Three veterans of fashion public relations are partnering to launch a new firm based in New York. NFHF Projects opens April 3 under the stewardship of Silvia Negri Firman, Libby Haan and Anne Fahey-Storment, all of whom have been working in fashion and design public relations for 20-plus years with a combined former client list that includes power brands such as Chanel, Calvin Klein, Prada, Jil Sander and Marni.
NFHF is headquartered at 110 Greene Street in SoHo in Negri Firman’s former offices. It was she who approached Haan about potentially coming on as a partner in the business and Haan subsequently introduced Negri Firman and Fahey-Storment. Negri Firman had worked with Haan at Karla Otto before they both started their own boutique agencies, the former launching in 2008 in Milan and eventually New York in 2012, and the latter launching in 2010.
“I was coming to New York every month, but it wasn’t enough,” said Negri Firman. “I couldn’t see my venture in New York growing as I wanted and Milan was getting bigger and bigger. Then, one day I thought, ‘Why don’t I look to do things in a different way? Why don’t I look for a partner instead of a manager?’ That’s why I reconnected with Libby.”
Negri Firman is merging her New York operation into NFHF and keeping her Milan business separate — the two offices had always been separate businesses — though some clients will be shared, such as Antonio Marras. Haan is bringing on her three main clients from Haan Projects: Schiaparelli, The Frye Company and MSGM. Other clients will include Arthur Arbesser, Fabiana Filippi and Marchon. Fahey-Storment, who was most recently at Nike Communications, and Haan will run the day-to-day in the New York office, while Negri Firman will split her time between New York and Milan.
NFHF will offer a full range of client services in the fashion, luxury and home furnishings spheres with an emphasis on tailor-made strategies. “We’ll do the whole gamut, from celebrity dressing and celebrity relations to store openings to shows and launches,” said Haan. “It’s such a fluid time right now where there’s so much that can and will happen.”
“We’ve been working so long in fashion and luxury,” said Negri Firman. “In the beginning, in the Eighties our business was completely disconnected. Image and communications were more services that brands and designers needed to protect themselves because their image was so new and difficult to understand. Thirty years later, it’s the opposite — a brand can survive without our help and the press’ help. There are so many brands and so many people and they want visibility in so few spaces. It needs to be done in a very strategic way.”
For example, the strategy that works for say, Jason Wu, where Fahey-Storment was in house for several years, is probably not the same as the game plan for the Dalai Lama, who is a current client of Negri Firman’s.
NFHF is intent on being a boutique operation, keeping a tight client list, although they are open to expanding within fashion, design, art and architecture. “We’re really nimble, which allows us to react quickly,” said Fahey-Storment. “It’s about being able to move quickly in reaction to the economy and digital and what’s going on in the market.”
All three partners want to maintain a very hands-on approach with their clients. “The human component is very important; it’s not just a name on the door,” said Negri Firman. “I’ve been in house a long time and I’ve been the client of big agencies and often you sign because of the name and the person and then you never see them again.”