Jil Zeelen: Fashion and Lifestyle at GanbarooPR Interview | Part 1 of 2

The View Magazine hooked up with Jil Zeelen, a young, bubbly and ambitious woman working in fashion and lifestyle at one of the best agencies in the country, GanbarooPR. We asked about her journey into fashion and pr, the job, and her opinion on digital.

TV: Jil, tell us about you? Where you are your from, your passions and how did you get into fashion and lifestyle?

JZ: Originally from a small city called Venlo, in the southeastern part of the Netherlands, near the German border. Raised there and I had a quite happy youth, but after 18 precious years it was time for new things. I wanted more thrill and sensation, meet new people and discover awesome places. Amsterdam has always been on top of my list, so when the moment was there I moved to the capital and never looked back. Didn’t know anyone and with little clue, but still here enjoying every minute of it, and most likely not move to anywhere else. Amsterdam has something magical, very lively and intriguing, there is no such thing as a typical day and always something new to discover.

JZ: Bit of a coincidence but I bumped into a friend of mine from Venlo, talked about the differences between the two cities, and we came to the same conclusion. We both love how Amsterdam seems to be able to inspire people on a daily bases, due to the people you hang around or work with, enjoying food and drinks, and the many places throughout the city which absolutely are little gems. Still, as a real Burgundian I like to go back to Venlo once in a while where it’s more down to earth, the wine seems to be pouring all the time, and people love to do long dining.

JZ: Venlo was also the place where I got in touch with fashion for the first time, and yes the southeast do know a thing or two about fashion. Both my mother and grand-mother are highly fashion-minded and we used to drive to the nearest fashion city Dusseldorf in Germany and shop there. And of course, I like all those great pictures in magazines and made me curious of that world.

TV: That first contact with fashion, was it also the defining moment to do something with it?

JZ: It made me really curious, but definitely not the defining moment. As a little girl I wanted to be lot of things, a hairdresser, a model, it was something else every week. Haha…I am sure that I forgot many other dream jobs that I wanted to be during those years, but fashion has always been consistently in my mind. Eventually settled with communication studies in college and through an internship I got in touch with PR. I had the opportunity to see and learn how it was done, did loads of …well let’s just say the less glamorous stuff, and traveled to all corners of the country and deliver specific dresses to the right people in time. It was really tough but for some reason, really liked it, and something I wanted to discover more. Enjoying the social aspect such as interaction with the press, clients and somewhat also the consumer, were things that I could find my forte so it seems. At that internship most of my clients however were lifestyle, so missing the fashion part resulted in my search for a different agency.

TV: So from all possible jobs in fashion, you went for PR?

JZ: Yes! And I love it! There is no such thing as a typical day, a ton of variety, and each client requires different attention. It’s great to be able to give your personal spin to it and maximise all efforts. One day designing a strategy and PR plan, then another day organising a fashion and lifestyle event, then another day writing a press release, and between all that I might be managing the showroom as well, assisting stylists from magazines for their looks. It’s nowhere near boring, in fact, you need to be able of juggling multiple activities, keeping track of all ongoing processes and requests, highly dynamic, you’re sweating your pants of, and of course, everyone wants to have it done yesterday. And it’s fun, really, trust me! I meet loads of new and very inspiring people from all sides, brands, media, etc. To be in the center of it is such a great experience.

TV: How did you got in touch with Ganbaroo?

JZ: Through some friends I got offered an internship and was immediately impressed, their way of working and interacting with clients. It was very social and relaxed, and I think that is a good thing, because during really busy moments, you need to be able to stay calm and keep your head in the game. Right then and there, I felt that Ganbaroo would be perfect as my new home, and really wanted to work there after graduation. Yet, after five years living in Amsterdam I also wanted to have a change of scene, so instead, I moved to Paris for eight months meeting new people and learning the language. During my time as a Parisienne we kept in touch, and when I returned we got together and they offered me six months as the showroom manager.

Next week, Part 2 of this interview with fashion and lifestyle PR manager Jil Zeelen. We will talk about her career and Ganbaroo, the clients and her take on digital.