While Elisabeth Edelman was attending the University of Richmond, she interned at the Cannes Film Festival. It had nothing to do with her major, public relations, and everything to do with her passion — film. It made her think that all things were possible.
“Figuring it out is the hard part,” she tells undergraduates at the university. “Making it happen is easy.”
At the high-end shirt-maker Ledbury, which launched in Richmond five years ago, it’s her job to tell the brand’s story. Naturally, she makes it seem simple. “Our product sells itself,” she says. “I feel really lucky because my job is essentially to reflect everyone’s hard work.”
But she knows how to hustle too, especially after her post-college stint working for a PR firm in New York. “You had to learn how to swim real quick,” she says.
Ledbury, founded by two former Top 40 Under 40 recipients, has been on a tear, and its growth has made it a homegrown success story that attracts national attention. But Edelman isn’t only coordinating the company’s national PR campaign, she also manages its pop-up shops — recently in such locations as Charleston, S.C. and Georgetown.
Her event experience was instrumental in creating the Brewer’s Ball, thrown by the Young Professionals Leadership Committee this summer at the Virginia War Memorial. It raised more than $40,000 for the Virginia Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Besides the good times for a good cause, it had a special connection for Edelman, who has two cousins with cystic fibrosis and has been participating in the foundation’s Great Strides walks for nearly 20 years.
She also volunteers at Hope Church once a month, and somewhere along the way has finished two unpublished novels. Such storytelling, service and business all seem to connect for Edelman. When she talks about Ledbury, she says, “The way we try to build relationships is not to try to get something. We’re trying to build a meaningful friendship. … I think part of it is we care about them as much as they care about us.”