Jennifer Robertson - "How I started Spey"
Here's a quick peak at the BQ Magazine interview:
Tell us about your business, what does it do?
Spey is an independent full service progressive creative communications for a digital age.
We provide strategic counsel backed-up with powerful creative muscle. Nothing we create is off the shelf.
Our principal markets are food and drink, creative industries, tourism and hospitality. Our home in Moray Speyside is the springboard for our business, but we service clients across Scotland and the UK.
What did you do before you started this business?
Formerly I was Head of PR for Scotland’s referendum campaign, Special Adviser to the First Minister of Scotland and a spokesperson, Associate Director at Weber Shandwick Scotland, as well as former columnist for the Scotsman, Courier and Scotland on Sunday.
With extensive experience across food and drink brands in particular working with clients such as Malt Whisky Trail, Jim Beam, Loch Fyne Oysters Edinburgh Gin, Harviestoun Brewery, Drygate Brewery and Brown-Forman
What inspired you to start up?
I decided to establish a creative communications agency in Aberlour because Moray Speyside is the heartland of Scotch malt whisky, an area widely recognised as a global luxury goods hub and home to half of Scotland's Walpole registered companies. I moved to the area in 2015 and after commuting down the A9 to Edinburgh to work as a director of a food and drink PR agency for almost a year, I quickly realised that the heart of food and drink in Scotland was on my own doorstep.
Time’s have changed and what’s important is that agencies are connected to the areas they operate, not where their office is. Spey is proving that local can be global whilst providing jobs and opportunities where there wasn’t before. My vision is for a progressive, creative business which retains and attracts talent to a beautiful yet rural area and captures and supports the growth of a growing confidence in Moray Speyside which is rich in industry, talent and natural resources.
Where do you get advice, support or help?
I have a mentor as part of the Women Enterprise Scotland mentoring programme, who is Petra Wetzel, founder and Managing Director of WEST Brewery in Glasgow. She provides great advice and is a leader in her field so an honour to have her as my mentor.
Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?
I didn’t! All I started with was my ideas, energy and ambition.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Winning the UK account for Brown-Forman’s three Scotch brands in April, beating some of the UK’s top agencies.
What’s it like to be your own boss?
Rewarding and challenging in equal measure!
Where do you see your business in 5 years time?
One of Scotland’s top creative communications agencies recognised for its cutting edge work which makes a creative point of difference, with the heads of my team seen as leaders in their field.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don’t drive looking in the rear view mirror.
What it's like interning for a PR company
At SPEY, we’re passionate about providing career opportunities for young people and retaining talent in rural communities, proving you don’t have to move to a big city to have a career in communications. Our intern Frankie, a Speyside local, writes about what she’s learned so far during her time here at SPEY.