NAME: Priscila Martinez
COMPANY: The Brand Agency
TITLE(S): CEO, Founder
How would you describe yourself in 5 words? Constantly in pursuit of improvement. This applies to all areas of life, family, friends, work.
What is the long version of how you got to where you are today? I started my career in PR about a decade ago. My first job out of college was in the corporate world, and involved a lot of spreadsheets. I would get home, red-eyed, complaining about my day. My roommate at the time was in PR and she would get home with armloads of free clothing and premiere invites (little did I know that was NOT what the job is, AT ALL!). I thought that I was on the wrong side of the equation and decided to start looking for PR jobs. I finally landed something worthwhile and was able to work under a fantastic mentor at the largest privately owned PR firm in the States. I was able to work with, and service dream accounts and eventually secured new clients. After a couple of years under that umbrella, I started feeling an itch to set up my own shop. My father has always been an entrepreneur and from a young age encouraged me to follow that path. About two years ago I took the leap and started my own firm, The Brand Agency. Since then, I’ve been running this boutique PR firm in Beverly Hills and working alongside a fantastic group of females (and one gent!). We service clients in the fashion, beauty, hospitality and lifestyle sectors. I’m amazed (and proud!) of the growth we experience every day. I hope to be doing this for many years to come.
I think it is really important people can explain their main message in a concise paragraph – if the above is the full version - What is your elevator pitch on what you do? I’m a marketing and public relations professional based in Beverly Hills where I run my firm, The Brand Agency. I’m an expert in the fashion, beauty and lifestyle sectors and have serviced a variety of luxury and consumer clients in those spaces.
Are you doing what you thought you would be doing 10 years ago? 100%. I fell in love with PR & marketing from the earliest days in my career. I joke around that I have Stockholm syndrome (where hostages fall in love with their captor.) No matter how long the day or how rough the account, I ultimately love what I do and can’t imagine myself anywhere else.
What does ‘success’ mean to you, and do you consider yourself ‘successful’? I once heard somebody say that success is always fleeting. I believe that. I don’t consider myself 100% successful yet, there are so many milestones I want to hit. I see other women in my industry and know I have so many more places to go.
What do you still want to achieve (personally & / or professionally) Personally, I’m very lucky and I feel I’ve achieved everything I could ever want. I have a healthy, loving family and a fantastic, supportive partner. I’m also a mom to the cutest puppy you will ever meet (holler at him on insta: @Iamkingstonthedog). Professionally, I want to continue working with clients that challenge me. I also want to make sure that everybody working at The Brand Agency feels like they are growing every day.
Did you study anything specific for the career you are in? I studied Business Administration, it’s such a blanket degree so has definitely come in handy when I opened my business.
What have been the most rewarding things in your career to date? Creating a team that shows love for their work every day.
Tell us about your workspace (Office / café / couch / aesthetic) what inspires you about your workspace? We have a wonderful office space in the heart of Beverly Hills. We share a building with amazing companies like Jimmy Choo and Diane von Furstenberg, so there is always a creative feel in the air. I spend more time at my office (sadly!) than I do at my own house so I wanted to space to feel extra homey. We have a large communal area where we all gather in the morning to debrief on the night before (How was Catch? Did you see the fantastic dress she wore to that premiere?), it has a couch and a big pink neon sign with our company name. We also have a showroom where we house samples for some of our clients. My personal office inside the space has a bright pink velvet couch and a Jonathan Adler desk that was a gift from my mom. I keep a picture of my husband and I from our wedding in Mexico along with various handwritten notes I’ve received.
What are some frustrations you have experiences on your career journey? I experience frustrations every day unfortunately. Handling many clients means that there is always a ball in the air!
When was the last time you were overwhelmed & cried from something provoked by work / work load? Everyday pressures can get the best of us and I think the last time I was emotional about something was almost two months ago. I was overwhelmed thinking about a couple of work initiatives with urgent deadlines. This, coupled with a whiney dog in the car for my 1 hour commute that day put me over the edge. Thankfully I caught myself and realized that in the scheme of things, everything was ok. Yes, it had been a particularly stressful day but everything would be solved if I put my head down and got the work done.
