Meet the Marketer Behind Pharrell's BBC ICECREAM Brands: Hillary Alexandre

Alexandre is the Director of Brand Marketing + PR at the Pharrell / Nigo brand

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Hillary Alexandre

From its genesis in the early 2000s, Billionaire Boys Club has long been a mainstay of the world of contemporary fashion. With Pharrell and Nigo at the helm, BBC—and, eventually, ICECREAM—has been instrumental in the trajectory of streetwear widely in the past two decades. At ONE37pm, we had the opportunity to catch up with BBC ICECREAM's current director of Brand Marketing and PR, Hillary Alexandre, to hear about the evolution of the brand in recent years and her career as a marketer.

ONE37pm: How long have you had the job? 

I’ve been at BBC ICECREAM for five years, and it’s been a great experience to grow from my original position as PR + Social Manager to this evolved role. 

What does a day for you entail? I know you handle so many different things.

Wow, where do I begin? My days are never the same, with the exception of Mondays because I need at least one day with structure. My days are filled with me doing some extreme multitasking, from creating go-to-market and campaign strategies for all releases/projects, building decks, and overseeing social, to influencer relations and event management. Sprinkle in some email marketing and brand philanthropic activities, too! 

How did you get the job initially? 

I actually found this job on Indeed... of all places! I’ve always found that to be funny, because—typically—people only get this type of job by knowing someone that’s already in the door. 

I met with Loic Villepontoux [started BBC ICECREAM with Pharrell and Nigo] and the role had been snatched up, but I guess he saw something in me because I followed up saying I’d come on board in any creative capacity available. He ended up splitting the role in two and I took PR + Social while my former colleague took marketing. 

Lesson: always follow up and inject yourself anyway you can! The worst you can hear is “no,” right? 

- Hillary Alexandre

Where are you from?

I’m a very proud born and raised New Yorker. 

QGTM all day. 

Have you always had an interest in fashion and streetwear?

No, I actually didn’t think fashion/streetwear was my scene even though I wore it. I kind of fell into it naturally. Once I started to really immerse myself in the behind-the-scenes world of streetwear, I started to see how culture lended to the storytelling and how imperative it was for me to contribute to the culture that essentially raised me in Queens. 

What are some of your favorite projects, releases or pieces that you have been a part of? Why do those stand out to you? 

It’s so hard for me to really pin down just one project since there've been so many I’ve had the opportunity to work on.

I will say that the revival of Billionaire Girls Club—which I’ve been fortunate to spearhead since 2017—has been an amazing on-going initiative that I have really enjoyed and put genuine effort into. 

Some other major moments for me are: 

A Tribe Called Quest x BBC campaign [2018]

Launch of the BBC ICECREAM x adidas Miami pop-up w/ an Art Basel experience with Hebru Brantley [2018]

● BBC x Soulection first capsule launch campaign + event [2018] 

● ICECREAM Merch Truck for Pharrell’s Something in the Water Festival [that had a non-stop line for the two days that the festival took place…the truck owners definitely didn’t believe that they’d get that many people lined up, lol!] [2019] 

● Running marketing campaigns and influencer relations for two booths simultaneously at the the 2019 ComplexCon [that was a rush for sure!]

● BBC Mental Health Awareness virtual event [2020] 

Launch of Heart & Mind.Tv video series initiative that highlights creatives in the industry with a BTS look at their passions. So far we’ve featured Gunner Stahl, Buda & Grandz and Conway the Machine. [2021] 

Reviving Team ICECREAM with Ben Oleynik ; we added a female skater to the team for the first time! [2021] 

● Working with Smino for MLK Day in 2021 to create this dope animation

● Bee Line x Timberland S22 Campaign ft. Jadakiss and Aurora Anthony [2022]

Overtime, BBC ICECREAM has had different people involved and different ownership structures. There's been various ups and downs. Where does the brand stand today? What does the brand mean to you today? 

I want to be real with this question because it’s one that many have. BBC ICECREAM was purchased by Pharrell back in 2016 and since then, the brand has seen positive growth in areas that were previously damaged. We have ensured that our product’s quality is better, we’ve become more strategic in our wholesale business and amplified our D2C business in both brick and mortar and ecomm retail.

What really sticks out to me is that BBC’s ethos and values as a brand has been maintained. We continue to scale into community growth, innovation and philanthropy. Every year, these get stronger for us and our mantra “Wealth is of the heart and mind. Not the pocket”, really does drive a lot of the projects and community engagement we get into. 

What does it mean to you to be a woman working in streetwear? 

Streetwear has always been a boy’s club. No pun intended. But, I will say that I’ve been seeing a lot of advances from women within the industry. I know women that now have their own agencies in PR, Marketing and Events that focus on streetwear. I know women that are killing it in the graphics art scene for Streetwear brands. I see women, especially Black women, uplifting each other every day and ensuring that we celebrate each other and give credit where it’s due. It’s very inspiring.

Personally, being a woman in Streetwear has been exhilarating for me. I think it’s important to not only exist in the space, but to also make impactful changes. And I’m intentional about that with most of the activities I do. 

Have there been certain obstacles you've had to overcome? How did you deal with them?

I think every situation comes with obstacles or it doesn’t really matter. I’ll be honest, my therapist has helped a lot with handling any obstacles that I deal with professionally. As a woman of color, micro-aggressions are prevalent everywhere so it’s important to have outlets and a strong mind. 

Tell us about what you're doing with BGC? 

BGC is something really special to me. In 2017, while I was immersing myself in all things BBC ICECREAM, there was a small BGC capsule that dropped and it didn’t make much noise. I was curious about what we can do with it because I naturally love building brands. 

Fast forward to 2022… I’ve been able to position BGC as a community and a platform that champions women creatives. From partnerships and experience with IBM, Sad Girls Club, Girls Who Code, panels with women in Streetwear, to two successful artist collaborations.

It’s still growing and we’ve only scratched the surface. 

What motivates you today? Where do you get ideas and inspiration from? 

Walking around the city is one of my biggest inspirations. The amount of stimulation I receive from the city streets is unparalleled—all my senses are activated and connections are being made subconsciously. 

I’ve been getting into marketing podcasts lately. So far, I’ve tuned into The Marketing Millennials on Spotify. And other marketing or industry outlets like The Drum, Adweek, Vogue Business, BOF. The Future Party’s email newsletter is great for hearing about innovative brands and people, too. 

What advice would you give to a young person looking to work in fashion?

Confidence. Is. Key. 

What is next for you?

This is an anxiety-inducing question lol.

But really, I see myself becoming the VP or Chief of Cultural Marketing at a forward thinking brand (potentially in tech). I see the value of highlighting and tapping into our societies and the nuances within them, in a genuine and authentic way. I love telling stories through the lens of people that are not commonly heard so amplifying that into a job role would be cool.

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