Friday, August 7, 2009

Super Mum :: Stella from Little Miss Stella PR

I love celebrating the amazing things mums are doing, everywhere, every day. That's what the Super Mum series is about. So let's meet our latest cape-deserving mama.
I really do believe that having children brings you to your full potential. I think it’s the time out you take when you first have a baby — for many of us it’s the first time we have ever stepped away from our professional lives and thought about something different.
And we all know from little things big things grow so it’s not surprising that when Stella Katsaros took time away from being a TV publicist to be with her newborn son, Sam, she realised through her little man that she could do big things.
Stella, you had a baby, which in turn inspired you to start your own PR business, Little Miss Stella. Tell us how you came to this decision?
I must be honest… it was partially a decision I was forced to make. Though I’ve always entertained ideas and dreams of being my own boss, I finally took the leap when my employer refused to let me work part time after my maternity leave ended. I was quite peeved and wanted to show them that I didn’t need their job anyway… I wanted to play by my own rules! And so, Little Miss Stella Publicity & Media Relations was born.
How do you go about starting your own business from scratch?
I cannot emphasise enough the value of educating yourself, researching and preparing. I don’t understand how people can invest money, time and emotions into an idea or a business without feeling thoroughly satisfied with their homework. Do small business courses, buy books, read Internet articles, become a member of your relevant association or even do some work experience. At a very basic level you need to have a passion and belief in what you want to do, as well as a strong belief in your abilities. You need energy, conviction, guts, street savvy and support — but you also need to hold on to the vision, be thick skinned and try your best to not get discouraged.
What are the main challenges of running your own business?
For me it’s the daily struggle I feel between wanting to control and do everything but knowing that I can’t. Relinquishing that control and trusting your ‘baby’ with other people is a major challenge. Once you learn however, that outsourcing and getting the right assistance can really help you grow your business, you get to wonder how you ever did without it!
Is it harder to switch off when it’s yours?
Its almost impossible. It doesn’t help that modern technology like the Blackberry and laptops make it too easy to always be working. But, you have to step back occasionally and say to yourself that the work will still be there tomorrow. (Those who know me well will be laughing real hard right now because I probably seldom give myself that opportunity actually!)
What do you love most about Little Miss Stella?
I love that I can be my own boss, play by my own rules and live the life and have the career that I choose. I can take breaks when I want, work as hard as I need, but still give myself time and leeway to be a mum, wife and friend.
How do you handle the juggling act of being a mum and running a business?
I am blessed to have an amazing support network. My husband is very supportive and encouraging. He does what he can to make sure that I can work on Little Miss Stella — attend meetings, visit clients interstate, stay up late and do work etc. Every so often he tells me how proud he is of me and that always gives me a huge boost.
I also have the best mum in the world. Not only is she my chief babysitter but, like hubby, she bends over backwards to free up my time so I can put 110% into my business and my clients. She looks after Sam when I have a meeting, makes sure my hubby and son are OK, cleans my house, cooks food etc. I often wonder how I will ever repay her for her colossal effort.
You specialise in “nursery PR”. Who are some of your clients?
Because of the circumstances I was under when Little Miss Stella started it was a no-brainer that I would gravitate towards the nursery industry. Not surprisingly as a style conscious mummy I was keen to work with the most gorgeous baby, kids and parenting products and brands. We have been honoured to work with some amazing and innovative nursery products and brands over the past few years. Our clients include Babywedge, Petit, Joey Sling, Bosco Bear, Kalamazoo Kidz, Little Innoscents, Paper Eskimo, Hide That Spot, The Party Parlour, Yunginz and many many more. At the moment we have our biggest client list ever and we are surrounded by stylish and funky gorgeous stuff! It’s truly a pleasure to go in to work every day!
The pace of things in PR is insane these days with online media coming to the party, how do you keep up with everything?
I make a real deliberate effort to stay on top of the social media and online thing. It helps that I am addicted to Twitter and Facebook and am pretty savvy with regards to websites and blogs. As a public relations provider I can’t afford to not be up with these trends because they are now an integral part of any PR campaign. The traditional ways of approaching the media and communicating with the public has changed. If I didn’t get up to speed with all of this I wouldn’t be able to do my job properly and my clients would miss out. That would be my worst nightmare. So, I’m constantly attending seminars and courses to help in this area, but I also find that just spending time online, communicating with other PRs and similar businesses and learning how they do things has also proven to be very constructive and helpful.
What are your favourite magazines?
Magazines are my drugs so this is a very loaded question to be asking Little Miss Stella! Sorry for being predictable, but at the moment I am a huge Vogue fan. Just like Carrie Bradshaw I like to keep them and cherish them and read them when I need a pick me up. I buy UK, US and Australian Vogue every month without fail. I’ve also been a huge fan of Real Living (the ACP interiors mag) from the very first issue because I love the way I can escape to a decluttered, organised and beautiful space without too much fuss or effort!
And your favourite blogs?
Not surprisingly I love Girl With A Satchel — its all about the world of magazines, so is another place I can indulge in the magic and glamour of glossies. It’s good too because Erica buys all the magazines and I don’t have to!
I also have an unhealthy obsession and true love for interiors and style so other top blogs for me include The Sartorialist, Coco+Kelley, Karen Cheng’s Snippets of Life, apartment therapy and ohdeedoh. I’ve also just discovered FANTASTIC!
What’s your grand plan for Little Miss Stella?
Happiness and making a difference. I don’t want to make a gajillion dollars. I just want to be happy and I want my boys to be proud of me. I want to know within myself that I gave it my bloody best.
What’s your advice to anyone wanting to start their own business?
Spend time figuring out how to work smart. Hard work is essential, yes, but speak to successful business people you admire and aspire to and ask them how you can work smarter, not necessarily harder. And remember that you have to spend money to make money. There’s no way around it.
Head on over to Little Miss Stella for more info on the fabulous and very talented Stella and to check out her lovely clients. And if you need PR, she is so your woman!

Nominate a Super Mum you know (yes, it can totally be the very super YOU) to be interviewed here. Email me: contact[dot]mumspace[at]gmail[dot]com.


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