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Meet Karen Oliver, founder and CEO of Karen Oliver and Associates, a boutique beauty public relations agency that lives up to its mantra: “We are always here for you!” Noted for its unique culture of team work—everyone at the agency brings their particular expertise to every account—and strong, long-lasting relationships with clients and the media alike, KO&A is especially well known for putting premier European beauty brands little known in the US, such as Eau Thermale Avène and Klorane, front and center with the American media.  


After extensive immersion in the beauty industry, where she held executive positions on the corporate and retail side at prestige brands including Christian Dior, Lancôme, Helena Rubinstein (L’Oréal) and Shiseido, and a stint as associate producer of cult-favorite film Glengarry Glen Ross, Karen discovered that public relations was in her DNA.


“I’ve always had a lifelong passion for sharing that single fabulous thing I might discover, whether a vintage fashion accessory I found during my travels, or the longest-wearing eye shadow or must-have skin cream that really lived up to its promises,” says Karen. “I always wanted everyone to fall in love with the products and the people that I personally love. I found that the best way to share those finds is through PR, where I could connect brands I believe in to their target audience through the far-reaching power of the media and influencers.”

After starting her eponymous company out of her apartment in 2004, Karen set up shop as KO&A on NYC’s fabled Billionaires’ Row, where its doors officially opened in 2005. Karen’s natural talent as a storyteller evolved into the PR agency of record for a roster of discriminating beauty clients seeking strong expertise in brand building, creative thinking and execution,  and quantifiable results.


Whether we are launching a new innovation or reigniting excitement around an existing product, partnering with a heritage brand or small, indie start-up, we tell each brand’s unique story by creating smart, impactful content and experiences across multiple channels to take them to the next level of success."


"We’ve earned—and sustained—the media’s trust by being very targeted in meeting their editorial needs (we get the right products into the hands of the right people at the right time) and by being very selective in choosing our clients. Today our partners include Eau Thermale Avène (a client since 2007), Klorane, René Furterer, Glytone and Ducray. And we do whatever it takes to tell their stories—I will roll up my sleeves to pack up a mailing with my team, or personally go to the fabric and flower market to hand-select the perfect table linen and flowers for a press event, details that will transform the event space into a highly visual, on-point showcase for the brand’s messaging."


"It’s also important to me to treat every dollar of each client’s investment as if it were our own, protecting their interests every step of the way in heightening brand awareness and building brand equity, essential to driving sales, always delivering the highest value at the lowest cost."


"All the TLC we give to each of the brands we represent not only engages media and influencers to deliver strong, quantifiable results, but has also forged authentic relationships and genuine friendships that make it a joy to go to work every day. As we secure media coverage in the most influential spaces and build brands to reach new heights of success, we also build relationships that last!"

Photo courtesy of Michael Waring, from The Woman’s Wakeup: How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life and Love After 50 (Running Press) by Lois Joy Johnson