Would you say you put pressure on yourself? Has this increased or lessened as you progress in your career? I think I’m my loudest critic. To concisely answer your question, yes, I constantly pressure myself. I find that the more my career takes off, the more I find myself applying unnecessary pressure. Nevertheless, that seems to be a double-edged sword, it’s that constant pressure that has led to great success and growth.
If you are a business owner – and you often can’t just check out / have a week off when you are dealing with personal things – how do you keep on keeping on with your business when things get tough? I’ve taken a conference call while at the beach in Tulum, I’ve also sat at a modern art museum in Mexico City talking to a client while my group continued to tour. I never imagined I would be “that woman” with earbuds in going through a call agenda instead of raising her head to look at beautiful art. But I am, sometimes. And I’ve learned to take it in stride. I keep reminding myself that all of those tiny sacrifices are a way to get closer to a larger goal.
Has your career affected your personal life / relationships? If so how? Yes, 100%. My emails are the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see before I go to bed. I can’t remember the last time I slept in, or the last time I went through a whole dinner without checking my emails.
Has your journey at times felt lonely? How? Not in the least bit. I’m lucky to be surrounded by amazing women who are just as motivated.
What causes you anxiety / sleepless nights? A better question would be what doesn’t cause me anxiety! I think I’m a naturally anxious person and when work gets hectic, many sleepless nights tend to occur. I can give you a laundry list of stressors, but they all have a common thread: I care deeply about my company and I stress trying to make sure that commitment shines through in my work.
If you had your time over again, from when you started your career to right now, would you do anything differently? No, I feel that I’ve always tried to do the best I can with the tools offered to me at any given time.
What advice would you give your 21 year old self? Don’t stress! Things will always go your way if work hard.
Who are some women in business you admire & why? Arianna Huffington (for obvious reasons) and Kris Jenner. I find it extremely fascinating how Kris Jenner has been about to build a complete brand and how she has kept everybody in that empire relevant for many years.
What traits do you admire in people you surround yourself with? Honesty, loyalty and the ability to just break down and giggle once in a while.
Work life balance… Does it exist (I don’t think it does!) and how to maintain it, or a sense of it? Nope. No such thing. Especially in the advent of smartphones, our work bleeds into our life so much that it’s hard to place boundaries. I try hard to take care of myself before the workday by waking up early to get a workout in or to mediate. Caring for myself before a crazy day helps me keep some sort of balance.
Have you ever thought about giving up / quitting? If so, does that feeling hit from the same triggers? Yes! In tech they call it the trough of sorrow, when it feels like one thing after another goes wrong. I’ve been in that place, but thankfully I have a supportive network that reminds me why I need to continue down this path, no matter how hard things get.
What is the biggest misconception about what you do? That a publicist’s job is all glamour. I’ve been on my hands and knees at 2am stuffing gift bags for an event. Sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves, no matter your title or job!
What advice would you give someone who is starting out in your industry? Remember to pay your dues. Nothing comes easily and thinking that a career will be handed to you is out of the question. Be polite, listen, be respectful and stick to a tribe that encourages you to do better every day.
If you knew what you know now, about how much work was involved to get you to where you are now, would you do it again or do something different, if so, what? It’s a tough question, I haven’t had any crazy fall out from working too much so I would definitely do it again.
I like the quote ‘Don’t just have a job, have a purpose’ - What do you want your legacy to be? I hope people remember me before they remember anything to do with my career. I want to be known as a kind, loyal person before I want to be known as a fantastic publicist. I understand we leave this earth with nothing, so I want my legacy to take place outside of my career.
The SAMANTHA WILLS FOUNDATION is about bringing women in business together – why do you think this is important / (why did you want to be involved in this interview)? Women in my age group still wrestle with traditional female roles while simultaneously making tough career choices. There is so much guilt associated with delaying marriage or a family, so much guilt associated with spending too much time at work, away from home and/or family. I think women need to reassure each other that we shouldn’t feel this guilt, that life isn’t “either/or.” That we can chose our career over our traditional roles and be happy with that decision.
What are some of your favorite quotes? “Pies para que los quiero si tengo alas para volar.” It’s a quote from Frida Kahlo, when she was bed ridden & paralyzed after her accident. In English, it reads “Why do I need feet if I have wings to fly.” I think it shows how strong her will was, that although she was unable to use her legs, she looked beyond that to better her situation.