Bonus Episode: Morgan Krause, Publicist at Base Beauty Creative Agency

The first thing we spoke about in my conversation with our Base Beauty publicist, Morgan Krause, is how fast she talks… Even faster than I do, which is saying something. For the reboot of our original super-sonic session, Morgan consciously tried to slow down, which she realizes was a really helpful exercise for her.

Morgan shared how she found her way to New York and to Base Beauty through her work with one of our clients, Au Naturale Cosmetics, a clean beauty brand based in her hometown of Green Bay, Wisconsin. A company that also lobbies for stricter regulations to make beauty products less toxic, Au Naturale appealed to Morgan’s interest in global health. She spoke thoughtfully about the importance of using our consumer dollars to affect change and how she’s observed that responsible brands are slowly becoming more affordable and accessible.

I hope you’ll join us to hear my full conversation with Morgan, delivered with her usual high energy but at a more reasonable speed.

Dan Hodgdon
Jodi KatzHey, everybody. Welcome back to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY®. I am sitting across from my team member, Morgan Krause. You are our publicist and all around wonderful person. Welcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY®.
Morgan KrauseThank you for having me.
Jodi KatzFull disclosure to our audience, this is our second recording of your podcast episode. Please tell us all why we're doing this again.
Morgan KrauseWe are doing this so that I have a chance to speak more slowly because I have a tendency to speed it up a bit. It's like a personal exercise here to really just dial it down a little. We reduced the caffeine intake this time.
Jodi KatzI can see you're actually like restraining yourself from talking the way that you normally would, which is super rapid and crazy high energy.
Morgan KrauseYeah. No, it's definitely a conscious effort.
Jodi KatzHave you always been a fast talker?
Morgan KrauseYeah, I think so. I think my brain just fires quickly and I have a little bubble of friends that seem to do the same thing. We're usually completely unaware of how crazy it sounds until called out by anybody else outside of the loop. I'm very glad that you brought it to my attention. Man, it was painful to listen to the first interview.
Jodi KatzRight. We recorded and I told Morgan afterwards that while it was such a great conversation, but I think you should listen to the episode and it will help you really hear how fast you talk. This is coming from someone who is also fast talker. I'm not as fast as you, but I'm pretty close. I really wanted you to hear it because I think people saying you talk fast doesn't make as much sense as actually listening to yourself.
Morgan KrauseYeah. No, it definitely lent some perspective, that's for sure.
Jodi KatzDid you share it with your mom?
Morgan KrauseNo. No. I should though. I'll definitely forward it to her. Yeah, she'll get a kick out of it. She's always called me out for talking a little bit too quickly.
Jodi KatzDoes anyone in your family talk as quick as you?
Morgan KrauseShe can keep up with me, but she has called it out in the sense of when you're in other contexts, you're going to need to keep an eye on that. But now hearing it from people that aren't your mother makes a difference.
Jodi KatzI think it's so important since we're so client services based, we actually want the clients to hear what we're saying and many of our clients are not even in the New York area. I mean, you're not from New York either, but you talk as quickly and as a New Yorker would. I work really hard to do it and clients definitely say to me, "Jodi, I really can't understand you. Can you slow it down?" I'm like, "I just get so excited."
Morgan KrauseSo many exciting things to share. Yeah.
Jodi KatzLet's talk about your background. You are not from New York. You are from ...
Morgan KrauseWisconsin.
Jodi KatzWhat was your first job out of college?
Morgan KrauseMy first job out of college was with a small natural beauty company called Au Naturale Cosmetics. It was based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Still is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. That's really to my hometown. I started interning there right after undergrad and then it was a very quick, I don't know where it went, three, three and a half years. In that time, that's kind of how I found Base, is we were a client of Base. Yeah. My first gig was doing all things digital, creative, and marketing on that front, on the brand side first.
Jodi KatzWhen you think back at your time at Au Naturale, at a really small but nimble entrepreneurial brands, what's the most significant thing you learned there?
