, so I would fly to Austin for Veracruz’s migas tacos with a side of queso & chips.

Lunch: If I’m already in Austin, I might as well go to Elizabeth Street Cafe for Vietnamese food. I’ll have a Fried Egg, Crispy Pork Belly, Avocado & Mint Banh Mi, please.

Afternoon snack: Homemade Biscuits and seasonally made jam at Confituras Little Kitchen. With the best biscuits, jam, and unlimited coffee, I frequented this place way too often.

Dinner: Being that I’m Armenian, I couldn’t get away without saying Carousel in Glendale. I’ve been without great Mediterranean food too long while in Texas.

Dessert: I’ll let my stomach settle on the drive up to Santa Barbara for the original McConnell’s ice cream location.

3. If you had unlimited funds and two-weeks off, where would you go?

Italy and Greece have always been on my bucket list, but I’ve most recently been excited about the idea of road tripping across the US. The Southern Pacific route, following US-80, seems to have a taste of everything in terms of culture and physical landscapes, so I’d likely start here before taking on the great American road trip that hits 48 states. With unlimited funds, I’d stock my car with the greatest snacks, hit up the nicest hotels and glamping sites, and adopt a furry friend to keep me company.

4. What excites you most about public relations?

I love that what constitutes “public relations” is constantly changing. For example, while this is technically my first PR position, I’ve worked in influencer and digital marketing for 5 years, which is now more commonly coming under the umbrella of public relations. Secondly, it requires a lot of creativity to help your clients stand out from the rest, and when successful, it feels great knowing you attributed to a brand’s growth. In addition to being excited about PR, I’m specifically passionate about food and beverage, so being able to integrate the two together is a dream.

5. How do you seek out inspiration when you’re in a rut?

I’m a visual person, so I’m constantly looking to Instagram, Pinterest, and Designspiration for inspiration when in a rut. I also love walking while listening to music– it’s meditative for me. I used to walk 2.5 miles to and from work everyday while in Austin because it helped clear my mind. People think I’m crazy, but one day I walked from Union Station DTLA to Brentwood to enjoy the different cultures and unique neighborhood vibes along the way. It was people watching at its finest.

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5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Joshua Zad

This week, we’re excited to welcome our new client Joshua Zad to the blog. Josh is the brilliant founder of Alfred Coffee & Kitchen (@alfred) and Alfred Tea Room (@alfredtea) as well as the mastermind behind the ubiquitous #butfirstcoffee. We’re thrilled to be working with Josh on a new lifestyle beer brand called Calidad which officially launches on November 1st. Read on to learn a little bit about Josh’s inspiration for Calidad, his thoughts on shaking up the beer industry and his favorite spots in LA.

Josh

1. With a real estate background and success with Alfred, what inspired you to make beer?

In short, I wanted to affect change in the beverage world on a much broader scale. At Alfred, we have the unique ability to control customers’ experiences 100% — from the music, to the store layout and design, to how customers are greeted at the register; and of course, the quality and appearance of the coffee/tea drinks. But alas, there is a cap on how many people we can both serve and reach in the course of one day. I had been tossing around the idea of getting into alcoholic beverages for a while, and after taking a deeper look into the beer category, I noticed a huge opportunity. The opportunity to take a fresh and exciting approach to beer – specifically when it comes to catering to the non-specialized, novice beer drinkers. Craft beers and hop-heavy IPA’s have had their time, but the majority of beer drinkers shy away from them. So, I created Calidad — a lifestyle beer brand that capitalizes on the surging growth of the Mexican beer category and consumers’ desire to reconnect emotionally with basic, everyday beverages. The beer category has been stagnant for a while, it’s time for a shake up!

2. What is your goal for Calidad?

My goal with Calidad is to take a sizable chunk out of the Mexican import market. And to show people that you can enjoy an easy, drinkable cerveza that tastes just as good (if not better) than the long-standing, incumbent brands you have come to know, while also providing a level of transparency in the process and sourcing of the ingredients in that beer. I think the ultimate success would be eventually diversifying Calidad, which is produced in California, by launching new beer SKUs, other Mexican spirits like tequila and mezcal, and expanding into the broader Mexican foods space – all through a California lens and most importantly, never losing the emphasis on one obsession: Quality.

3. What does it take to be successful in the industry?

In the beer industry, where people have SO many solid options and new breweries are popping up daily, a strong following can make or break your brand. Loyalty is paramount. For this reason, we are dedicated to sampling product in-store and at festivals, connecting with both Calidad lovers and newcomers alike, and building our following one sip and one conversation at a time. We are taking a brand-first approach to this company, which is not so common in the beer industry — to grow a loyal customer base of Calidad lovers from the onset.

4. As an LA native, what’s your favorite restaurant in town and what do you normally order?

Easy. Ding’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich at Honor Bar in Beverly Hills. Second to that would be a chicken parm from either Dan Tana’s or Craig’s. I am a huge fried boneless chicken guy.

