10 questions with Melissa Davis, founder of Ruby Press.
1. What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
It has to be a tie between my first job out of college at Harper's Bazaar (I was hired as an intern and they created a position for me a few months later), and starting my own business, boutique PR agency Ruby Press. It will be our ten-year anniversary of the business this coming May!
2. What is your most prized possession?
The Victorian hair cross necklace my husband bought me for my first Mother's Day. (I was pregnant at the time.)
3. Who is the person who most embodies “style?”
I don't really emulate any celebrity's style; rather, I think I have been influenced by the chic women I have worked with and been friends with over the years. When you're a fashion editor, you work with so many incredibly stylish women—it's hard not to be influenced from all sides.
4. In what historical period would you most like to have lived?
I would have a different answer for this question every few years, but I have always been in love with the past. Right now I am loving the style and look of HBO's Boardwalk Empire, which takes place in Atlantic City during prohibition.
5. With what fictional character do you most identify?
Would I sound like a mega-bitch if I said Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? I like to think I am a much sweeter version of her, but I can really relate when she sings "I want it now!" (Plus, that's one of my all-time favorite movies.)
6. Where do you feel most inspired?
I am most inspired by the people and street style in New York City and the architecture and culture of New Orleans.
7. In your next life, who or what would you most like to be?
I feel really lucky to have lived the life I've had so far—my career has been exciting and fulfilling, and I met my husband ten years ago, and we just had a little boy last month, which makes it all complete. I don't know what else I would ask for.
8. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I spent my 40th birthday with some girlfriends last spring in Palm Springs, and it was pretty close to perfection. Amazing friends, a super chic house, the perfect pool, hot sunny days, spa treatments, and delicious meals at stylish restaurants—and no schedule! The only thing that would make it better would be to get to share that trip with my husband and son as well.
9. What's the greatest thing about living in San Francisco?
The thing I love most is ironically what surrounds the city. Just a short drive from San Francisco are some of my favorite places. Day trips to wine country are the best; my favorite towns are St. Helena for the shopping (Woodhouse Chocolate, Martin Showroom, Napa Valley Vintage Home, etc.); Calistoga for Indian Springs; and Healdsburg for a weekend escape to Hotel Duchamp. My husband and I spent an amazing weekend at Manka's in Inverness, and I have taken some glorious hikes in Marin with girlfriends. Stinson Beach is incredibly charming whether the weather cooperates or not, and Half Moon Bay has the most picturesque beaches and rocky cliffs. Mendocino is a sweet coastal village with a New England feel, and Santa Cruz has an old-fashioned beachfront boardwalk that will make you feel like a kid again.
10. What's the most important lesson you learned from starting your own business?
That you should do what you love. The way that relates to Ruby Press is that I only take on new clients that I really believe in and that I know my staff will love as well. When you fake enthusiasm for a product, people can tell. The excitement we convey to the media about our clients is natural, which makes "pitching" feel more like telling friends about something we love. It simply has to be the right fit for us.