Tell me a little bit about yourself. What’s your background/career path?
Born and raised in Leicestershire I wanted to be an actress, but not talented enough for drama school and the only other thing that interested me was advertising. So, I took my three a-levels (English, Psychology & Theatre Arts) got on a train to Watford and attended the only pure advertising course that existed. Eight core areas, I was top in 4 and bottom in 4, a pattern that has been repeated many times since. I went for lots of job interviews around 1986 where the only question was “how many words a minute?” Ended up in a print room in a family run independent department store and learned Letraset, printing, ad design, typefaces, call to action, column inches, CMYK, paper stock, deadlines, working on my own, working as a team.
Received lots of calls regarding advertising and thought “I can do that” so started selling ads on the phone in 1988 for a local magazine, then newspapers, then face to face, then team leader for a small team, then training teams to sell ads, then managing teams who sold ads, then managing the whole kit & caboodle (sales, admin, creative, editorial and circulation.) Short stint at Yell where the Golden Handcuffs were awesome & awful in equal measure. Then back to regional newspapers for my final corporate role as Centre Manager plus Leaflets & Digital so when they closed the papers down I swapped the ink in my veins for zeros….
Tell me about your agency. What is it you do and what prompted you to start up your own?
Fed up of corporate bullshit & wanky managers. Fed up of unhappy clients and unfulfilled staff. Lost my Mum and had a small chunk of money that whispered, “come on then Cory, put me where your mouth is….”
I started My Mustard in 2007 selling Google Search – the only pay per click option. We looked at Yahoo but thought it massively inferior to Google (and still do). As time went on we added Facebook (meh), LinkedIn (love it) other Google products (Display, Remarketing, You Tube, Shopping, Gmail) then Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. A veritable bag of goodies to chose from.
If there is a pay per click ad option in the UK, we can set up, manage, refine & report on it. Apart from Yahoo and Bing – I have firmly placed my allegiance with the Big G – we were the first Google Premier Partner in Hertfordshire.
What do you think the are most important issues for developing your company culture?
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a women in business?
I employed women for the first ten years and balancing a family friendly business with getting the job done was sometimes hard – people’s kids always come first.
There is obviously sexism in business – there is sexism in all areas of life – but I can’t think of a time where it got in my way.
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?
Unsurprised. When I started networking I often attended events where there was less than 10% female – 10 years on and having run my own groups for 4 years, the maximum I have managed to get in a room is 30%.
I have no kids which I think is a key factor.
Most of my clients are male but I tried women only networking a) because I felt it was expected b) I am a feminist c) I wanted to see what the differences were. I wasn’t impressed – too fluffy, too lifestyle business, too girly.
Most of my clients are male – simply because there are more male business owners, decision makers – BUT my best introducers are female, and I am mindful of this.
Do you have a mentor, or are you a member of an agency owner community?
I don’t have a mentor and apart from networking groups I don’t belong to a community – I have had a business coach, I surround myself with smart people and my accountant is a great sounding board
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?
I like the sound of your group Kelly as it has the key qualities that are important to me – its serious, its collaborative, its agency focused, its monthly, its reasonably priced but costly enough to put off startups.
What other female founders inspire you?
Sue Wybrow – Popdance
Louise Towler – Indigo Tree
What do you think makes a great agency?
What would be your one piece of advice to future women leaders?
Start with the end in mind, and support other women everywhere you can.