The Karla Otto and K2 agencies team up to create The Independents
A new collaboration has been announced in the fashion industry, as Karla Otto and K2 have teamed up to create a new group called The Independents. The two partners' objective is to increase their influence and become a major provider to the fashion, luxury, beauty and art-of-living industries, offering a range of "full services in the areas of communication, consultancy, event organisation, digital tools and marketing."
The public relations agency established by German businesswoman Karla Otto in 1982, and the Asia-based events organiser co-founded by French entrepreneur Isabelle Chouvet in 2002, will both continue to operate "independently and under their own names, Karla Otto and K2," wrote the partners in a press release, though they will begin to "offer their clients a range of joint services, characterised by smoothly integrated solutions."
Isabelle Chouvet and Karla Otto are the new group's majority shareholders. Alexander Werz, the Karla Otto agency's Global Director, and private equity firm Cathay Capital are also among The Independents' shareholders.
Isabelle Chouvet started her career at French employers' federation MEDEF, managing commercial events in the Middle East and Asia. She later set up her own agency together with her husband Olivier Chouvet and a friend, opening first in Japan and then in China. Isabelle Chouvet will become The Independents' CEO, with Karla Otto as joint President, while maintaining her position as CEO of the Karla Otto agency.
"This strategic collaboration seems to us to be a modern, natural way of making the most of the resources each of our organisations is endowed with, to keep offering our clients the same bespoke services, but on a larger scale," said Karla Otto, who has worked with fashion for over 35 years. Otto is a polyglot who started out in the modelling world before launching successfully into public relations.
The two agencies, K2 and Karla Otto, are complementary to a high degree. Both are in fact present in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing. They have over 400 specialists at their disposal and, crucially, their portfolios feature a wealth of prestigious names, like Valentino, Céline, Swarovski and Berluti.
The two businesswomen have been working on this collaboration for the last two years. "The world of PR agencies is in complete upheaval, and Karla and myself both want to play a driving role in this transformation," said Isabelle Chouvet, who isn't shy about her ambitions.
For both women, The Independents is just a starting point: "A highly robust organisation, from whose foundation we will both be able to grow. We are currently seeking new partners, and we are also trying to extend our current services to other regions," said Chouvet.
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