My latest #BossBabe is a fellow PR girl, content writer and an amazing events organiser from Leicester. She’s turned a website that’s all about the goings on in our wonderful city into a fully blown company that deals with all kinds of clients across all kinds of industries, from food and drink to more. She’s inspirational because she took a chance and did her own thing, and it clearly works, as she has a queue of new and established local lifestyle brands wanting to work with her. So without further ado, let me introduce you to Gabby Miller.
Tell me a little bit about your background…
I actually studied law and criminology at university doing my undergraduate degree at Leeds and then moving down to London to do my MA at King’s College. Whilst at uni I got involved with the student newspaper, interviewing bands, reviewing albums and gigs and when I moved to London I used it as an opportunity to get entertainment, writing and PR experience anywhere that would have me, from Top of the Pops Magazine to the Outside Organisation. Building on my various work experience and completely ditching the law route I moved back to Leicester to take on a PR role at a concert venue and continued to do my freelance music writing on the side.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and Cool As Group.
It all started through setting up the website Cool As Leicester (www.coolasleicester.co.uk). Through working in PR in Leicester and seeing the coverage available I wanted to fill a gap that I thought existed at the time in terms of online content for what’s happening in the city. After establishing the website and building a bit of a following, coupled with my work experience, it led me to secure some freelance PR work and enough interest from clients to expand into Cool As Publicity as a full time job move. Now I work with clients across food & drink, leisure, music, sport and more.
What’s the best thing about your job, and why?
In terms of the PR it’s always such a kick to secure good, relevant coverage for your clients. Whether it’s getting a client’s product into the Christmas Gift Guide of a national newspaper, or landing that all important radio or TV interview. When organising launch events for bars and restaurants it’s lovely to see the reaction of guests when they first come in and how the launch helps the business to boost their customer base. Or, when working on music festival PR accounts, seeing the event packed out and everyone having a great time, that’s when it really pays off.
I’m also really lucky that the Leicester based PR work that I do now often goes hand in hand with running the Cool As Leicester website. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and interview some of my favourite artists, from Gary Barlow to Frank Turner and do plenty of fun things that I can somehow pass off as work.
What’s the most difficult part about your job, and why?
I’d say probably managing your time efficiently is a difficult aspect for anyone that works for themselves.
What do you think sets you aside from your competition?
I always try not to see people as competition, I think there’s space for everyone to succeed and there are some other great PR companies about. Due to my background experience I’ve focused on the leisure and entertainment sectors and I’d say specialising in that is one of my strongest selling points. I don’t try to be all things to all men, but just be good at what I do in my field, keep learning and be kind, always!
What are you most proud of about your job?
I’m really proud of some of the national coverage that has been secured for clients with pieces in the likes of Cosmopolitan, Elle, The Sun, Mail on Sunday, Metro and more. I’m also still always amazed when someone who’s not one of my best friends tells me that they read Cool As Leicester.
Who or what inspires you?
I love the story about Meryl Streep when she auditioned for King Kong. She was quoted as saying, “I was told I was too ugly for the part. This was a pivotal moment for me. This one rogue opinion could derail my dreams of becoming an actress or force me to pull myself up by the boot straps and believe in myself. I took a deep breath and said “I’m sorry you think I’m too ugly for your film but you’re just one opinion in a see of thousands and I’m off to find a kinder tide.” Today I have 18 Academy Awards.” Why do I find it inspirational? I think it’s just about believing in yourself no matter what setbacks you encounter.
What trends are you loving this season, and why?
Apparently white shirt dresses are back in, which I’m all for. A nice look to see you through the work day and into after work drinks during the summer.
If you could impart some wisdom to your fifteen year old self, what would you say?
I’d probably tell myself “Worrying doesn’t solve anything. All it does it steal your happiness and keep you very busy doing nothing.” Seriously. Just stop worrying about everything. It’ll all work out!
What’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you, and who gave it to you?
When I first started working for myself my Dad said “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or end.” Everyone has to start somewhere and it’s easy to compare what you’re doing to other people or businesses, especially in the beginning, thinking I wish I had that contract or client and feeling down about it. The best thing to do is focus on building your own brand and then one day you will get that client!
If someone wanted to follow in your career path, what advice would you give to them?
The rise of blogging has given such a great opportunity for people to create their own space and profile on the internet. The more you write the better you’ll get and it can also open up so many connections and opportunities. In terms of PR it’s all about getting yourself out there. I don’t believe that you need a degree in PR to be good at it but you do need to be passionate and get as much experience as you can. You need to enjoy talking to people, you need to understand your clients, understand the changing media landscape and you need to be willing to work ridiculous hours.
Describe to me your perfect work day!
When you work in PR there’s certainly no typical work day, but a perfect work day would probably go something like:
Get up early to reply to any outstanding emails before the work day begins.
Go on the extremely underused rowing machine because apparently exercise helps get you focused for the day (this is a “perfect work day” remember, not a typical one)
If I set up any meetings I’ll usually try to have them in the morning so that I can action anything that comes up from them during the afternoon. So I’d most likely head into town for a meeting before lunch and then grab lunch at one of Leicester’s fabulous independent eateries, which will no doubt involve plenty of Instagram photos.
Ideally I like to keep my afternoons clear to work on client accounts and new business development and the evening could be anything from running a launch event, reviewing a new restaurant or just taking some time to chill at home.
When you’re not busy working, how do you relax?
The funny thing about working for yourself is that it’s so hard to separate work and free time but luckily some of the things I get to class as work are also pretty enjoyable! When I do take some time out I’ll usually spend it dog walking, drinking coffee, listening to music, going to the football and just spending time with my favourite people. The Summer’s coming up too so I’ll make some time to get to a couple of music festivals!
What’s your favourite drink/cocktail?
That’s an easy one… Espresso Martini.
What music do you listen to when you really need to get stuff done!?
I often tend to zone out when I’m working so don’t always have music on during the day, but generally my taste is pretty eclectic, it could be anything from Foo Fighters to The Beach Boys.
Who would you like to work with, if anyone, and why?
There are a number of people and businesses on my “dream PR client” list. I try to do something each week to get me closer to one day securing them! At the start of 2017 I set myself 3 main national client targets and as it stands I’ve secured 1 of them, so it certainly helps to set those targets early on.
I’d also cut off my left arm to be able to interview Jennifer Aniston.
What’s coming up for you?
I’m currently working on a few different projects, both nationally and locally, which is keeping me very busy! I’m also doing some freelance PR work for a London based agency working across sport and leisure, which has provided some great accounts to get stuck into. On a local level, we’re currently organizing some great Leicester based events which we’ll have more info on very soon!