Something Blue PR were paramount to the success of Rock My Wedding in the first few years following launch, founder Jo Kent had similar entrepreneurial ideas to yours truly – following her wedding in 2009 she saw a definite gap in the market for a new business venture.
Jo not only runs her own company but is also a dedicated mother to one year old Maisie and as many of you suggested that you would like to read more about working Mums and how they manage their time in the comments section of my Maybe Baby post so as well as her public relations expertise, Jo is also sharing some of her best kept secrets on parenting/career management.
I for one was very interested in what she had to say. Please do leave Jo any queries you may have and she will do her best to come back to you.
Hi Jo! you founded and run a successful PR company, what made you take the plunge, give up a successful career and start on your own?
Like many wedding businesses, the idea for Something Blue PR was born during the planning of my wedding in 2009. I was currently working in luxury travel & lifestyle PR for an agency in London and prior to that had been a copywriter in Singapore for three years – I worked on award-winning campaigns for all types of brands, both multinational household names to quirky boutique brands. During the time spent planning our wedding (a ridiculous 2.25 years in total) I became crazily obsessed with all things W-day and didn’t want the bubble to burst once we’d tied the knot. Simultaneously, with my PR hat on, I realised that there were so many amazingly creative and talented suppliers who simply don’t have their moment in the media spotlight due to lack of marketing budget or general know-how. After months of research and planning, I made the decision to set up a consultancy dedicated to the bridal industry – it was a huge step to walk away from a stable career in London but I was certain that with enough passion and hard work, I could make it work. And if it didn’t, at least I would’ve tried. We got married in March 2010 and the business launched at the end of April – thankfully both have been successful ever since!
What would you say is your biggest achievement so far?
It’s impossible to pinpoint one particular achievement as there have been so many successes to feel proud of along the way. As a team we get immense satisfaction from working with very small, unknown brands and quickly building them up to become established, renowned names within the bridal industry – it’s hugely rewarding to watch clients grow and evolve into successful businesses. Our press day in 2013 was a fabulous day and the first large-scale event we’d organised at SBPR so we got a great buzz from that and it’s allowed us to grow the events arm of the business to provide a full event management service. Events are high pressure but they’re great fun and very rewarding – especially when we’re surrounded by such creativity.
What is the next project for Something Blue PR?
At the moment there’s a million-and-one possible projects in the pipeline and I’m constantly waking up in the night with ‘new’ ideas to drive the business forward. The reality is that we’re incredibly busy with our client activity and will only ever do something if we know it’ll be a big success – we’re careful not to compromise our client service and retention levels. Another press day is definitely on the agenda though as well as some exciting events for our clients towards the end of the year.
What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most and why?
I absolutely love the diversity of the job and the constant stream of inspiration. I’ve worked with many extremely talented and creative people in past career roles but nothing compares to the talent within the wedding industry. I’ve shared the Something Blue journey with so many wonderful people along the way and feel incredibly privileged to be in a position where I can choose who we work with – we’re very fussy about the work we do and if I don’t buy into the brand or simply don’t like the people behind it, I won’t take on the business. I’ve spent far too many days in my former career massaging undesirable egos!
You’ve fairly recently become a Mama to the beautiful Maisie, congratulations! how has motherhood effected the way you view/manage your own company?
Thank you! Maisie is most definitely my biggest achievement so far (if that counts in answer to the above!) and I have become the super proud (and no doubt super dull) mummy I swore I’d never be! Juggling motherhood and a business is certainly challenging at times but one year in and I feel I’m starting to find my feet with it all. Thankfully I have a great team and lovely clients who either have children themselves or understand the importance of a work/life balance. Time is very precious and limited so I’ve definitely learnt to focus my energy on the things that will make the biggest difference and not waste time sweating the small stuff. I’ve also toughened up a lot over the last few years as a result of running a business and learnt that you can always move on from adversity.
Do you find juggling being a parent and a career woman difficult, what are the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far?
In short, yes! For me, and I believe most working mums, the hardest challenge is dealing with the constant burden of guilt that follows you from the moment you become a parent. My time is constantly torn between the business, family life and friends and it’s usually the latter that loses out – it’s hard to get the balance exactly right but thankfully I have great friends who are equally busy.
I am very new to trying to be the best parent I can be whilst keeping on top of work, do you find military type organisation is the key to success?!
Those who know me well will know that ‘military-type organisation’ is not part of my genetic makeup! I’m naturally not a routine type of person and have always been – within reason – quite spontaneous in my approach to life and in the past it’s worked for me. However, I’ve quickly learnt in the last year that spontaneity and motherhood simply don’t mix so I’ve thrown my former views on parenthood out of the window in replace of a much more structured routine for both myself and Maisie; it’s the only way that you can hope to juggle it all!
Any tips you could offer to career focussed Mums based on your own experience?
Forget perfectionism! It’s impossible to be perfect at everything and nobody actually expects you to be. As long as you’re doing your best, that’s good enough. Oh, and don’t expect to turn up to work or a meeting without something undesirable on your clothes, be it baby food or dribble.
Your office is beautiful! Do you have any recommendations for decor that is is both practical and stylish?
The contents of our office can mostly be found in Ikea & Muji which are both great for simple, practical furniture and storage solutions. I’m a little OCD about things being clean so our office is mostly white (with a splash of blue) and has touches of ‘pretty’ in the form of flowers, books and photography. We also have several framed posters/postcards from The Calm Gallery dotted around the office to keep us motivated and inspired.
Do you feel that having an office away from “home” is important?
I have both at the moment but tend to mostly be based at the office on my working days as I enjoy getting out of the house and ‘going’ to work. Thankfully our office is only a 10 minute walk from my home so I don’t have a long commute and it’s such a lovely spot overlooking the high street. Ultimately it depends on your individual needs and childcare arrangements – both options can work very well as long as you’re self-disciplined!
Name: Jo Kent
Occupation: Founder Of Something Blue PR
Education: BA (Hons) Public Relations, Bournemouth University & Media School
Previous Career History: PR Consultant, Beth Cooper PR, Copywriter, M&C Saatchi & Ogilvy & Mather