Rochelle White established her PR agency in 2015 whilst trying to break into the fashion industry. She found that she initially struggled due to her lack of contacts so whilst working full-time she cleverly decided to freelance and build her portfolio of clients. This was the beginning of her journey as a business owner.
With a range of tailored services available, Rochelle White PR offers:
- Public relations
- Product placement
- Product photography
- Fashion styling
- Brand collaborations
- Launching campaigns
- Brand representations
- Digital PR and social media campaigns
- Press days
- Talent Management
She has over 8 years of experience in marketing & PR and 6 years within the hair and beauty industry, placing her in a good position to work with clients and help them develop their brands. We had the opportunity to chat to Rochelle about her journey as a female business owner, and we found that her attitude towards business made her perfect for the #WomenInSMEs campaign.
1. Hi Rochelle, it’s great to chat – can you tell us a bit more about your business?
We are a boutique consumer and lifestyle PR agency that specialise within the hair, beauty, fashion, fitness, health and well-being sectors. We help brands build their brand narrative and tell their story. We have launched brands in various markets including the UK, Europe and USA and our clients have been seen in various national and international titles such as Vogue Cz, Cosmo and Maria Claire. We have the look, feel and results of a London agency but without the price tag.
2. Why did you start your business; can you tell us more about the journey?
My business was started while working full time at a marketing agency. I had no intention of starting an actual agency. I had worked for many different industries and brands such as Skoda, VW, The Foreign and Commonwealth office and GSK brands. I knew I wanted to do something that I was really interested in and had a passion for. I wanted to use my degree, various qualifications (beautician, hairdresser and fashion stylist) and knowledge from various jobs to get into the fashion industry. When I started to go to interviews, I was always greeted with the same response that I had good experience but lacked contacts. So, I thought I would freelance alongside my job to build them. I started off helping people I knew with their social media within beauty and barbering and had success at growing their brand awareness.
I then helped one of those clients launch at Salon international with a great response and I got a big buzz from that. I then took the time to create an Instagram and Twitter page to try and build my own audience, contacts and brand awareness to get more freelance work/ projects. This started to work and I gained my first fashion client via Twitter. As I was a contractor working full time, it was easy to fit it all in. I started to place in magazines like OK!, Daily Mail, The Daily Star and collaborate with magazines and brands such as Grazia and Carnaby Street. While working my last full-time contract role, I gained a few more clients and freelanced for other PRs.
As time went on, I started to build up my portfolio and database. My last day came at my contract role and I couldn't find another job that would start straight away, so I just focused on my freelance clients as I knew my next contract role would come soon… that never really happened. After spending over a year freelancing and working with other PRs, I wanted to take on and do more and so I ended working with them and focused on building a team/agency and that is how Rochelle White PR was born.
When starting my business, I had a vision for it to be an agency that cared about its clients and really took the time to understand what their needs are, treat them as individuals and take the time to care. It was so important to me to have family feels and make each client feel appreciated. It was never about being the best or having the biggest number of clients, but delivering on what we say we were going to do, building a great partnership and helping brands gain traction, be seen and join them on this journey - that is one of our biggest ethos as a company.
3. What have been your greatest successes and challenges to date?
One of my biggest successes would be the fact that I have managed to keep a business going and heading into its fourth year, that is an achievement within itself. It has also been the fact that we have helped our clients see an increase of brand awareness and in some cases a ROI. We have helped our clients get placed in international publications such as Vogue Cz, Instyle USA and UK/ European titles like Cosmo, Grazia, Daily Mail, Mail Online and Stylist to name a few.
The biggest challenges have just been business in itself. I have been a business owner before, which was a small beauty business while at university and after, but to be a ‘proper business owner’ of an agency was a different ball game. I had no idea what I was doing or even how to grow an agency. I just winged it freelancing and pretty much have done the same with the agency (which I sort of do and don’t do anymore haha). I love taking a risk and saying ‘F**k it’ and seeing what happens. I have had to learn a lot in a short space of time.
From deciding what type of clients I want to represent, to finding the right staff/ freelancers to work with, understanding the numbers, being clear on services and offerings - it has all been a massive learning curve. All I knew was that I wanted to work for myself and build a great business with little or no experience in doing so. That has been a massive learning curve and challenge. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone, to do more and become a better business owner in the process.
4. What would be your biggest piece of advice to female entrepreneurs just starting out in business?
Not all women in business are mean or b*tches, but also not every woman in business is a friend. I would say just be aware of who you want in your network and who to be connected with in business. I have made mistakes but it helped me to determine they type of women I want to have either in my network or who I want to work with. Don’t be afraid to take risks and sometimes be ballsy. Don’t take no for an answer and don’t let anyone tell you that your business is not a good one (you know, unless it isn’t). Having a good support system is key, so whether that is friends, family, business mentors, coaches or even networking groups -surround yourself with positive people who not only believe in you, but more importantly your business. No matter what area or industry you’re in there will always be someone who will want to bring you down.
Stay focused, learn from your mistakes, take criticism and use it as a positive and don’t let negative people effect what you do. Having confidence and a clear vision or goal is key. It has been a challenge that has pushed me out of my comfort zone, pushed me to do more and become a better business owner in the process.
5. Why were you drawn to the campaign, can you offer a comment on why you think it's important?
I was actually told about this via my staff member Katy. She has seen me through my journey and thought I would be a good fit. After reading through the questions I wanted to get involved. I enjoy supporting anyone in business or even thinking of starting a business because its f**king hard.
There are more people out there that will question what you do and ask ‘why do you want to start a business?’. I want to champion anyone thinking of starting a business and show love and support. There is nothing that women can’t do and with so many negative stigmas about women in business or women who have roles of power or decision making, I want to help be part of changing the face of that. I think that it is massively underrated the amount of successful businesses that are run by women and it is not celebrated enough.
I am proud to say that my business is 100% me. I have learnt and still am learning so much. I have built a great network of women and try to support as many as possible. Yes, there will always be b**ches, negative Nancy’s and women who want to bring you down but on the flip side of that, there are many women who are helping build each other up.
I am proud to be a strong, confident business owner. I am firm but fair, but also have the balls to stand up and challenge the status quo.