Today we’re talking alternative careers if you won the lottery and finding a great bunch of humans to grow your company with. Let’s jump in with Kirsty Jarvis at Luminous PR.
House of Coco: Great to meet you, Kirsty; fill us in, what’s your elevator pitch for Luminous PR?
Kirsty: Luminous PR is a tech PR agency that works with fast-growth, and innovative companies working in the technology, innovation and digital space.
HOC: And where did your journey to running Luminous PR start; what was your first job?
Kirsty: My first job was actually whilst I was at University – I was a weekend store manager for a flagship Oxford Street, London retail store. Although this is very different to what I’m doing now, it gave me my first real experience of managing a team. After that I worked for a high-end kitchen design company that supplied kitchens and furniture to the rich and famous. Again, it was nothing like my current career path, but it gave me valuable experience of working hard and the importance of confidence!
HOC: From those beginnings, how did you come to starting your own PR company?
Kirsty: Before founding Luminous I was a freelance marketing, communications and PR consultant and was already comfortable with the feeling of being responsible for generating my own work and handling clients month-to-month.
Freelancing is great, but can be lonely at times and I missed being part of something bigger. I decided to build an agency because I wanted to be part of a team of people like me, all striving towards a common goal. So, Luminous was born.
HOC: Couldn’t agree more! What is about your industry that you love?
Kirsty: Luminous is a tech specialist PR agency, so I’m lucky enough to work with some brilliant people, doing amazing things with technology. This means I’m constantly learning, and frequently inspired by companies that are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in an effort to improve our world.
Also, the work itself is exciting. Done right, a carefully planned media campaign makes a big impact for the people we work with. It’s a privilege to take that journey with a client, and incredibly rewarding to witness how the campaigns we deliver are part of helping that business to grow.
And finally, my team are just the best bunch of humans, and they make it fun showing up every day!
HOC: Who would be your dream client?
Kirsty: I could describe my dream client but pinning it down to just one brand is really hard. But my favourite type of client is one that leads me to learn something new. I’ve been working with technology businesses for a long time and I feel I have a good grasp of what is emerging.
A client that’s doing something completely new — never been done before stuff — is an absolute dream. Journalists love it, we love learning about it, and you really feel part of something exciting when you get a project that ticks those boxes.
HOC: If you weren’t doing this, what could have career plan B looked like?
Kirsty: I occasionally perform as a jazz singer, so if I won the lottery I would absolutely do a lot more of that. I’ve always been a singer and I’ve always thought that doing that is probably the thing that I love doing more than anything else. I love the fact that every performance is a one off and the creativity that comes from your soul!
I did it professionally for a while but it’s a tough career with really unsociable hours that don’t work around trying to run a PR agency. But lottery wins aside, I enjoy applying my skills and experience to help fledgeling businesses and entrepreneurs with PR challenges so if I wasn’t running Luminous PR, I would probably explore my options as a comms coach.
HOC: Your team (from your site) looks lady-heavy! What is this magic that happens when women work together?
Kirsty: It’s true that we have many fabulous women working at Luminous, but our site is currently being updated to reveal a couple of equally fabulous guys who have joined the team in the last 12 months!
PR is naturally dominated by women so I think this is part of why we have more chicks than guys. But I think we have naturally attracted more women candidates for each job role because of the way we have set up the business to support flexibility and remote working. This obviously works really well for mothers who want to continue developing their careers but equally want to be around for the important parts of their children’s days.
I’ve always been 100% in favour of creating a culture that’s as flexible as possible so we can be around family. I also know how important work/life balance is. It took a sharp focus and lots of thought about processes and connectivity to be able to get this flexible working infrastructure in place. But now that it’s getting there we’ve been able to attract some amazing talent that perhaps wouldn’t usually consider a boutique agency like Luminous, just because they want a more flexible working life. It’s a win-win really.
HOC: What are your favourite productivity hacks?
Kirsty: I sometimes find it hard to carve out enough time to work out, so I walk as much as I can. The commute to the office is 4 miles and often I will put on my trainers and walk in, listening to a book on the way, to ensure I’m not just sat on my butt all day. 4 miles sounds like a long way but it takes just over an hour and gives me time to learn from business audio books that I wouldn’t otherwise have time to read.
Investing time in ensuring that your phone, laptop, iPad, whatever is seamlessly syncing and working together properly is an absolute must for me. I am on the move a lot, so I need to know that whatever device I have with me, I can access any file, campaign folder or invoice I need.
HOC: Does work/life balance exist?
Kirsty: I believe it can, but you have to work hard at it. Life has a habit of pulling you in and before you know it, you’ve worked a 60 hour week and you’ve had no time for yourself. This is especially true if you run a business because you are always trying to keep up with everything you need to do. If you let it, work can consume every waking minute you have (and sometimes the non-waking minutes too). When it starts to affect your sleep, you have to set the balance right so I’m now pretty strict with myself about trying to keep work out of my home life, and setting habits and routines that ensure I keep up with mindfulness and fitness . Technology is great for reminding you about this.
HOC: The ’10 years ago’ challenge is all the rage on insta at the moment, what advice do you have for the 2009 you?
Kirsty: Ha! What wouldn’t I say?! The biggest thing I’ve learnt over the last 10 years is that you always achieve more than you think is possible so be brave and just get on with it. The other thing I would do is to reassure the younger me that resilience is one of her super powers. Being fearless and taking some risks isn’t as scary as she thinks because she’s pretty good at powering on no matter what is thrown at her. Not knowing this in my youth definitely held me back, and I would now tell anyone that they should back themselves if the taking a brave step leads to a future they want for themselves.
Find out more about Kirsty’s business Luminous PR here