At 24, Rosie Davies-Smith founded LFA, a lifestyle and fashion PR agency. She is also the founder of PR Dispatch the first PR platform in the UK. Rosie was a speaker at the Hive Collective Branding event in February 2019 and we recently caught up with her again to find out a little more about her.
Hive Collective: Tell us a little about yourself and your two PR businesses
Rosie Davies-Smith: I’m Rosie: northerner turned South-East Londoner and the founder of two public relations businesses. In 2017, I founded PR Dispatch - the UK’s first and only PR membership platform dedicated to the success of product-based businesses. After realising that there are so many amazing product businesses out there that can’t justify the cost of a traditional PR agency I decided to launch it.
I am also the founder and director of LFA, a lifestyle and fashion agency, so we feed information and advice from the PR agency to our brands at PR Dispatch. Through PR Dispatch we give brands contacts, support, advice and workshops that give them the confidence and skills to do their own PR and get great results for just £59 per month.
HC: Why did you want to disrupt the PR world and bring a new approach?
RDS: It started with LFA. After talking to brands and hearing their feedback from their past experiences with agencies, I realised that there was a space in the market for a PR agency that worked a little differently, that gave support and value to its clients rather than draining them. So we let go of outdated showrooms and focused our energies on targeted digital strategies instead. PR Dispatch was then created through working on LFA and realising just how many independent brands have press-worthy products but just can’t justify the expense of an agency. By using the PR knowledge and expertise of my team and myself, I created a platform that gives its members the confidence, knowledge and tools they need to DIY their own PR. We never set out to be ‘disruptive’, that was just the label that others in the industry gave us after we started to provide solutions to the issues that they had failed to fix.
HC: How have you seen your clients grow under your watch?
RDS: For PR Dispatch, the most important growth we see in our members is their confidence. We know the world of PR can seem daunting, it was to me when I first started, but by demystifying PR, giving them the right tools and creating a platform where they can ask questions to our PR experts, and to each other, we see them become more confident in talking to the press; they love their products more than anyone so when they become confident in pitching them and understanding how effective PR works, they secure great results and their brands flourish.
For LFA, how they grow is often dependent on why they come to us. For example, contemporary jewellery brand, Matthew Calvin, came to us wanting to increase their brand awareness and through a series of events and targeting key influencers, we did exactly that, seeing a 115% increase in website traffic and an audience reach of 512k through the influencer’s Instagram content.
We can’t say that there is one way in which our clients grow because we tailor how we support them to what they need; they all have different strengths so what we deliver varies too.
“I would say that my Dad has been a big role model for me. He has always run his own businesses, so from a young age, I knew that I wanted to do the same. And watching him meant that when I started LFA at 24 I knew that I could make it work.“
HC: What have been the main challenges of heading up these two businesses?
RDS: Running both alongside each other day by day. I want to give them equal time but LFA, as the slightly bigger and more established business, always comes first. Saying that I have a team that are incredible and make everything run seamlessly.
HC: Have you had any mentors or support to help you on your journey?
I don’t know about a mentor but I would say that my Dad has been a big role model for me. He has always run his own businesses, so from a young age, I knew that I wanted to do the same. And watching him meant that when I started LFA at 24 I knew that I could make it work.
For support, I think that surrounding myself with like-minded small business owners has been extremely useful for me and another key resource that we provide at PR Dispatch, not just for our members but for me too. In terms of financial support, I’m really proud to say that I have managed to set up both companies without having to seek investment. It was hard in the early days, working multiple jobs to pay the rent, but now I am so grateful that I persevered.
HC: What advice would you give yourself when you were starting out, knowing what you know now?
RDS: I would tell myself not to be afraid to grow this idea into a business. It might seem daunting but you will figure it out; you will be able to manage a team, cash flow, HR and big office expenses on your own!
HC: What are your plans for the future?
RDS: For PR Dispatch, we are focusing on spreading the word and working with even more great brands; we currently have around 120 members and want to see that number grow. We are doing more monthly workshops than ever, in London and across the country, as well as tailored events, at the request of our members, to give brands as much value as possible on the topics that are most important to them.
LFA also has some big plans. We have recently taken on some incredible brands and have doubled our team in the past year to keep up with the demand. We are also planning more events and launches than ever and are very excited to see where we’re heading.
HC: Do you have a special offer that we could pass onto our members?
Yes! We are happy to offer £59 off of a full PR Dispatch membership (1 month free), giving you access to useful contacts, advice, workshops, support and 24/7 access to our private members' group. Simply use code ‘hive2019’ at checkout.
For £30 off our Christmas Gift Guide membership, giving you a live list of contact details and deadlines for 2019’s top Christmas Gift Guides and helping give you all the tools you need to be the number one gift under the tree this year, use code ‘christmashive2019’ at checkout.
HC: Thanks for sharing so much with us Rosie.
You can find out more about PR dispatch here: