Sep 02, 2020

Pitch Perfect: Jenny Nguyen, Founder of Hello Human.

By Hello Human.


Jenny Nguyen, Founder of Hello Human.


New York City.

Find me on

Instagram & LinkedIn

Clients & Collaborators

Airbnb, Art for Amnesty, Bottega Veneta, Domino Magazine, Frame Publishers, Kengo Kuma, Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, Robert Indiana, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s More Trees, teNeues, The Philip Johnson Glass House, Tantuvi, The Seaport District, Vogue Living, Yayoi Kusama and more.

In “Pitch Perfect” we tap Hello Human’s publicity pros and the PR experts we admire to share 5 practical PR tips, useful insights and experiences they’ve learned on the job, so small businesses can start implementing them today.

One piece of advice for a small business starting out with their own PR.
Know exactly what differentiates you and the work you do from the others.

Whenever an editor receives a pitch email for, let’s say a new chair, you can be pretty sure they’re asking themselves “nice chair, but why is this interesting?”

You may be launching the most on-trend, aesthetically pleasing chair ever. But to really grab the attention of an editor, there must be more to it than good aesthetics and beautiful materials if you want your chair stand out from all the other furniture being pitched to editors.

Ask yourself why you designed the chair, how you imagined it being used, even why you started your business in the first place before you pitch it to an editor. Chances are, you’ll land on what your differentiating factor is as you explore answers to these questions. When you spend time teasing out why your product or brand exists, by default you start to build a story behind it, and this is exactly what editors and writers are looking for.

What’s your latest big PR win and how did you get there?
A few weeks ago I achieved an exciting media placement for Articolo Lighting, a client I’ve been working with on publicity with for years (and more recently through the stellar brand strategy and marketing agency Neil Hugh Office).

Believe it or not, this story in The Wall Street Journal was nine months in the making, making its publication that much sweeter to see live online and in print. From first introducing the the writer to the client, brainstorming interesting story angles together, consistently providing value, insight and resources throughout the pitching process plus follow through at the right times, the takeaway here is that it takes patience, persistence, collaboration and a friendly disposition to make stories like this one happen.

PATTERN BOLDNESS. Fizi Table Lamps, from $2,350 for Short, from $2,250 for Tall, Articolo in The Wall Street Journal,
Story by Elizabeth Anne Hartman: “Lamps That Can Transform a Room as Dramatically as New Paint” Photo: Sharyn Cairns

Best tech recommendation for making your PR job easier.
Instagram. It’s free, and a game changer for PR pros. This is where I find out about stories and the people who write them. Instagram allows me to better understand what a writer’s special interests are, get a sense of their style and what’s culturally relevant to them, so that I can come to them with a pitch that they’d actually find compelling.

Instagram is also an excellent tool for building relationships from scratch. If I don’t have an editor’s contact details I’ll find them on Instagram first, write to say hello, introduce myself and establish why I believe it would be a good idea to stay in touch (i.e what kinds of clients/stories I’ll be pitching) and ask for their email address. This way, when a pitch does land in their inbox, it’s not the first time they are seeing my name, which always has a better outcome.

Best advice for leveraging PR wins.
Congratulations, you went from pitched to published! But remember, the work does not end here. You’ve come out with a beautiful piece of press about your project or business but you’ve also come out of this with a new relationship with an editor or journalist who has supported you through their storytelling. Say thank you! Not only is this good manners, it’s important to remember that PR is all about relationship building. Saying thank you on Instagram, by email or with a small gift only opens the door to more meaningful conversations later on. If you’re feeling the good vibes, why not invite them out for lunch, coffee or a studio visit and take the opportunity to tell them more about projects you have coming out?
Best PR advice you received from a mentor.
Sophia Chang is not a mentor (although I wish she would be). Chang is known for her career throughout the ’90s and 2000s managing talents including Ol’ Dirty Bastard (O.D.B.), RZA, and GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, Q-Tip and A Tribe Called Quest, and D’Angelo. When she recently released her audiobook “Baddest Bitch in the Room” I came across her on the Recode Media podcast where she imparted some simple advice that really stuck with me.

“Just network” she says.

“Because the worst thing that can happen when you introduce yourself to a stranger is you might feel a little humiliated, but there’s no limit to how far the positive opportunities can go.” Chang also advises to always introduce yourself with your first and last name because you give yourself a sense of authority, confidence and as a result become more memorable. “It gets easier the more you do it,” she says.

This approach definitely worked for her! She arrived in New York from Vancouver as a French Literary grad, then had a chance encounter with Joey Ramone where she walked right up to him and said “You’re Johnny Ramone right? I’m Sophia Chang” - it was actually Joey Ramone but they ended up becoming friends anyway, through him she eventually met Paul Simon whom she worked for before becoming friends with Wu-Tang Clan - the rest is history and a rather convincing anecdote of how far simply introducing yourself to someone can get you.

So if I ever bump into Sophia on the streets of NY, i’ll say “Hey you’re Sophia Chang right? I’m Jenny Nguyen, I read your book! I do PR and I had some ideas you might find interesting, can we chat sometime?”

Who knows where things could go from there?