Incognito: Roxy Jacenko
...success has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with how hard you’re willing to work for it - Roxy Jacenko
When it comes to PR innovators the name Roxy Jacenko stands as a queen amongst kings. Cliché? Perhaps. However for anyone who has followed Jacenko’s career there is no denying that her brand, both business and personal, has enjoyed a rapid accent to success. Having founded Sydney based PR agency Sweaty Betty over a decade ago, Roxy first caught the nation’s attention as the unapologetic and fierce contestant during season 3 of Celebrity Apprentice. While those more accustomed to sitting on the sidelines were swift to label the PR powerhouse as ruthless, she concurrently encouraged a new wave of devotees and girl bosses who looked to follow in Jacenko’s footsteps.
Love her or hate her, because what success story would be complete without some divided opinions, there is no denying Roxy Jacenko is a force to be reckoned with. In today’s rapidly changing PR landscape where you are only as good as your last client or idea, Jacenko has not merely survived but has paved the way for a plethora of agencies to follow suit. Back in 2012, while many of us were still grappling with #how #to #hashtag, Jacenko was forming her very own talent agency, MINISTRY OF TALENT, now home to some of the nation’s most sought after digital creative talent and bloggers.
She is also the author of three successful novels and the co owner of Pixie’s Bows, a company Roxy owns with her four-year-old daughter Pixie Curtis. The source of much controversy in recent times, the PR maven’s decision to promote her daughter’s life and success on Instagram has divided opinions. In an age where people share daily routines, from what they had for breakfast to their child’s every milestone, it could be argued the sheer success of Pixie’s Bows is what makes so many people uncomfortable. Because let’s face it, what does one think when a four year old run’s an empire greater than their own.
At the centre of it all, however, is a devoted wife and mother who has long learnt the importance of a thick skin and staying on course. Email Roxy at 1am and you are sure to receive a reply within the hour. Because this PR queen knows that at the very core of staying ahead is a fierce work ethic. Having been inspired by Roxy’s approach to business since we first saw her step into the Apprentice Office, Birkin in hand, we knew we had to know more.
Here we go behind the scenes with Roxy Jacenko.
Where did you begin your career?
I started my career working as the receptionist for clothing label Diesel. The in-house PR position became available, and I jumped at the chance to learn something new. I was thrown in the deep-end, I had no experience whatsoever in PR.
What attracted you to PR and stepping out on your own?
After just a few months in the in-house PR position at Diesel, I started to get some great coverage for the brand. I think it was my lack of formal training that led me to think creatively, so my tactics were new and fresh. After just 4 months I realised I had a natural talent for PR and I really enjoyed the work. So at 24 years of age I decided to start Sweaty Betty PR!
You still appear very much hands on in the work that you do. Can you describe a typical day in the life of Roxy Jacenko?
I pride myself on being the owner that is as hands on as any of the staff. I just like to get stuck in and get on with it – whatever the task may be. There is no typical day for me, that’s the very nature of PR and part of the reason I love it! However, if I could attempt to describe a typical day it could include any of the following; checking emails first thing before looking after my young family and then getting out the door and into the office, client meetings, site visits, helping to prep media kits and always more emails. These days I try and make sure I spend some time with my family of an evening, before jumping back on the emails for round two once the kids are in bed.
What has been the most rewarding project you have worked on?
It would honestly be impossible to say! Over the years we have worked with so many wonderful clients and created so many memorable campaigns and events, they have all been equally rewarding in their own way. I never stop getting a kick out of getting great results for our clients and that’s what drives me to this day.
What is the most challenging part of your job and how do you address this?
The most challenging aspect of my job is constantly driving the business. As the owner of both Sweaty Betty PR and The Ministry of Talent I’m hands on each and every single day. I believe you’ve got to lead by example and be there for your team – no matter what. This means constantly being across what’s going on with each and every client. This is a choice I’ve made, but it goes without saying it means I can never 100% switch off and it involves 12 plus hour days each and every single day. That’s the life of a business owner, but if you want to be successful I believe that’s what it takes. Being with my family and 2 small children help me to keep some kind of balance and I love the time I spend with them every day.
How is your role evolving and what are the forces driving this change?
The very nature of PR is that it is always evolving. For example, when I started Sweaty Betty PR, the very idea of social media influencers was unheard of. Now it is a major part of the industry. My role evolves as the PR landscape evolves and the agency evolves as a result. We’ve constantly got to have our finger on the pulse of what is new and what is next – you can’t afford to rest on your laurels. Without doubt the biggest driving force of the change is digital media. News is 24/7 and as a result that’s how we need to think as PR professionals. I’m always looking abroad, researching the new and the next and coming up with unique ideas for clients. In that sense I ensure that my role is constantly evolving, growing and changing with the times.
You are widely recognised as one of the first Australian representatives of fashion bloggers and creative talent. How did this come about?
Several years ago I started to notice the trend of social media influencers and the incredible power they had as ‘media’ in their own right. I saw a gap in their management as many were inundated with requests from brands and companies and they weren’t able to effectively manage this. I decided this was a gap I could fill by offering a one-of-a-kind digital influencer and creative talent management agency and The Ministry of Talent was born.
How does one remain relevant in a constantly changing social media landscape?
I think it’s important to stay on top of trends, while at the same time keeping true to your unique voice. At the moment, Instagram is the social media platform with the most digital pull and where most of the focus is. This could easily change. So it’s vital to keep an eye on any changes in the industry and anticipate the next big thing. That being said, I think in order to stay relevant in a constantly changing social media landscape one needs to stay true to their unique voice and style, ensuring they are offering their audience a one-of-a-kind point of view or experience.
If you could offer one piece of advice to young entrepreneurial women it would be:
No matter what industry you’re in, if you’ve got a dream and a gut feeling about what will be successful go for it! Once you commit to your idea give it 250% every single day – success has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with how hard you’re willing to work for it.
Where will we find Roxy in 5 years?
Who knows!? I’m not one for planning and overthinking. I don’t have to-do lists, I just do. If an opportunity presents itself and it feels right at the time, I go for it. I could never have anticipated where things would be today if you’d asked me when started Sweaty Betty PR. You can be guaranteed that whatever I’m doing I won’t be taking it easy, relaxation is not for me!