Morgan KrauseI think it was just a really cool perspective to gain and seeing how everything looks behind the scenes, whatever, and you never know how many people are involved, how many hands are in the pot to make a company appear the way that it does. It was the coolest thing to hear so many people be so surprised by how few hands were in the pot at Au Naturale, from making the product, to presenting it, and selling it online and in stores. It was a really nimble but hardworking team. I think it was just, you know, really gave me more perspective because I always assumed there's an army behind most companies because what you see is so cool. But yeah, it was really, really, really awesome to be a part of a team that worked together to really make some big things happen as such a nimble crew.
Jodi KatzWere you a huge beauty person before working in the industry?
Morgan KrauseNo. My degree in undergrad was communications but then also global health. My whole vision was originally to be doing advertising and marketing for NGOs or different public health sector companies because we learned so much about different people doing really incredible things to address really major issues. The missing point it seemed to be was someone to tell their story in a way that would draw a larger audience to make a bigger impact. I actually found Au Naturale because through a friend. But I stayed because, at the time that I joined the team, they were really, really focusing on the policy work and driving change on that side, so in the public health sector and on the legal side of things. It was bizarrely in line with I'd envisioned myself doing after undergrad. Then beauty was a happy accident and I kind of fell in love with, I don't know, just the fun and excitement and the personability of creating such, I don't know, gorgeous products. It's just such a fun, I don't know, subject matter, so a perfect mix of those two worlds kind of got me sucked in and now I can't imagine, I don't know, doing creative for any other sort of company.
Jodi KatzWhen you were in Au Naturale, with regards to policy, you saw firsthand how hard it is to affect change. What can you do not working for a brand like that but still interested to keep moving these things forward?
Morgan KrauseYeah/ I think it's just so much about being conscious as a consumer, and we talked a lot about that there is well, and knowing about the companies behind the products that you rely on every day. Because I think there are so many incredible small brands or individuals who are giving people other options and making them affordable. I think it used to be an issue where to pick an option that was promoting change or moving things forward in a direction that's positive for everybody, it was more expensive and it was less attainable. But I think there are a lot of options out there, so it's just about being mindful, and knowing your stuff, and doing the work to kind of dig and find the best people to be supporting.
Jodi KatzRight. I agree. I think that money speaks. If the consumer puts her money in places where she believes, the industry is going to take notice and those brands that sort of operate as dinosaurs from an ingredient or a sourcing perspective will fade away ultimately, or they'll live for just a smaller market-
Morgan KrauseTotally.
Jodi KatzA smaller number of consumers. Let's talk about the work that you're doing here. Oh, I know. Let's talk about how you got this job.
Morgan KrauseYeah, so I moved to the city kind of abruptly. We'd outgrown our space at Au Naturale, so I was working from my studio apartment in Green Bay. I realized, I don't know, we have some cool opportunities out on the East Coast. One of my friends needed a roommate, stars kind of aligned, and it was within I think like two months of the inception of the idea that I moved. Right away when I got here, I kind of went through the humans in my mind that I knew were in New York and I would like to see and touch base with. We hadn't worked with Base for a bit, so I hit Jodi up and saw she was available for coffee. Picked her brain a bit just to kind of, I don't know, see how you guys were doing and ask her fun questions as a mentor. Yeah. Then I reached out and you guys were looking for a publicist and it just kind of all fell into place at a really, really perfect time. Yeah. I was so excited.
Jodi KatzI love when people actually ask for what they want. It was something that was really hard for me. I learned it later in life. But like the hoping and wishing and praying that something will just land in your lap actually doesn't work. I thought that's how things happened. I'd be wishing and wanting, but actually saying like, "Hey, I want a job," "Hey, I want a job at this. Do you know anybody? How can you help?" The only thing people can say is either yes, or maybe, or no. You have the opportunity then to actually get what you want. If you just wait for it, it's not going to happen.
Morgan KrauseTotally.
Jodi KatzWere you confident in asking people for opportunities and connections?
Morgan KrauseYeah, I guess so. I feel like I had learned a lot about what I enjoyed in my last position and I was confident in reaching out to people who I really enjoyed working with and who I felt like I could learn from. I think that was my biggest goal was just what can I do next to acquire more information and grow? Yeah. I was confident in reaching out to you and then I could learn a lot whether it was just to pick your brain over coffee or, you know, I didn't know. Yeah, I guess so. Then obviously there's always the nervousness of you have no idea what someone's going to say, but I figured like the risk, the reward. Reward outweighs it and was worth it.