5. Where’s your favorite place to grab a holiday cocktail when it finally gets chilly in LA?

Roger Room hands down. My go to holiday-rainy-and-cold-outside drink is the “Japanese Maple” – Suntory whiskey, maple syrup, lemon juice, egg white and house made bitters.

5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Sami Davis

This week we’re excited to welcome SPPR’s new Creative Coordinator, Sami Davis, to the blog. Sami joins the Soda Pop PR team with experience in marketing, graphic design, event planning, and content creation!

Read on to learn more about Sami’s advice on how to find your creativity and why she MUST go to Egypt.

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1. You are one creative lady! Where do you look for inspiration?

I honestly feel like inspiration can strike anywhere and everywhere. Pinterest and Instagram are great platforms that I scroll through the most frequently; both are endless visual resources that show me what people have already created so I can dream up something new! Travel is also a big influence on my creativity. I’ve learned the most from experiencing different cultures, habitats and colors of the world from the dusty hues of Zion National Park to the ethereal mountain temples in Chiang Mai.

2. What advice would you give to someone who is “not creative” but wishes they were?

I think it’s absurd when someone says they aren’t creative! I definitely believe everyone has their own form of creativity. If you really don’t believe me and are still “wishing” you were creative, then take some steps in a creative direction you’ve always wanted to learn more about. Pick up a paintbrush, have a DIY day, or take a class to learn how to do something you’ve always lusted after. I taught myself how how to hand letter by watching Skillshare videos, which was great because I was able to take my time learning.

3. What excites you most about public relations?

PR is constantly morphing and changing, most recently to encompass influencer marketing, digital media, and even social media management. Strategies and technology have transformed so much, especially in the past two years, to really redefine what “Public Relations” means! I admire this industry because I’m constantly kept on my toes and pushed out of my comfort zone to meet the changing demands. I’m so excited to have a front seat to the innovative ideas coming out of PR!

4. If you had unlimited funds and two-weeks off, where would you go?

Morocco and Egypt! I’m so captivated by the vivid colors, diversity of cities, and rich culture of Morocco. I would love to explore Jamaa el Fna in Marrakech to shop the spices and pigments. Not to mention, the architecture also looks insane and I’m eager to hang out in the Sahara Desert.

Egypt has been on my bucket list since I was 5 years old. I had a fascination with ancient Egyptian history and wanted to be an archaeologist for the longest time! I’m still dead set on taking a cruise down the Nile River and walking among the Valley of Kings & Queens.

5. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing women in their 20s today?

As someone who is smack dab in the heart of my 20’s, social media and workplace equality are huge challenges we face. Over and over again, I see that there is an adverse effect of social media on girls and women alike. We need to spend less time comparing ourselves to what’s in the media because it’s really damaging at such an imperative growth stage. The more opportunities that women have to really find their own inner strength and balance it with external strength, we can go out and be advocates for ourselves.
As for women in the workplace, I was brought up in a family without any type or mention of discrimination, ever. When I started working and my career took off, the idea of women being held back due to their gender was so foreign to me until I got a taste of it myself. It’s still so bizarre to me and a topic I tend to get really passionate about if anyone of any gender, ethnicity, or size gets discriminated against because of who they are– especially if they are good at what they do! I’m excited to see so many thriving, women-owned businesses make an impact and watch how women as a whole will make strides in 2018.

 

Follow along with Sami’s adventures @theunexpectedtype

5 Questions with SPPR featuring Ashley Hudson

This week we’re excited to welcome SPPR’s newest Senior Account Executive, Ashley Hudson, to the blog. Ashley joins Soda Pop PR with experience in design, architecture, and real estate public relations, and with a passion for strategic communication and how it can be applied to every industry.

Continue reading to learn more about Ashley’s advice to new PR professionals, what her perfect 24-hour food day would look like and where she would go on her dream vacation.

Ashley Hudson

1. In your opinion, what’s the best kept secret about LA?

LA’s food scene is slowly gaining greater recognition on a national and global scale, which typically includes our city’s Mexican, Korean and iconic American staples. However, access to consistent and locally-sourced farmer’s market ingredients has allowed for the recent burgeoning of fresh and thoughtful Italian eateries in Los Angeles and surprisingly, this has been flying under the radar.

I’ve been doing my best to eat my way through the Italian spots in my neighborhood on the Westside, so here are a few must-trys for the next time you’re out that way. Definitely book a reservation at Evan Funke’s, Felix, in Venice Beach and watch the master himself twist and roll fresh handmade pasta for dishes inspired by Italy’s various regions. Also, do not miss the house focaccia. Another great pasta eatery is the quaint, Forma, in Santa Monica. Forma specializes in their impressive cheese offering and charcuterie, but they have a few great pasta dishes that stay on the menu including the tortellini bathed in mushrooms, light cream, truffle oil then tossed in Bella Lodi cheese. Last but not least, make sure to check out Pizzana in Brentwood for a cozy #neoneopolitan pizza as they call it. It hits the spot for your true wood-fired pizza craving.

2. Describe your perfect food day from start to finish.

This is challenging to answer as there are so many great cuisines and it would depend entirely on my mood. I’ll go with an ideal food day in LA.

