Tell me a little bit about yourself. What’s your background/career path?
I’m Anna 38. Married. 2 boys, 5 and 2. I was hired by Dave Trott in 2001 as a creative (Art director) at WTCS from our placement straight out of Bucks College. We were an all female creative team, which at the time was not that common. I worked my way up, got more responsibility along the way, ran pitches and was lucky enough to have Dave as my champion. We underwent a couple of mergers, finally becoming ‘The Gate’. My eldest son was born in 2012, when I was a Creative Director. I returned to work in 2013 4 days a week and still ran certain accounts but found creativity was slowly being driven out of the business. Fast forward to a return to work in 2015 after the birth of my second son and it felt like it was time for a new challenge…
Tell me about your agency. What is it you do and what prompted you to start up your own?
… which lead me to resign and leave in December 2016. A lack of doing the things I loved combined with a lack of communication and childcare costs that practically outweighed income
resulted in my resignation… which lead to my husband resigning his ECD position and us taking a leap into the unknown with Tiny Industry. We have created Tiny with a desire to return to a more creative approach, with data informing not dictating output, as we were both increasingly beginning to find.
What do you think the are most important issues for developing your company culture?
At the minute, we’re super small so our culture is maybe more of an ethos as we deal with others. But we believe in honesty, openness and generally being nice to others. We would see this as an attitude that pervade all that work with us, as we think there are plenty of really talented people that are nice, so we don’t need to deal or employ those that are talented but rude.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a women in business?
As a business owner, none currently, but I feel the problems arise on the journey to becoming an owner. I believe having a family impacted me career-wise – in an industry where long hours etc are the norm, suddenly needing to leave at 5pm (no matter if you work until 11pm at home) feels alien and uncomfortable. The meeting that over-runs or gets scheduled at the end of the day etc all give an uncomfortable knot in the stomach and a problem to overcome (along with childcare costs). And this is in a world where clients are more demanding, not less. We live in a society where someone can deliver a meal from your favourite restaurant to your door, so clients expect feedback etc to be responded to quicker than ever, with the ‘always on’ culture running through agencies as they attempt to fight off the competition with increasingly smaller and stretched budgets.
The Wow Company’s recent survey of 471 agency owners across the UK has the figures as Female 27% – Male 73%. Can you share your thoughts on this?
It doesn’t surprise me. And I feel it probably reflects all companies and not just agencies. But as ways of working begin to change I feel this is an opportunity for small agencies with female founders to prosper.
Do you have a mentor, or are you a member of an agency owner community?
Not currently. We’re only a couple of months old.
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?
Too early to comment on this.
What other female founders inspire you?
Amanda Walsh was the first female leader I encountered as I began my career, so she sticks in my mind. Helen Calcraft would be another. But anyone I see running their own agency or forging a path I admire and respect – like yourself.
What do you think makes a great agency?
Great work created by great people.
What would be your one piece of advice to future female leaders?
Have a go. Don’t be afraid to take control and leap, its empowering.