Jodi KatzWe were recently ... Base Beauty presented and had a booth at Indie Beauty Expo in New York like a month ago. What's funny to me is you were there supporting Base Beauty but Au Naturale's there being Au Naturale, and you used to be at every single show for IBE for Au Naturale. What was it like to be on like not the Au Naturale side of IBE after all these years?
Morgan KrauseYeah, it was kind of weird because I guess, at first, my brain defaulted to the standard what you'd say when someone walks up to your booth. I was like, oh my goodness, I haven't thought about the fact that I need to consciously rework what I'm about to say. That was an adjustment. But I think it was really cool to see the industry from a different perspective, looking at all these different brands and being able to speak to them about offering such a multitude of things. But then also seeing familiar faces and kind of, I don't know. It's such a small industry. It's huge, but it feels so small at the same time that there is so many different familiar faces. I guess getting to work with those people in different ways is awesome. It's like a little family.
Jodi KatzDid you have time to walk the floor to see the other brands?
Morgan KrauseA little bit. I covered half, I think, of the show, the one way.
Jodi KatzWhat I love doing is just zooming through the aisles because I think that the brands who really put the effort into thinking about how do we differentiate our booth are the ones who are thinking about how do we differentiate our products and how do we differentiate our messaging outside of the show. I really have a lot of fun spotting them. You can almost see who's going to make it.
Morgan KrauseYeah. No, it's so much fun. I love creeping at all the booths. They had some really cool installations this year, too. I feel like it's always such a variety of, I don't know. You can do so much whether you're a teeny tiny brand that's there for the first year or everyone that's done a billion trade shows. The coolest thing I think is that it's a level platform and there are so many ways to grab people. But yeah, that loop is my favorite.
Jodi KatzWhat advice would you give to a brand that's, let's say, going to go to IBE in LA in January and hasn't shown before? From your expertise doing it at Au Naturale and seeing what worked for us at Base Beauty and seeing it through the eyes as a marketer and a publicist, what would you suggest people do?
Morgan KrauseI think keeping it simple is always key. We had a pretty simple set up, but what we did I think as Base and then also Au Naturale, I think they did a really good job this year too again of just trying to remove yourself from your own rabbit hole and think what makes us different and what is our big grabbing, fun, differentiating point, and then how do you make that an experience? For us, it was a really cool spin wheel that highlighted different emojis, if you will, that we use throughout the podcast and to promote ourselves elsewhere. Then we used our work as decorations in a really fun, inviting way. It was very much like our team had invited you in. It was colorful, it was exciting, and it showcased our work. I think, yeah, just making your product an experience so that it's more than just looking at it displayed and having to talk about it, it's something that you can walk past and kind of get the story.
Jodi KatzWouldn't that be the same advice for every piece of marketing?
Morgan KrauseYeah.
Jodi KatzMake it as experiential as possible.
Morgan KrauseTotally. I think so. Yeah, you want to feel it more than just looking at it and reading the things, because people don't spend that much time on anything.
Jodi KatzHow long ago did you start at Base Beauty?
Morgan KrauseAbout six months.
Jodi KatzWhat was the first six months like?
Morgan KrauseIt's been so much fun. I feel like so much has happened. Six months feels like it was five minutes, but also longer than that. Like it's longer than six months. I don't know. It's crazy. I've learned so much. I think being on the agency side is so different than being on the brand side, but it's so much fun to work with different women who have such different perspectives from all of our past jobs. Yeah, it's really awesome. It's very collaborative and we have a lot of exciting, fun new things on the horizon. Yeah, I love it.
Jodi KatzWell, thank you so much for sharing your story with the show and for doing it as a do over.
Morgan KrauseThank you for having me, 2.0. This was lovely and hopefully a little bit slower.
Jodi KatzYeah. I think your mom would be very proud.
Morgan KrauseOh my gosh. I'm so excited. I'm going to share both of them and tell her to time them.
Jodi KatzThanks, Morgan.
Morgan KrauseThanks, Jodi.

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