• GingerMay is a boutique PR agency based in Central London, run by founder and CEO Victoria Usher.
• From bootstrapped beginnings in 2009, juggling two children and struggling to invest in staff and structure, the business is now incredibly successful, with a £3m turnover in 2021.
• We’ll be talking to Victoria about everything from staffing and recruitment strategies to forward planning and revenue caps.
By February 2020, Victoria Usher was exhausted.
“I stood in front of my team and almost broke down; I was so tired. I said to them, ‘I don’t want to grow anymore. I actually want to reduce the size of the company by about 20%.’ I’d come to that point because it was just so tiring.”
Victoria started her boutique PR agency, GingerMay, in 2009 as a one-man consultancy. With bootstrapped beginnings and juggling two young children, she had to make several big and nerve-wracking decisions about the company’s future.
But by 2015, although successful, things were ‘slightly out of control’.
“We weren’t planning ahead enough,” she says. “That was a big mistake as we weren’t investing forwards, in structures and staffing.”
“I still had a lot of anxiety around whether or not we would have enough money in the bank to get us through. At that point, I don’t think I’d transitioned from being a consultant to a company owner, so I didn’t have the confidence to invest in things.”
She realised things needed to change structurally to lessen the chaos, including a better recruitment strategy to increase retention, but by 2020 things were still at full throttle.
As Victoria announced her decision to reduce the size of the business, Covid hit. However, it turned out to be the ‘natural breather’ the agency needed.
“While our revenues dropped for about three months to about 55% of what they should have been… it gave us a chance to look at what did and didn’t work within the business,” says Victoria.
She now stands by a three-year-plan and although things are back to full capacity, she’s also introduced a revenue cap.
“It’s a very practical reason for not getting too stretched,” she says. “I never set out to make loads of money, but actually, we’ve been highly successful and we’re really excited to be successful.”
“For 2022, we’ve got a revenue target. We could go over and above that, but it’s quite a lot of pressure on the team. We doubled our turnover one year, and everyone was absolutely exhausted – you can’t carry on doing that.”
“I think the way we look at it now is we’re a sustainable business.”
Come along and hear the story of GingerMay and what obstacles the agency faced to be where they are today.