Shop Talk: Ruby Press

Written by on October 11, 2011 in Lifestyle, Shop Talk - 14 Comments
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Photography: Kristen Loken

Melissa Davis, founder of the lifestyle boutique PR agency Ruby Press gave us an inside peek of her chic Berkeley based office. Ruby Press’ natural lighting, white walls, charming moldings and overall clean aesthetic make this work environment seem especially happy, and the fact that this team is just walking distance to some of the best bay area eats is icing on the cake.

Ruby Press resides in the historic Heywood Building in downtown Berkeley.

The Ruby Press office is adorable! Did you design and style the space yourself?
I did. When we were looking for this space, the minute I stepped in, I knew this was the future Ruby Press office. It had mustard walls, industrial royal blue carpeting and hand blown purple lighting fixtures, but I could see the potential. I love the light in our office first and foremost – and I feel like the white walls and moldings accentuate that. We had modern globe fixtures hung and a natural sisal-y carpet put down and it became a perfect blank canvas.

The space is always a work in progress – we’re always adding new elements. We just bought two oversized, vintage aqua blue letters R and P, from Greenhouse Design Studio and some new oversized sheepskins for our chairs. They make every day feel a little more luxurious! I just ordered a pink Chesterfield sofa from Lulu DK for Elite Leather that I am borderline obsessed with.

“I bought these chairs at Pottery Barn Teen when we moved into this office and everyone always asks me where we got them. “

Ruby Press founder Melissa Davis

What is your favorite aspect of the Ruby Press office?
The fact that it’s an open space and that we get incredible light. I think it feels like a happy place. I also love that our office has history – it was designed by James Plachek in 1917, a well known architect and our office was actually his office and was featured in a 1919 issue of Architect and Engineer magazine.

“My bulletin board.  It’s taller than me and is a great catch-all for clippings and items I just can’t part with.  {True story: see the shot of the rhinestoned heel?  I have had that photo on my board for years and just found that that it was a shot from the wedding of our brand new client Sheridan French– it was her wedding shoe- how is THAT for fate??}.”

You have a fashion editorial background, what led you to want to make the switch from freelance writing in the bay area to starting your own PR firm?
After 8 years as a fashion editor in NYC – I was at Harper’s Bazaar and Mademoiselle magazine – I was offered a job with a dot-com that promptly folded two weeks after my arrival on the west coast. I started working as a contributor for Lucky magazine and the first fashion editor at local SF magazine 7×7 when I saw a niche in the market for a lifestyle, boutique PR agency based here in Northern California. I started Ruby Press one year after my arrival – it’s been ten years now! I’m so glad I made the change.

“I bought this clear red Knoll stool when we moved into this office because I needed a touch of modern.  I’m a bit of an old fashioned girl.”

What advice do you have for those who would like to make the same career change and go out on their own?
It’s easy for me to say, “just go for it!”, but truth be told, I didn’t have a lot to lose when I started the agency. There were very few start-up costs – I really just needed my contacts, a computer and phone. (I worked from home when I started Ruby Press). I will, however, say that if you want to start your own business, make sure it’s something you absolutely love doing. I spend way too much time working to be doing something I don’t love.

“I am, and have always been, a letter writer {we are firm believers in a thank you note!} and collect vintage ephemera and pretty paper bits.”

Ruby Press publicist Kate Miller

What do you love most about your job?
I love seeing how the press we garner for our clients helps their businesses grow – it’s so incredibly satisfying.

Melissa’s assistant and PR coordinator Becca Blanco

Ruby Press intern Genevieve

What are your favorite Berkeley hot spots? Does the Ruby Press team have a favorite lunch spot that you frequent / recommend?
Oh, one reason we love working in downtown Berkeley is the food! We’re a few blocks from Berkeley’s famed “Gourmet Ghetto.” Our favorite places right now are Cancun (unbelievable Mexican food with naturally raised meats and organic produce grown at their farm in Guerneville- try their crispy fish tacos – unreal!), Phil’s Sliders (I am not a big burger person, but their sliders are truly heavenly), P.I.Q. (for Italian pizzas, focaccia, and sandwiches – their breads are delish), and Cheeseboard Pizza (the girls take advantage of sunny days with a short walk down to this Berkeley institution).

Ruby Press intern Amelia


  • Jessica

    I love that office and Ruby Press I have been searching for a boutique PR firm and this is the top runner!

  • Paula

    What a great feature! gorgeous interiors! I want to copy everything!!

  • Macy Young

    Love this! Such an inspiration!


  • julieann/creategirl

    what a wonderful interview! I have followed Melissa and Ruby Press for the last few years, she is incredible. The space is so refreshing and calming I think I might just want to live there! Thanks for the peek inside!

  • melissa davis

    How fun to be a part of Glitter Guide!! Thanks a million Taylor!! xxM

  • Linda

    One of your best features yet, keep ’em coming!

  • Kirsten

    WOW This is so much fun what a creative and fresh work environment,
    it looks amazing so pretty.

  • stylestruck (@stylestruckblog)

    love the clean and minimalist aesthetic of the office!

  • Angelica

    I love it all: the contrast of the red Knoll stool with the PB Teen chairs, the pretty paper bits, and especially the fact that Melissa and staff are all wearing a silk/woven piece.

  • carla mccarthy

    What a great atmosphere! It might be fun working in an old historical building.Can you imagine how many photoshoots you could do it?


  • marysia

    such a lovely office and lovely ladies!

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