Very few bike lines right now are darlings of the fashion and lifestyle media. Martone Cycling Co. is worldwide. Both the bike line and its charismatic principal Lorenzo Martone (he has 18K followers on Twitter) have been featured in media outlets like Vogue, O Magazine (multiple), Architectural Digest and Sports Illustrated.
The talented Caitlin Shockley is a big reason for this. Not only is she Lorenzo Martone's partner in the next generation media agency The Creative, she also handles the media outreach for Martone Cyclery.
After a decade spent in New York City, Caitlin has been responsible for developing comprehensive branding and PR Strategies for some of the world’s top luxury and lifestyle brands. Her expertise has been cultivated through the experiences of launching new accessories and lifestyle companies from infancy to maturity. She has also specialized experience working with digital companies, social commerce brands, and mobile applications.
Melissa Balmer: Do you have a favorite early childhood memory of riding a bike, taking a walk, or a train trip?
Caitlin Shockley: It’s not exactly early childhood, but my favorite bike memory would be the first time that I was ever sent to Europe for a client. I found myself in Paris on my birthday, and some co-workers and I decided to rent bikes and cycle around the city. It was the first time I had ever been exposed to the “city bikes” – I couldn’t belief the short-term rental concept hadn’t made its way to the United States yet! We rented bikes and rode around the glittering Eiffel Tower, returned them and stopped for champagne, and then repeated. That was a birthday I won’t forget!
MB: You sit in a very fascinating position as a media strategist. You're both a partner with Lorenzo Martone in The Creative collective media agency and handle Lorenzo's media strategy for Martone Cycling Co. What's a typical day like for you?
CS: A juggling act, for sure! The PR and Marketing worlds are changing seemingly every day. It used to be about sharing our client's news with key print media editors. Now the digital sphere is ever-widening, and my job has changed in a way that now we create news on behalf our clients. Social and digital media produce such a stream of continuous content, that for a brand to remain relevant, it needs to communicate “news” continuously. Today it’s about identifying trends, working with influencers and celebrities for added legitimacy, sourcing unique retail opportunities, and creating experiences for both the media and the consumer. It takes an added level of creativity – which is what led Lorenzo and myself to name our agency “The Creative.”
MB: Collaboration is key to your work and this month Martone Cycling Co. launched its first pop up concept shop for the month of April in West Hollywood in collaboration with The Style of Sport blog and several top active apparel lines.
How did the idea to host this shop come together? And what was the media's response to this new way of presenting bicycling as simply a part of active living?
CS: The media response was fantastic, both on a national and local level. The pop up shop was positioned to offer a variety of what we call “athleisure” brands – further emphasizing that active living has now become the norm. The brands Martone Cycling Co. partnered with really got behind the idea as well – activewear brand MPG Sport’s ambassador, Julianne Hough, even came by to debut the collection she designed for MPG on the West Coast to media like Instyle and Glamour.
MB: You can't imagine the fun I have sharing with bike advocates and the bike industry about the remarkable success you've had getting the story of Martone Cycling Co. into the fashion and lifestyle press. I've loved seeing the pieces in Vogue and C Magazine, do you have any personal favorites?
CS: Over the last 3 years there have been a ton of great placements! I love when the bikes are featured in true lifestyle publications because it further illustrates how Lorenzo’s bikes meld fashion/art/design. The new Olympic-inspired “Diana Carioca” bike was featured in the May issue of Architectural Digest – it’s definitely one of my recent faves.
MB: How did you an Lorenzo meet and start working together?
CS: Lorenzo and I met through one of existing clients, Melissa Shoes. He was involved with the Brazilian brand and looking for PR help. His enthusiasm was overwhelming! We didn’t even start working together until a while later, decided over coffee at Pastis. We talked about client business, and he showed me the bikes – I was blown away! I chose to barter right on the spot – I’d work on some other clients with him “only if” I could also work on the PR for the bikes – I believed in them (and him!) right away.
MB: Not to ask you to give away hard earned industry secrets but do you have anytips you're willing to share those who want to grow the story of more *mindful* mobility with the lifestyle press?
CS: It won’t shorten your “to do list” any, but my best advice would be to never limit a brand to one audience or category. Martone Cycling Co. is exceptionally designed, but we’ve always made sure to cast a wide net. Fashion and accessories coverage has dominated our results. But we make a concerted effort to pitch architectural press the design angle. We work with fitness media and trade press to convey the lifestyle approach. Lorenzo has partnered with artists for collaborations that have allowed us to engage the art media community. We’ve communicated innovative advancements like the collapsible helmet or the electric bike to tech press.
MB: You've worked with luxury brands like Hermes of Paris (which if memory serves me right started out as a transportation company - a saddlery?). You've helped successfully launch a bike brand that's getting customers and notice from around the world. You're a partner in a successful creative pr agency. What do you love most about what you're doing now - and what do you hope to help make happen in the next three years?
CS: Every day is radically different than the next, which is something that I love. I work with clients from a lot of different categories that somehow all fit under the “lifestyle” label – but each have different goals and needs. I am honestly fascinated with how media is changing. The pressure to continuously generate ‘news’ on behalf of a client is unyielding – relevancy doesn’t sleep. But it’s a fun challenge because we get to exercise our creativity everyday. We work with clients that run global businesses - I spend too much time in airports and unpacking a bag only to repack – but it’s so rewarding to be a part of a designer’s success in building his/her business.
Somewhere along the way, I got the notion in my head that I wanted to own my own company in New York City before I turned 30 (maybe I took the Sinatra song a bit too seriously?). That goal came true and we’ve been running a successful PR agency for several years now.
For the future, I want to continuously diversify. PR doesn’t fit into one box anymore, and Lorenzo and I want The Creative to truly be a full service agency. We’ve brought on an in-house graphic designer who uses that insider perspective to create branding programs that (from the start) are aligned with the PR and Marketing strategies we have created.
And now we’re exploring new cities – as the world gets bigger because of the digital boom, it also gets smaller and regional opportunities become more important.