I first met these lovely ladies catering for high-profile beauty events before The Tape Agency was formed and am constantly inspired by their unique approach to PR and communications. Mary Kate and Camilla have a super fun outlook on the industry and I couldn’t wait to catch up with them to hear all about their latest venture.
What was your initial inspiration to start The Tape Agency?
We really wanted to work together, that was our first motivation. We also had had all these wonderful people in our lives telling us that we had this awesome network of relationships and storytelling ability and that they knew that if we did an event or party, it was going to be fun and different. That felt like something brands and people would want; a fun and different take on traditional PR and representation with storytelling at the heart, using who and what we had been taught by our brilliant mentors through the years. We were also really inspired by others who had gone before us, the AWESOME Aisle8 Communications, Liz Matthews PR, Jo Tutchener, Michelle Boon, Becky Knowles, the list of powerful women who have inspired us is endless!
What are the core values at the heart of The Tape Agency and how does this shape who and what brands you work with?
Our core values are: let’s build on the strong story of the people and brands we work with. Let’s make some money for everyone involved, let’s make some new friends on the way, let’s have fun while we do it. It really all comes down to that. If you can make a brand some money, they have the freedom to experiment and try something new. If you can build the profile of an individual their opportunities become endless. We want to make people and brand’s dreams come true.
Our core values inform who we work with because we put storytelling at the heart of all we do. Our people and our brands have to have a story to tell. It might not even be ready to tell yet, it might be the direction they want to move in in order to tell the story they want to in five years time and that is great. They have to have something that motivates them and inspires them to keep developing, and we challenge ourselves to do the same.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced since starting The Tape Agency?
One of our biggest challenges has been our own imposter syndrome. We held ourselves back from doing things in the beginning because we didn’t feel like we had the right to be in the room/at the table/on the call. But our amazing clients have shown so much faith in us, that drives us to suck that all up and just do it.
What has been the most rewarding thing about running your own business?
Honestly, everything! Knowing we are doing what we wanted to do, on our terms. Being able to be there for each other; for support, for teaching, for celebrating, has been really life-affirming because every obstacle or celebration is ours. We are so proud of everyone and every brand we work with and that feels incredible to wake up and go to work with no compromises.
From one girl boss to another, what advice would you give you other women wanting to start their own business?
If working for yourself feels like something that you want to do, don’t think too hard about it, just do it and do it with a friend. We know so many wonderful, powerful duos like Laura Jackson and Alice Levine, who show us every day that you can be friends and work together. The highs are so much higher when you get to celebrate them together with a friend.
What is your favourite part of working for yourself and as a female duo?
The freedom is a wonderful benefit of working for ourselves. We are each other’s wing woman. If one of us needs some down time or has a family commitment, we cover each other and we know our business is in safe hands.
If you travel a lot with your job, how do you balance work/home life?
We are really lucky in that I (MK) and based in Brighton and Camilla is based in London, so we have the ability to work in both the places we live. Brighton has such a fantastic network of creatives outside of London.
I love coming up to London for the day to have meetings and we always make time to sit down together to plan out the week, but our work/life balance is definitely one of the things that has benefitted from working for ourselves.
What are your future goals for both the agency and personally?
We are still in our first year so we are trying to do everything ourselves, with the help of some mega legal and accounting extensions of the Tape team, but we are really looking forward to adding to the Tape deck with new team members.
We really want to keep working with our awesome clients and brands but also be able to take on projects for other brands so we can keep extending the network and making new friends!
What do you enjoy doing to relax after a stressful day?
Now that the sun is out, I (MK) love to go for a swim in the sea with my boyfriend and then grab some dinner on the way home from one of Brighton’s awesome restaurants, La Choza is my absolute favourite.
I’m very lucky to live in the undiscovered Stepney, East London where’s there’s old carpeted pubs with roast potatoes on the bar – my favourite is Ian McKellen’s pub The Grapes; I also go for giant walks along the Thames.
Talk us through your day in food: do you have time for breakfast in the morning? What is your favourite meal?
MK: My favourite meal is definitely breakfast. Sometimes our day gets quite busy and we end up missing lunch so breakfast is key. My go-to is avocado smashed up with chilli flakes on rye toast with tabasco on the top.
CAM: I absolutely love cooking and is something I do to destress. Breakfast is bloody essential for me and I truly don’t thinks anything beats a perfectly fried egg cooked in coconut oil (not for health reasons purely because it does something AMAZING to the egg), slightly crispy on the edges on rye with marmite. I also LOVE a fad so shove anything apparently healthy all over the place from seaweed to pollen to hemp seeds you name it – i’m sprinkling it!
Where are your favourite places to eat out?
MK: I love the restaurants in Brighton, La Choza for Mexican (I know I’ve said it once already but I LOVE IT), Silo is awesome, we just went to @Ellypear’s pop up and it was delicious. I also love Baby Boo at The Pond. The pop-up scene for food in Brighton is really incredible, so much to explore!
CAM: Brasserie Zedel is an absolute firm favourite as well as Ceviche for too many Pisco Sours and fish and My Neighbours the Dumplings in Hackney for the best pot sticker dumpling on the planet. A brill recommendation from my mate Alice Levine.
If we came over for dinner, what would you serve us?
MK: That is a tough one, I am not a great cook but I love food. I think we would have to go out, but I promise we would go somewhere delicious and it would definitely involve Padron peppers!
CAM: I’d make ceviche to start then something everyone can get involved with and their sleeves dirty like tacos or something.
Are there any specific ingredients/foods you couldn’t live without?
MK: Sriracha, Tabasco and salt. I put those things on pretty much everything!
CAM: Eggs, anchovies, butter!