Betty + Bee | Creative Consultancy, OwnersSunday, 24 January 2016
I met 'Betty and Bee' at London Fashion Week a few season ago, where we bonded over fashion. Of course I had to ask them to take part in kick-ass careers!
Introduce yourself and what you do...
Betty: Hiyas! We’re Betty & Bee and we have a small creative consultancy based in Glasgow, Scotland.
Bee: We set up shop in 2013 after years of working in events, retail and fashion with a focus on promoting and supporting small independent brands.
What steps did you take to secure your dream career?
Betty: Really, it all started after a terrible work week and a LOT of wine! We always knew we were going to work together in some capacity after meeting through our blogs at Social Media Week. We both had our degrees and were working in and around the events and PR industries, but there was a gap for that affordable platform for independent design that we loved so much. We knew there had to be something there and after signing our first few contracts we knew there was! For me qualifications or experience don’t make the person, it’s passion and drive that will really take you where you want to go.
Bee: Like all great business stories it started over a bottle of wine. We’re lucky to know so many talented people working within the Scottish fashion industry and time and time again they came to us with the same problems. An affordable flexible PR did not exist. Micro - business needed to be able to pivot and an agency that could move with them didn’t exist. So we set up Betty and Bee. We sat down and focused on what we really wanted to achieve, what we had done so far and wrote up a business plan. We asked everyone we knew for advice. We researched, did focus groups (ie all our friends), went to training days until we had a clear idea of who we were and what we wanted to be. After that, it was all a matter of getting our first contract.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue the same career?
Betty: Take matters into your own hands and get yourself out there. The biggest problem people face while trying to get into the Fashion Industry is that they cannot get experience, especially in Scotland. Both of us made our own experience, either by creating a fashion event off our own backs, created blogs or even convinced our old bosses to give us a job that doesn’t even exist! It takes determination, a ballsy attitude and a whole lot of networking, but it’s definitely possible if you have initiative and a strong work ethic.
Bee: Focus on your strengths and keep learning. Look for the new trends that are emerging and exploit them. Work on your craft constantly. You want to be obsessed with what you do. It’s not a matter of just getting the experience and showing up in the office, you actually need to be inspired by what you’re doing and constantly keep on top of what is going on in your field.
What has been your proudest moment at work to date? (It could be past or present job)
Betty: AH! There’s so many achievements that I am ridiculously proud of. One was convincing House of Fraser to get a PR back in Scotland after not having one for 5 years. They said no to me 5 times before they changed my job title and gave me my own office area, it was my first actual job in PR over 4 years after graduating. Opening up Betty & Bee obviously was a major moment in my life, jumping ship from job security to create my dream job with one of my best friends is something that I’ll always be so proud of. Just watching some of the small indie designers on our books go from level to level because the work that we had done is the most rewarding thing ever.
Bee: Oh man! We’ve been so incredibly lucky with our client base (note: luck only comes with a fair bit of graft), so it’s hard to chose an insular moment. Seeing Blow’s glitter roots go viral is always a fun one as we went on to see some of our favourite bloggers, magazines and celebrities sharing and creating something we had built with one of our clients. Really though? Any time we get great coverage for a client and they say they see sales, knowing you’ve helped support a small business grow? There is no feeling like it.
Who or what inspires you?
Betty: Visually I am inspired by cartoons and surrealism. I love accessories shaped like household objects and anything colourful. Personally I am inspired by the woman around me, my Mum, Claire and all my other friends are such strong go getters, they make me want to be a better me everyday. But when all else fails, I turn to Dolly (Parton that is).
Bee: My friends for sure. Sheri’s ambition definitely gives me the courage I need to take risks. A real mix of writers, podcasters, personalities. I’m sure it reads like any millenials dinner party list - Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Margaret Atwood, Leandra Medine with a few wild cards thrown in. I’m a magpie for inspiration and try find it in little nuggets everywhere.
Last book you read...
Betty: I re-read Girl Boss over the holidays as well as advertising guru Paul Arden’s “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be”. These books are a must read if you want to go into any form of business, especially if like me you like the ‘no bullshit’ approach. They drill into you the kind of determination you need to succeed and explain how criticism is worth so much more than praise. If I’m having a tough day, I open these guys up for that extra push I need.
Bee: Rebecca Solnit - Men Explain Things to Me and Other Essays, Gala Darling - Radical Self Love and Sue Perkins - Spectacles. I always have two or three books go on at any time. I love to dive in to Solnit’s book of essays for a bit of brain food, and Gala Darling’s book is perfect when I need to find my mojo. I’m a bit of an autobiography junkie (Girl in a Band was one of my favourite reads of last year) and I just hoover them up.
Last album you listened to...
Betty: I listen to loads of artists everyday, but one I’m particularly enjoying right now is Tame Impala - Currents
Bee: I’m more of a playlist girl, though will occasionally go on a new music binge. Last few albums were Grimes - Art Angels and Broadcast - Tender Buttons
Mantra in life…
Betty: If you don’t ask you don’t get - never a truer word spoken.
Bee: “Do your thing and don't care if they like it.”— Tina Fey