Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Style Files: Melissa Davis of Ruby Press

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I’ve known the lovely Melissa Davis through her fabulous boutique public relations firm, Ruby PR for a couple of years now. I first noticed her amazing style through the Ruby PR blog and have gotten to know her as well as her aesthetic through blogging. I love Ruby PR’s fresh, personal approach when it comes to public relations. Every press release I have ever received from them has felt like a personal letter from a friend letting me in on a fabulous new find or a stylish event. Melissa has a background in fashion and worked at such esteemed publications as Harper’s Bazaar, Lucky, and Mademoiselle before founding Ruby PR in 2001. Melissa and the clients she represents have appeared in a remarkable array of media outlets including Vogue, ELLE, InStyle, The New York Times, The Today Show, and Sex and the City.


Name: Melissa Davis

Occupation: Founder and Co-Owner of boutique PR firm, Ruby Press

Hometown: Vienna, Virginia

Current City: Berkeley, California



1. What inspired you to begin your career in public relations? Before I started Ruby Press I was a fashion editor in NY and SF. {At Harper's Bazaar for 3 years and former Conde Nast title Mademoiselle for 5 years.} In 2000, I started craving change, and several friends/co-workers {who knew me quite well, I might add!} told me they thought I'd make a great publicist, but I never thought seriously about it until I moved to San Francisco that year to work for a fashion dot-com. The site went under about two weeks after my arrival and I started working for Lucky as a contributing editor and a local city magazine called 7x7 as their first fashion editor. Through those two jobs, I met a lot of creative business owners and designers and was inspired to start Ruby Press in May of 2001. I saw so much talent out here in Northern California that the editors in NYC knew nothing about. {The business quickly expanded and we took on clients in other locations, and as far away as Australia!}


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2. What do you love most about it? What is the most challenging aspect? I love being able to choose who we work with- life's too short to work with people that make you miserable. {No matter how much money they can pay you!} The most challenging aspect is turning it off at night and on the weekends- sometimes it's so hard to stop thinking about work!

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3. Where do you find inspiration? I design consult with many of our clients, and my inspiration can come from anywhere- from the flea market or street fashion in SF, LA, or NYC.


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4. Who are some of your personal style icons? I don't really have personal style icons- I think my style is influenced by so many things, but not really influenced by particular women.

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 5. How would you describe your own style? A mix of preppy and bohemian. I tend more towards bohemian in the summer- kurtas, caftans, leather sandals, vintage dresses, etc.- and preppy in the winter months- yummy cashmere sweaters and slim jeans and statement jewelry {and a great pair of riding boots}.

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6. What is the trait you admire most in a person? It's hard to pick just one- so I'd say strength of character and a sense of humor.

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7. What is your principal weakness? I have a major weakness for dogs- I can't see a dog in distress- it kills me.


8. What is the best piece of advice you've ever received? Not to assume anything. It was the most important thing I learned in my first job at Harper's Bazaar, and it has stuck with me all of these years. I try to impart that wisdom on my employees- it sounds simple, but it's amazing how often one just assumes something to be true or untrue.


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9. What do you consider your greatest achievement? It would be a cross between landing my first job out of college at Harper's Bazaar {which was the magazine to work at back then- Liz Tilberis had just started editing Harper's Bazaar and the staff was turning out an amazing magazine month after month} or starting Ruby Press and thriving throughout this crummy economy.

(via justinetaylor)

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10. What is your idea of living "La Dolce Vita"? Living in California is a big part of it for me...but what really makes it for me are warm, sunny days, fresh flowers in the house and office, having blackberries, meyer lemons, rosemary, apples, and lavender growing in our back yard, and having nothing on my agenda but hanging out at home with my husband and two dogs Huck and Lulu. Free time is such a luxury and I know it will become even more of one after our little guy arrives next month!



Bloom: Peony- the type that starts off deep coral pink, the petals open and then the petals fade to a pale apricot. They last over a week and are gorgeous in every stage. {Does anyone know what this variety is called? I'm stumped!}

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Food: Homemade berry pies, cotton candy, cake, pavlovas, tarts.... I have a horrible sweet tooth like my mother, but luckily I inherited her baking skills!

