As we draw closer to the end of a stellar year for Little Red Rooster, we caught up with founder and partner Victoria Ruffy, to reflect on her career highlights, history and advice for anyone wanting to work in the world of PR.
Hello Vic, let’s start with how you got into PR…
Weirdly, Henry and I both studied art history and both ended up in PR! I wanted to be an A&R girl or an art gallery curator but soon realised both paid me diddly squat. After selling ad space for Debretts magazine I started to apply for PR roles at agencies but was gutted to see the only way in was via unpaid internships. I lived in a flat in Wimbledon Village, so needed to pay the bills.
That lead me to take on a succession of short term jobs. One at record company West One Music and another at music magazine Sonik, until I finally got a junior PR role at Lewis PR. It was probably one of the worst years of my life but set me up to be the ball-busting girl I am today so, in a strange way, I’m glad it happened.
Next I took on my most loved PR role (apart from Little Red Rooster of course) at Cohn and Wolfe and was there for 4/5 very happy years. The company had an amazing culture and I worked with some incredibly talented people. Lots of love for that place and in particular the MD at the time Jonathan Shore.
What excites you most about your job?
As anyone who knows me will attest, I spend my life permanently excited – irritatingly so! Excited about the job I love; working in an industry that has never put up any barriers for me. And, when it did I just tore them down and I still have a job – bonus!
I work with people I love – whether that’s at the coop, with our super smart clients or with the plethora of media who I’ve built epic relationships with – some that have lasted decades. I am proud to say I’ve done this without compromising myself. Probably the reason I could probably never work for anyone else.
The PR industry is changing all the time and that keeps me forever on my toes – the learning is infinite. What gets me up in the morning are the ace brands we work with. Our client roster is something I could only have dreamed of at the start of my career.
What is your most memorable career moment?
The recent Smeg Regent Street store launch. It was an utterly incredible event with all the old guard press and loads of new faces. The Roosterettes were on fire and there are now so many of them! Henry and I did have a little “How the fuck have we done this?” moment.
Describe your happy place?
What you mean not at work? Kidding.
Either 3am spinning around a dance floor listening to the Stone Roses or more frequently these days, drag hunting on my horse Delta. I am horse mad and a bit of an adrenaline junkie so it’s the perfect match.
Describe your work wardrobe?
Er, eclectic? I hope we are asking Henry this question too! Band t-shirts, A-line skirts, ankle boots, a leather jacket or my most wonderful Valentino leopard print coat.
I have a bit of an issue with getting ‘dressed up’ and an outright aversion to ‘Ascot / wedding’ attire. I feel style is an important reflection of who you are and if that’s not aligned you won’t feel comfortable and it will affect your performance.
So, that means my dress for a pitch or an event might be a bit close to the line of what’s deemed acceptable. Hopefully with a big smile on my face and showing I can work my ass off, it no longer becomes an issue.
What makes Little Red Rooster different from other PR agencies?
The directors (Henry and I) still actually do PR. We are also super old school in that we highly value real relationships. We’d rather discuss an idea over lunch than send a press release to 5000 and hope we get a result.
LRR is tailored, we are personal and we love what we do. The two words that come up when describing us in pitches, or from clients and staff is energy and passion. If your agency can’t have and be both of these, then frankly, what’s the point?
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to work in PR?
Write the CV and covering letter of your life and send it to only the agencies you really want to work for. Spell out exactly why. And when you get there say “yes!” to everything and make as much tea as is humanly possible.
Be smart, be curious, read, research and curate your mind. Nothing is cooler than knowing your shit and making said shit happen.
What’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given?
Probably the school PE teacher who said I’d never amount to anything and would end up working in Tesco. Whenever I’ve been told “no”, I love nothing more than proving everyone wrong.