New York state of mind: Baton Rouge native and home decor PR pro Elizabeth Blitzer
One of my childhood best friends, Elizabeth Blitzer, wrote the most creative college entrance essay ever to grace the hallowed halls of higher learning. No lie. She was clever and bold way before clever and bold were de rigueur in everything youth oriented. She received an undergraduate and graduate degree from Vanderbilt in education. Then, after a few years of teaching in Nashville, she sold her car and moved to Manhattan with fellow Baton Rougean Jane Abercrombie in the hopes of finding a job—any job—much to their families’ trepidation. I was jealous. Elizabeth ultimately landed as an account executive with Susan Becher Public Relations, a company she stayed with for 10 years before launching Blitzer & Company in 2010.
“We are a PR and strategy consulting firm,” says Elizabeth, who counts many of the editors at national shelter magazines as friends. “Basically, we can do anything that falls under the umbrella of home furnishings and interior design.”
Elizabeth’s cleverness and boldness still ring true and have helped her garner clients such as Alexa Hampton, Thomas O’Brien and Bunny Williams Home, among others. Blitzer & Company not only manages traditional public relations, but it also creates social media strategies and partnerships and helps with branding. Local press, in addition to national media, is important to her clients, which means her team is involved with everything from magazine-sponsored events to show houses to private events. But she hasn’t forgotten her roots.
“I love being from the South and living here,” says Elizabeth. “I actually think that it brings a character trait to my business. People generally think we are a bit on the softer, more hospitable side.”
One of Elizabeth’s gifts is the ability to put the right people together for the benefit of all. It’s networking and problem solving. It’s asking questions, engaging others and following up on an idea. She maintains that the interior design and home furnishing industry in New York is actually small enough to make the right connections count. And while she doesn’t actually want Blitzer & Company to grow bigger, she wants to be the best—proactive for her clients and on top of the trends.
I caught up with her recently to find more about her company and check out the latest wares from a few of her clients.
When is your most hectic time of year?
I think I’d say fall, because we are in fall. If you ask me in spring, I’ll probably say spring!
Describe what a typical day looks like for you.
This is always hard to say. I like to book my out-of-office meetings all on the same day because I don’t have enough outfits to spread over the week. So…if I’m out…I’m out in back-to-back meetings with clients or editors all day long. If I’m in my office, it’s conference calls in my gym clothes!
Finish this sentence. I am most happy when:
If you had to pick a designer to do your home, who would it be and why? You can’t ask me this, or I wouldn’t be able to pay a mortgage to have a home to design! I love them all equally…of course! But the truth is, I’d call in my childhood, college, and NY friend, Jane Abercrombie Runge [of Jane Abercrombie Interiors] to come in from Nashville every time!
Can you share a memorable moment or experience from your work?
The most memorable moment was the Friday after I cleared my desk the day before from my job of 10 years. I started the morning wondering if I was going to have to move back to BR and in with my parents. That same day, I got my first client, Flair—an amazing store in Soho—and they are clients (and friends) to this day.
Describe a room that had a great impact on you.
I like what I remember as being the den in my parents’ house on Avondale. We moved when I was 4 or 5. It had orange toile. Later, when I was right out of college, my mom found a scrap of the fabric, and I covered a chair in it!
What are your three most prized possessions?
They aren’t really mine…I have to share them with their mother (Caroline Blitzer Phillips) and father (Craig Phillips), but two are Charlotte and Catherine Phillips (my nieces). The third is hard. I live in NYC, where all of my possesions are relegated to 700 square feet. I should probably say something along the lines of family photos or good memories, etc., but I am very partial to my Barker’s Jewelry that my parents have given me!
What or who inspires you right now?
All I want to do is take trips these days. My cousin Mark Kantrow took me to Uzes, France, where he spends so much time and that made me want to do nothing but be a lady of leisure. In my head, I make so many cheese platters on 17th-century French cutting boards…
Favorite trends for fall and winter?
In NYC—red wine and fur (vintage…calm down…).
A FEW OF ELIZABETH’S FAVORITE THINGS:
Bunny Williams Home Brush Stroke Lamp
The Bunny Williams Home Brush Stroke Lamp has become an iconic piece in their line. It’s a best-seller but also receives lots of love from the press and designers! It continues to appear in design magazines in the work of designers all over the country. bunnywilliamshome.com
The Authentics by Melanie Acevedo and Dara Caponigro
I’m excited for my friend Dara Caponigro, creative director of Schumacher (and founding editor of domino magazine), on her new book that is just out. Run, don’t walk, to get it for the perfect holiday gift! penguinrandomhouse.com
The Mine Gold Cocktail Straws
The Mine is an endless source of items for the home. They cover every category from kitchen sinks to forks and knives. In preparation for holiday parties, I am planning to order these gold cocktail straws. themine.com
Alexa Hampton “Kina” Console for Hickory Chair
I have worked with Alexa Hampton for forever. In the early days, she really encouraged me to start my own firm, and I am forever indebted to her for her vote of confidence in me! Aside from being a good friend, I also admire her classic style. I love this console from her line with Hickory Chair. hickorychair.com
Stori Modern Journal Collection
In NY, I can only dream of outdoor space and summer homes, but in my dreams, I am sitting by a pool on this gorgeous outdoor furniture. Stori Modern’s designs, by Dallas-based designer Jean Liu, are young and cool. The editors are loving it! storimodern.com
Thomas O’Brien “Hicks” Large Bronze and Antiqued Brass Pendant Lamp for Visual Comfort
Like Alexa, Thomas is now more a friend than a client! In my New York apartment, I have these pendant lights over my dining table (and I have about 10 other TOB lights in my apartment as well). I made Thomas answer so many questions during my renovation that I like to tell people that he designed my apartment. aerostudios.com
Vogue Collection for Schumacher
Schumacher is a 130-year-old fabric company with an impressive history. This summer, we helped launch a collaboration between Vogue Living and Schumacher. I would have these fabrics floor to ceiling! I love working with Schumacher for many reasons, especially since they brought on the brilliant and beloved editor Dara Caponigro, most recently EIC of Veranda magazine, as the new creative director. Among her many roles, she is editing her own magazine in house and overseeing the production of beautiful photography to support their collections, like this image of the Vogue launch. fschumacher.com
I could never do a client roundup without including towels from Matouk. Of course, I love their bedding, so it’s hard to choose out of all of their products, but these Lulu DK towels are my favorite. No one does towels that even come close to the quality of Matouk, and these Charlotte designs add a bit of girliness to my all-white bathroom. It also helps that this third-generation owner, George Matouk, is also a fellow Vanderbilt grad! matouk.com