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Drink: Right now, fresh raspberry or blackberry soda. But once the baby comes, I'll be trying this cocktail, the Blackberry Smash.

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Thing to wear: Vintage cotton dresses- I have a collection of Victorian dressing gowns {purchased at the Euro Linens booth at the Alameda Flea Market} that I wear a lot- and that thankfully still fit me even though I'm currently 8 1/2 months pregnant!

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Destination: Hard to choose just one- New York City {but not for work!}, Los Angeles {which always involves a stay at the Chateau Marmont}, New Orleans {I think it's the sexiest US city, hands down!} or Palm Springs {see answer to the next question}.

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Season: Summer, most definitely! I love the dry heat you get on the west coast. Love.


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Meal: Dessert. Not matter how full I am after dinner, I always have room for dessert! My favorite dessert? A berry pavlova!

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Film: I will always have a special place in my heart for 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory', but 'Waiting for Guffman' makes me laugh every time!

Television show: Right now? Mad Men and Tosh.0. Daniel Tosh makes me laugh out loud.

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Book: It's from my childhood- The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

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Magazines: Hard to choose, but if I had to choose a few faves, I'd say British Vogue, Lula, Elle Decor, and House Beautiful.

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Blogs: I must admit I am fickle about blogs- I love checking out a variety of types- food, baby, fashion, home decor/design....I could spend hours linking from blog to blog. I don't have a list that I read religiously every day but I do keep a blog roll on our blog.

Texture: The feel of Huck and Lulu's {my two cuddly dogs} soft fur!

Fabric or Patterns: Vintage cotton tulle and vintage linens...I have bins of vintage linens I've collected over the years. I never tire of them.

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Color: Almost all shades of pink, especially coral-y deep pink...

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Scent: I love fragrance. My current faves: Astier de Villatte's Eau de Cologne, my own custom fragrance made by Memoire Liquide {a blend of fresh rose, orange blossom and fig}, and Heeley's Sel Marin.

Extravagance: Freshed squeezed orange juice every morning and the comfiest bed {the combination of extraordinary bed linens and a fluffy down mattress topper}.

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Quote: This pretty much sums up my philosophy on life & happiness... {graphic from here}


Helena - A Diary of Lovely said...

fantastic, really inspiring, thank you so much paloma for sharing these xo

rikshaw design said...

ohhh goodie..i loved reading this list and melissa's pics are incredible!!!i am swooning very hard for that victorian vintage dress..i want one!! love lovexoxo

melissa davis said...

You guys are so sweet. Thanks a million for asking me to get involved in your Style Files Paloma! Your blog is amazing and I am so tickled to be featured in it.


Chedva @Rooms and Words said...

Melissa, I love your list!

Unknown said...

what a wonderful interview - i love all of the pictures that accompanied it!
xox alison

climate change in arctic said...

I have a soft spot for California Meyer lemons too. They say Meyer Lemons are like love. Sometimes hard to find, but well worth the wait. I was glad to see you and I are kindred Meyer lemon fans.

Where I live we don't have easy access to fresh Meyer lemons. But I've figured out how to cope with it. I just and order directly ( ) from growers that pick them right off the trees and ship them direct — a tip I learned from my cousin in Canada. This way I get fresh Meyer lemons picked from the tree without all the time sitting in cartons, trucks and warehouses on their way to market where they lose their freshness.

Andee Layne said...

love the photos! that blackberry smash looks delish!!!

Anonymous said...

I loved this!!
Sally W.

Today Hilary... said...

Great post!!!

the adventures of a modern housewife said...

great feature - loved reading the interview and checking out her blog

shell said...

hi paloma & melissa, the peonies you're talking about are called coral charm. they're some of my favorites too. also i can't wait to try out a berry pavlova, what a perfect summer dessert!

LindsB said...

Such a great interview, it gives me hope when starting my own business!

paula said...

Such a great interview! she is so inspiring.