The Importance of Observation & Storytelling as Professionals
As the PR, marketing, and communications specialist for Global Views, Hannah Francis handles everything from editorial pitches to sales materials and social media for this style-forward company.
When we chatted with Hannah, we discussed:
* Her professional journey into the home furnishings industry
* Her experience entering the marketing and PR world during a global pandemic
* Why she believes being a storyteller and up-to-date citizen is helpful professionally
* And much more!
Whether you’re a student or a seasoned professional, we hope Hannah’s words inspire you to pursue a career you love.
WithIt: How did you find yourself in the furniture industry?
Hannah Francis: I landed my first job out of college in national television sales and figured out quickly it wasn’t the path for me. After building some sales experience, I moved into managing a national retailer account for a wholesale home decor company.
I was no stranger to the wholesale business because I had spent part of my childhood going to markets and hanging out in my mom’s retail store where she built and designed her women’s apparel business. I guess you could say it’s in my blood.
In 2008, a designer friend introduced me to the world of Global Views, and I fell in love with the bright colors and how each design was thoughtfully crafted. It reminded me of the colorful fabrics my mom loved to design for dresses and separates.
Looking back, I actually wrote a blog post in 2008 on my trend blog (back with blogs weren’t nearly as popular) about Global Views’ products and showroom displays. How funny that it came full circle when I accepted the Atlanta Showroom Manager position in 2012.
I had never actually been to Atlanta when I took the job, but am thankful I took the leap of faith. It turned out to be an amazing 8 years of getting to know our customers on a personal level — learning their needs and buying habits.
Once the pandemic hit, I felt the need to move back to Texas to be closer to family and friends. The PR/Marketing position became available, so I changed positions and was back in Dallas in less than 30 days.
WithIt: You entered the marketing and PR realm during the height of the pandemic, what did you learn about marketing and PR during that time?
Hannah Francis: I had worked on events and marketing for the showroom, but I never realized this was my passion until I was completely in the thick of it.
In the beginning, I was focused on building relationships with the market centers, the press, and our design team. It was so important for me to make connections and be able to learn alongside others in the industry in a collaborative way.
In terms of product development and marketing, I learned how vital storytelling is to a brand. Over the past few years, we’ve really focused on featuring our design process from initial sketches and concepts, to footage of the products being created by international artisans, and finishing with each product coming to life in the showroom. Storytelling provides customers with an inside perspective by teaching them the design techniques and materials that make every product unique and special. It’s inspiring, entertaining, and educational all in one!
WithIt: It sounds like Covid and the supply chain issues nailed down the importance of consistency and storytelling and explaining the process.
Hannah Francis: During the pandemic, our team did a wonderful job creating product videos with our CEO and Creative Director. It provided a human connection while entertaining and educating customers. Also by saying “Hey, we’re still here and ready to help you”, we were able to provide a sense of trust and normalcy during scary times.
With all of the supply chain issues, I feel our industry really bonded and helped each other during those chaotic times. We focused on educating the customers on the rising freight rates, shipping container costs, factory delays, etc. This information gave customers the knowledge they needed for their clients.
WithIt: Who do you feel has had the most influence on your career?
Hannah Francis: I think David, Frederick, Lois, and the entire Global Views design team have been an integral part of my growth over the past 11 years. The knowledge they have provided me is immeasurable and their trust has allowed me to expand our marketing endeavors. I’m incredibly thankful for them; they all hold a special place in my heart.
WithIt: Spanning your whole career, what would you say that you’re most proud of?
Hannah Francis: I am proud of how we’ve grown our PR and marketing over the past two years, and I’m so excited to see where it’s going to go. It’s been a team effort — from the photographers to our visual team and we are working on some really cool stuff right now. Looking into trends and seeing how we can push trends further.
WithIt: What’s inspiring you right now?
Hannah Francis: I’m so inspired by trends! From home interiors to social trends, I love to see the deeper meanings of them and how they will effect consumers. The more you learn about trends, the more you start noticing them subconsciously in the world.
I attended a Pantone talk recently and learned an interesting tip about kids’ animation. Many color trends begin in kids’ shows/movies because they will be played repeated in a home, so parents unknowingly start to pick up on the colors that are shown over and over again. How fascinating!
Color trends were such a huge part of the pandemic. We resorted to calming, nurturing colors to comfort us during unprecedented times. Now that we seem to be in a much better place, we’re running back to color for a bright, energizing fresh start. I just love how the pendulum always swings!
WithIt: What advice would you give women who aspire to be in a position that’s like yours?
Hannah Francis: Immerse yourself in what’s happening in the world from fashion trends to financial news. Having a wealth of knowledge gives you confidence in business and your everyday life.
We loved getting a chance to get to know Hannah Francis a bit more, and we hope that you did, too. If you know someone who is new to the industry or considering becoming a WithIt Woman who would be interested in reading Hannah’s story, would you share this blog with them?
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