Sweaty Betty is one of the leading PR agencies in Australia. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what inspired you to take the leap and build the business?
I had a hunger to do things differently! One day I was feeling very ballsy and at 24 I started the business. I had this absolute desire not to fail and to ensure that I delivered beyond customer expectations. If you don’t take the risk you don’t get the reward, so long as you’re hungry to deliver you know you’ve got a passion to succeed. Treat the brand/product or the service as if it were your own!
What has been the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome this?
So I guess the challenge for me when I first started my business was the fact I was young. I suppose people have a stigma that if you’re 24 you haven’t had enough experience to be able to look after their brand/product or service. Youth was an issue for me in terms of getting clients. The smart clients didn’t let this bother them however the ones who were stuck in the 1999 ways of doing things let it bother them but sure enough they came back later on.
I don’t think age should be a factor in anyone’s decision because a lack of experience can be counteracted by a desire to deliver and that’s what I had. Yeah, I had a lack of experience but I had this absolute desire not to fail and to ensure that I delivered beyond customer expectations.
Obviously being a girl can also be an issue, but I think that’s a really old mindset and you need to forget about that and not let it hinder your thoughts on whether you should start a business or progress in your career. Guys and girls, what difference does it make? It makes no difference, just be good at what you’re doing and have confidence in yourself!
What do you love about this industry and what’s the most exciting part of your job?
I think continuing to reinvest, reinvigorate and regenerate is so important in business. This is because you can’t just think ‘oh well, we’ve made it, we’re done’. You’ve never made it, you’ve got to keep pushing. The second you become complacent is the second you fail, so continue rebuilding, renewing and refreshing. That is what I’ve done with Sweaty Betty, Ministry of Talent and Social Union.
How do you achieve work-life harmony?
I think the biggest part of being able to have that supposed work-life balance is not to worry about a work-life balance. I think the less you worry about it, the better off you are. I probably don’t have a good life work balance but what I do know is my children are very happy, my business is thriving and if that means I sleep for 4 hours a night it means I sleep for 4 hours a night. I spend no time worrying about how I’m going to fit things in and my biggest suggestion is just do it while the opportunity is there because if you don’t a really interesting opportunity might pass you by.
What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?
I actually never had a mentor when I started and I never really had anyone to ask questions. Firstly, because my parents didn’t even know what PR was and secondly I was 24 and my friends were either in Uni or travelling. I didn’t really have anyone around me to ask questions so I had to make the mistakes and keep going.
If I made a mistake there wasn’t anyone to ask so I would use Google. This is why any email or inquiry I now get, I will always spend the time answering. It’s a good thing to be able to bounce ideas and ask for advice when you’re in a situation and is a wonderful thing to have. I never had this so I can’t even give advice that ‘my mentor taught me this’ and ‘this has stuck with me for the last 14 years’.
You seem to have a very high calibre team. What do you look for in your talent and why?
The team is the backbone of your business because If you don’t have a good team you’re not going to have any business! I’ll push my team, I don’t care if they don’t like me. My aim is to see them progress and succeed in their career and if I have to critique them to ensure that they continue to grow as a team member so be it, that’s my job.
The clients that we work best with are the ones that are like family and we can have a chat with. It’s a family type environment and in work capacity it works. It’s not always the way with everyone when you’re working with huge customers sometimes marketing management may come and go but yeah the biggest thing is the relationship.
We are so glad to work with Sweaty Betty and always love the work you do for us. What made you take on GlamCorner as a client in the first place?
What was interesting with GlamCorner was that it was unique! I had only seen a very few other dress hire companies and no one had really invested in it the way GlamCorner had. It was more like a side hobby made up of a very small collection. GlamCorner as a brand came in and it was all guns blazing, you were there and you were going to deliver on it! I like that because it was like me. When I started I was like it’s now or never.
Also I didn’t have any experience in tech as I was predominantly fashion PR at that time. What GlamCorner brought was fashion and tech together which was really where the world was going. That was years ago so you were well ahead of your time. Everything from the delivery, the speed to the imagery and even the website you were very advanced and it was a serious operation. One of the most important things I think in business is to continue evolving. Yes, GlamCorner is doing incredibly well but unless you continue to update your collections, improve your technology and improve your customer service you plateau and you can’t continue growing.
Image source: instagram.com
What are your thoughts on fashion rental?
For me it’s exciting! Fashion rental has become huge and I think we can thank Instagram and Social Media for that. I know that if I’ve worn one particular outfit once I certainly don’t want to be wearing it again because then people will be like but she wore that on Instagram two weeks ago. Fashion rental has changed that and now there is absolutely no need to be caught in the same garment twice. Not everyone has four, five, six or even seven hundred dollars to spend on that special playsuit from Alice McCall or Nicholas The Label.
Now they can because at rental prices they’ve got the opportunity to look fabulous all the time at a fraction of the cost. I mean I do it, I’ve had more comments for instance from a floral Nicholas The Label dress than I have in a Dior number, and I actually had to buy the Dior number outright. I think we can thank Social Media immensely for the fact that we now want to change up our looks all the time because fashion changes all the time, so who wants to spend $500 on a garment you may wear three or four times through a season when you can get four garments for that price. For more videos interviews from our Women Who Lead Series click here.
“I love wearing anything that will take me from day to night, it takes away the stress of finding two separate outfits. I always go for a nice print or something that adds an extra dimension to the outfit, to show off a little bit of my personality.” Roxy Jacenko
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