Camilla Smith

PRO

28 November 2016

Camilla Flora Smith

Is in the PCN spotlight this week...

camilla-flora-smith

Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?

I studied a degree in Fashion History & Theory at Central St Martins with the intention of becoming a fashion journalist. I then worked in the archives of a leading fashion house, spending hours rooting through old advertising campaigns and marketing materials (plus plenty of gorgeous clothes).

I was immediately captivated by the story these campaigns told; how they captured both an era and the story of the brand.

I worked at various fashion publications, and spent a lot of time reading hundreds of press releases from various PR agencies and picking out the most interesting stories.

I was struck by how poorly some of the releases were written, and how they didn’t seem to do the product justice. After speaking to editors and fellow writers, I realised there were different writing careers than just journalism (ridiculous as it sounds!).

I set up my business Camilla Flora in 2012.

What work are you most proud of?

It took a long time for me to really be ‘proud’ of what I wrote; being a freelancer was tough at the beginning. I had no one to pat me on the back or praise me, other than myself, which took a while to get used to! Working primarily in the fashion and beauty industries, I also can’t lay claim to work that has ‘made a difference’ on a wider social scale.

However, as one of the largest contributors to the British economy, I understand how important it is to champion home grown talent in the fashion industry.

I have a particular penchant for product descriptions; I’m really proud of the descriptions I wrote for a luxury stationery brand. Writing 300 words about a pencil sharpener sounds dull, but I think I really told a story around such a simple product, and made it seem like a must-have item.

What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?

The man who knows the country knows why he needs Barbour. The best British clothing for the worst British weather.

It’s so simple but also slightly tongue-in-cheek and entirely relatable; it tells the brand story in just two sentences.

What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?

I take myself away from my laptop, have a cup of tea, or walk the dog. It’s nothing ground-breaking, but I find the more I stare at my screen, the more stressed and anxious I get, which just doesn’t help anyone.

What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?

I love writing for brands who understand the importance of hiring a copywriter. When I’m working for a brand whose story I really believe in I enjoy every kind of writing task. Be it a couple of sentences for an FAQ page or a long lead editorial piece. My least favourite tasks would probably have to be re-writing someone else’s work. I always find it better to start afresh.

Any copywriting pet hates?

Anything that uses slang that is going to be irrelevant after a year or so.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?

Know your value.

You’ll have trouble convincing others if you don’t believe it yourself.

What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?

Always keep your eyes open. Whether sitting on the tube, flicking through a magazine or scrolling through your phone, copy is everywhere! The more you read, the more you’ll be able to critique and appreciate, and eventually find your own voice.

What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?

The range of brands I get to work with, and the insight I get into their behind-the-scenes workings. I have learnt so much about other disciplines, from web design to PR. I am a naturally curious person so am always keen to learn from others.

Where can people find out more about you?

My website is www.camillaflora.com where you can see various work snippets. You can also follow me on Twitter @cami_am

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