Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I’m Angela Prentner-Smith, I founded This is Milk originally in 2013, with Gillian Souter, but due to life events we paused the venture and I restarted it in 2015 after I had my baby and came off maternity leave. I’m now the Managing Director, and work with Nicky Logue, our Marketing Director. Gillian is now the Non Exec Director.
I live in Glasgow with my husband and 3 year old boy, but am originally Canadian. I ran away from home at 15, all the way to the UK. I had a few years of being unsettled in different parts of the country before settling in Glasgow to do my degree. I graduated back in 2010 in History of Art.
What’s your background/career path?
While I studied, I worked at Student Loans Company, and on a part time basis managed to work my way from collections agent through a customer services team manager, so once I graduated I got a full time job as a team manager. I had done a module on Multimedia Analysis and Design in my final degree year, and not long after graduation a job for an eBusiness Analyst came up in the company. I applied and got it.
I spent a few years working in that role, before the option came up to take voluntary redundancy. Which I took. I then took a number of roles working on large transformation, innovation and digital projects in Scottish Power, National Australia Bank, Tesco Bank, and lastly Barclays Wealth.
My roles were all project based, and I did everything from scope, vision and design, UX, communications, policy right through to launch, implementation and management.
My last project involved working on a huge, visionary digital transformation of a Stockbroking business.
Tell me about your agency. What is it you do and what prompted you to start up your own?
We are a delivery partner for agencies, public and private sector organisations to provide them with the resource they need and provide launch services to start up. We do a lot of branding and strategy work, but our core focus is customer experience.
Gillian and I started the business because we were sick of working on projects that were over complicated and not customer-focussed. And we wanted to bring our skills to new markets.
What do you think the are most important issues for developing your company culture?
Openness, transparency, and constant learning.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a women in business?
This is a strange one, I think to be honest it’s confidence, and that’s my own and others. Women seem to think way too much about why they aren’t good enough or shouldn’t do something. That and the ‘mum guilt’. No matter what you do you feel guilty. Work too much, too little, have 1 kid, have 2, wean early, don’t have children. All these choices and no matter what you do you feel guilty.
The Wow Company’s recent survey of 471 agency owners across the UK has the figures as Female 27% – Male 73%. Can you share you thoughts on this?
This is sad, but not unexpected. Women seem to generally be more risk averse, but I also think women have more societal pressures, and access to less funding.
Do you have a mentor, or are you a member of an agency owner community?
I have 3 business mentors, Leah Hutcheon of Appointedd, Alina Martin, CEO of Danatec and Gordon Miekle whom we were matched with by the Chambers. I’m also a member of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Association of Scottish Business Women, and the CMI.
Do you feel as a female agency founder, they offer the level of support you need? Do you need additional support that isn’t currently available?
Gosh I really don’t know, sometimes I feel there is too much support and too many voices, and to be honest if you go looking for support there is loads there.
What other female founders inspire you?
Leah and Alina are total inspirations to me, as are the WES ambassadors, but to be honest I’m inspired by anyone who had the balls to start their own business!
What do you think makes a great agency?
For us great is working out the why, and looking at the business strategy and customer before executing.
What would be your one piece of advice to future female leaders?
Trust yourself. Be brave, you are good enough and you can do this.