Although I’m not a morning person, I would have to wake up extra early so I could make sure to fit in all the must-haves in a 24-hour period. First, I would start the day off with a nutrition-packed smoothie to get my fruits and greens in right away. A couple hours later for breakfast part two, I would head to DTLA for an almond milk cappuccino from nice coffee and a croissant from Pitchoun. For lunch, I would go to my favorite empanada spot in West LA, Empanadas Place for their two empanada and salad special – I love empanadas. For dinner, it would be a toss-up between Korean BBQ in K-Town, Argentinean at Malbec in Santa Monica, or market-driven fare at MB Post in Manhattan Beach. I would finish this perfect day with the monkey bread dessert at Salt Air in Venice Beach. I’m full and happy just thinking about it.

3. If you had unlimited funds and two-weeks off, where would you go?

I would book the first flight to Oslo in October. I would spend the two weeks road-tripping through Norway, stopping to hike the Fjords, riding on dog sleds and staying in a bubble/igloo resort to see the majestic Northern Lights. If I had a couple extra days, I’d hop over to Iceland to dive the Silfra fissure where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet and are drifting apart at about 2cm per year.

4. What advice do you have for college students hoping to have a career in public relations?

Stay curious and value relationships.

A career in PR requires an inherent curiosity, but as our field continues to evolve, PR professionals must stay curious in non-traditional ways. As digital continues to take command of the way we practice public relations, we must be curious and informed of the latest tactics and tools that build brand equity and meet the bottom line. We should also be curious outside the silo of public relations practice. Companies are starting to consolidate public relations, marketing, and advertising into teams of well-rounded generalists. If PR is where you want to specialize, it’s still important to understand the fundamentals and best practices of these different disciplines to be nimble and forward-thinking in your career.

At this stage in my own career, the most important lesson I have learned is the value of relationships. Every person you will come in contact with over the course of your career is important, especially when the success of our daily work as PR practitioners depends on the strength of our relationships with the media, the public, our colleagues, clients, influencers, etc. The more connected our world is, the more important it is to nurture authentic connections. I have found that to date, my most meaningful work has been done in partnership with those I have spent the time to build quality relationships with.

5. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing publicists today?

I would say the biggest challenge facing publicists today is in educating clients about public relations practice and defining how it applies to them as the PR field steadily transforms. When clients understand the purpose and central value PR adds to their business, they are more inclined to work symbiotically with their publicists and provide essential resources to create something special.

We’re Hiring: Spring Intern (Paid)

The SPPR team is growing and we’re looking for a rock star intern to join the team this Spring. Candidates must be hard-working, creative and quick-learning college students/recent grads with a passion for the food & beverage industry. If that sounds like you, read on.

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with general daily office and administrative duties
  • Creating media lists and event/campaign recaps
  • Researching, writing, editing and distributing press materials
  • Working as part of an account team to implement media plans
  • Tracking print, online, broadcast and social media for ideas and coverage
  • Preparing client bios, fact sheets, press clips and images
  • Drafting social media content and managing a content calendar

What we are looking for…

  • Organized, self-starter, takes initiative, is resourceful and likes a challenge
  • Strong interest in public relations
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills
  • PC proficient, particularly in the Microsoft Suite, including Word, Excel,  PPT and Outlook
  • Internet research and social media savvy
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Experience in handling routine office tasks
  • Excellent people skills, attention to detail and amazing follow through
  • Preferably some experience working in the culinary, wine or travel industries
  • Someone who wants to learn a lot, have fun and grow with us!

Please send résumé, cover letter, 2-3 writing samples & a brief overview of why you want to join the SPPR team to sayhi@sodapop-pr.com.

This is a full-time (35-40 hours per week) paid internship. Candidate must be based in Los Angeles.

We’re hiring: Full-time Spring Intern (Paid)

We’re looking for a rock star intern to join our team this spring. Candidates must be hard-working, creative and quick-learning college students/recent grads with a passion for the food & beverage industry. If that sounds like you, read on.

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with general daily office and administrative duties
  • Creating media lists and event/campaign recaps
  • Researching, writing, editing and distributing press materials
  • Working as part of an account team to implement media plans
  • Tracking print, online, broadcast and social media for ideas and coverage
  • Preparing client bios, fact sheets, press clips and images
  • Drafting social media content and managing a content calendar

What we are looking for…

  • Organized, self-starter, takes initiative, is resourceful and likes a challenge
  • Strong interest in public relations
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills
  • PC proficient, particularly in the Microsoft Suite, including Word, Excel,  PPT and Outlook
  • Internet research and social media savvy
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Experience in handling routine office tasks
  • Excellent people skills, attention to detail and amazing follow through
  • Preferably some experience working in the culinary, wine or travel industries
  • Someone who wants to learn a lot, have fun and grow with us!

Please send résumé, cover letter, 2-3 writing samples & a brief overview of why you want to join the SPPR team to sayhi@sodapop-pr.com.

This is a full-time (35-40 hours per week) paid internship. Candidate must be based in Los Angeles.