How Former Gucci Buyer Jackie Thomson Built Her Own PR Firm From the Ground Up
Photos: Jackie Thomson
Have you ever relentlessly followed your dreams straight into your fantasy career, love every second of your job, and then discover your other true calling? That's exactly what happened to South Carolina-based member Jackie Thomson.
A mother of two, Thomson worked as a buyer in the luxury space before uncovering her passion for public relations. Now, she's the founder of Charleston-based lifestyle PR firm Leapfrog, which has worked with stylish brands like Marysia Swim, non-toxic label RMS Beauty, and many more names across fashion, beauty, food, and other industries. (She's also worked with a handful of fellow Fashion Members too, like BURU, Babiators, and Bare Beauty. How's that for mama synergy?)
Here, we learn how she arrived at her current career, what her typical work day is like (despite not being a morning person), and her best advice for aspiring PR mavens.
What do you do, and what has been your career journey thus far?
I own a boutique lifestyle PR firm in Charleston, South Carolina called Leapfrog. After graduating from The College of Charleston, I went to New York to pursue my dreams of working in the fashion industry. I was a buyer for Gucci and then worked for bridal and eveningwear designer Reem Acra. With that role, I learned the power of PR, the role of influencers (although that was pre-blogger days), and the excitement of working within a small and growing business.
What are the names and ages of your little ones?
I have a 6-year-old son, Davis, and a 3-year-old daughter, Torri.
What is a typical workday like for you, from the moment you wake up?
I am decidedly NOT an early riser, so the kids creep into our room around 6:30am and I buy myself 30 minutes by giving them my phone. Whoops. I get up, feed everybody, take them to school, and start my day in the office. I have a business partner who handles the food side of Leapfrog and two amazing employees who help us with PR and social media. We usually have morning pow-wows and break to work on our own throughout the day — which can be meetings, calls, writing, research, and attending events. Charleston has a fairly busy social scene, believe it or not!
What are your best tips for raising a child in your city?
We actually just moved to an amazing beach community called Wild Dunes outside of the city. My kids go to school downtown but in the afternoons and on weekends, we are sitting on the beach, riding in the golf cart, or swimming in the pool. It’s heaven.
Favorite organizational tools/apps that help you balance work/mom life?
iCal! My husband, nanny, and I can share events and update schedules. I use the Mind Body app to schedule my yoga — which is super easy.
Current favorite kids clothing brands?
I like my son in collared shirts for school, so we stock up on Johnnie-O shirts which are super soft and pants from Gap (slim cut!) because he blows out the knees non-stop, so I feel like I’m always replacing them. Shopping for my daughter has been a real drain from the bank account because it’s just so much fun. I love La Coqueta dresses, Bonpoint sweaters, and leggings from Zara. Now that summer is here, I love Marysia Swim’s Bumby line for both kids and Babiators shades!
Current favorite grown-up clothing brands?
I love a great pair of high-waisted jeans with a statement top from Rosie Assoulin or Johanna Ortiz [and] summer dresses or skirts from Ulla Johnson with a simple t-shirt from The Gap. Everyday pieces from my friend & Charleston designer Lauren Lail, and I always look for fun pieces for each season at BURU. I’m a big comfort person and as soon as I get home, I can’t wait to slip on my Lake pajamas and robe. Game changer!
Beauty product you can’t live without?
RMS Beauty cleansing wipes because I know how important it is to remove your makeup and to use clean products and this accomplishes both with a simple swipe. And anything that Bare Beauty blogger Jessica Morse tells me to buy!
Best advice for women who want to succeed in your field?
Make sure that you inherently love connecting people, you are a natural storyteller, and you are genuinely interested in your clients and their brands.