Around this time five years ago I was waking up with an almighty leaving do hangover. As I fought off the post-Jägerbomb head spins, the realisation that I’d just quit the security of a great job to launch a PR business from scratch began to dawn.
It should have been quite frightening, but if I’m honest, it wasn’t.
I’ve always believed that when you make a big call, there’s no point dwelling on what might go wrong, or looking back wistfully. You have to just power through and make it happen.
And so I did.
Or rather, we did, as I was fortunate that my co-founder Nia Evans, and Finance Director, Peter Crouch had chosen to join me on the journey. Those early weeks and months were pretty tough: we had no clients and no staff.
We spent our time calling everyone we knew and begging favours. I was amazed how many people offered to help out. And I’ll always be especially grateful for those first few clients that took a punt on a little start-up PR agency. It reminded me that being nice to everyone you meet in life is not just the right thing to do, but makes sound business sense too.
Fast forward to today, and we’re celebrating Capella’s fifth birthday. We’re now a team of 16 talented people, privileged to work with more than 20 brands.
I’m extremely proud of the work we do. Whether it’s explaining the intricacies of a new tech start-up, campaigning for LGBT+ rights in the workplace, or fighting against school holiday hunger – storytelling is a fine way to make a living.
We’ve been shortlisted – or won – 15 awards and twice been crowned best small agency in the UK.
But the thing that gives me the most pleasure is seeing the people who work here thriving in their professional and personal lives.
Over the past year, every one of our team has earned either a promotion or a pay rise. We have two apprentices that are proving every day that a university education is not a prerequisite to a successful career in business. Among our relatively young staff we’ve seen Capella’s first marriage, an engagement, three houses bought by so-called Gen Renters, and we even have two babies on the way!
The team here works so hard day in, day out and deserves every success.
I’m so excited to see what the next five years will bring. We recently launched the ability to integrate paid media alongside our PR campaigns and this has already paid dividends for clients, most recently helping wine preservation innovation eto raise $1m in four weeks on Kickstarter. We have just added a host of amazing b2b and consumer clients who have huge ambitions and we can’t wait to tell each of their stories.
We’ll soon be looking at moving to a bigger HQ and will be welcoming new team members in the coming months.
Our goal is to double in size over the next few years. The great news is this doesn’t require a radically different strategy. We’ll continue to offer early stage companies and ambitious brands the smart consultancy and integrated, creative PR/digital services they need to get noticed, at a price point they can afford. And we’ll do it in an ethical way, with a smile on our faces.
So thank you to everyone who has been part of the Capella journey over the past five years – clients, staff, investors, journalists, and business partners. We hope you stick with us for the exciting ride ahead.
Finally, a special mention has to go to the other, less lauded, half of Team Capella. Without the support of our boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, husbands and families, none of this would be possible. We salute you all!