We caught up with Kirsty Jarvis, founder and CEO of boutique technology PR agency, Luminous PR. The agency’s holistic approach to comms — featuring PR, marketing, and social media — has provided tech businesses of all sizes extensive media exposure. Luminous’s clients can be seen in publications such as TechCrunch, the Financial Times, the Telegraph and BBC News. Read on to find out the inspiration behind Luminous PR, and how Kirsty balances running a business with running multiple half-marathons…
Tell us about Luminous PR: who are you and what do you do?
We’re a small PR agency with a big bite! We work with clients all over the world, delivering PR and communications campaigns in the UK media. Our clients come in all shapes and sizes, but we primarily work with tech businesses and agencies.
As well as securing media coverage for our clients, we also provide content creation, social media, and digital marketing consultancy in-house. We do this all from our two offices in London and Norwich.
How did you end up where you are now?
For the last twelve years’, I’ve lived and breathed PR. I worked as a freelance PR specialist for a number of years, before heading up the team at a London tech PR agency as a consultant. It became clear that tech businesses were my thing, and I launched a number of high-profile young businesses, including TransferWise, Housekeep and Azimo.
I founded Luminous PR five years ago and haven’t looked back!
What inspired you to found Luminous PR?
I’ve always been driven, and knew from a young age that I wanted to run my own business. During university,I had my first taste of management and running a team while working at a flagship retail store on London’s Oxford Street
As I continued my career, I was fortuitous to join some truly amazing teams along the way, which helped me recognise the value of building a strong and authentic culture. These experiences reinforced my determination to build something that could give brilliant people an inspiring platform to flourish and shine.
What differentiates Luminous from other agencies?
I deliberately built the Luminous team with a view to having as many useful skills in our toolkit as possible. We often become a trusted additional resource for our clients, helping with decisions about marketing, social media, content campaigns and even SEO planning. We know clients love this added value and it gives them greater peace of mind.
We’re also highly specialised — over 90% of our clients are tech firms, so we are unashamedly geeky about technology and innovation. While there are other tech PR agencies out there, we try to be the best that we can possibly be by setting challenges and objectives that ensure we’re always ahead of tech developments and trends.
What’s it like running a PR agency?
It never stops! I’m on the road a lot, splitting my time between the teams in our two offices. I try to be a hands-on CEO for both the team and our clients where I can. I still do a lot of client meetings, as well as meeting new prospects, and try be disciplined about networking. We also attend a lot of client events as an agency, so every week is different.
How do you look after yourself as well as your business?
I’m interested in how our physical and mental health affects performance, so I try hard to look after my brain and my body. I’m a keen runner and usually in training for something — I’ve just completed my 6th half-marathon.
However, health is not all about physical fitness. Running gives me a chance to get outside and clear my head — managing your own agency takes resilience and sometimes that break is so good for helping to come up with new ideas. I also listen to business audiobooks when I run as it’s a great way to learn and keep healthy at the same time. I’ve just finished Radical Candor by Kim Scott.
What’s your secret weapon?
I’m a member of a leadership group called Vistage, which has been an amazing investment for the business. It provides me with a brilliant mentor and a support group of amazing world-class entrepreneurs that give me a forum to bounce ideas off.
Having good people around me — from my team to my advisors — is definitely my secret weapon.
What’s your vision for Luminous PR?
World domination! And if we don’t quite manage that, I’d like us to continue on the ambitious growth trajectory that the team and I have set for Luminous. I’d like to see the team grow, as well as take on more amazing clients and form partnerships with businesses all over the world.
Five tips for aspiring female entrepreneurs
- Push yourself: great things happen when you go beyond your comfort zone. It may feel scary, but believe in yourself and what you can achieve. But…
- Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t quite succeed — it won’t help you get any further. Pick yourself back up, and try again. And remember, you’e not superwoman.
- Never stop networking. Keep your business cards with you at all times. You never know when you’re going to bump into what could be a game-changing new contact. Believe me, I’ve met my best contacts when I least expected it.
- Never stop learning. I feel so strongly about this, it’s one of our company values. Stay humble, and never assume you know it all. You don’t, and you never will.
- Once you’ve built up an amazing network of team members, mentors, and supporters, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Leading a business doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own.