Founding Sweaty Betty PR at just twenty-four, Roxy Jacenko has grown her business into a multi-million-dollar empire representing some of the globe’s leading brands across Australia for over thirteen years. The mother of two is also the author of three successful fiction novels and continues to break the mould as one of the most sought-after publicists and communications specialists in Australia. We take a career deep dive with Roxy for the X-FILES.
Tell us about your background and formal training.
All of my experience was on the job. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the late Mark Keighery founder of Marcs and distributor of Diesel for a period of four years in my early 20’s – he gave me the opportunity to learn the business from front to back finally moving me into a PR and Marketing Role where I knew I had found my niche!
Establishing Sweaty Betty PR in 2004, was it always your desire to create your own business?
Never. In fact, I had no dream or desires to have my own business, looking back the 18-year-old Roxy straight out of school had no clue on what career path I would take. One minute I wanted to be in the police force, the next a florist – really, I was all over the place!
You are known for being inventive and embracing change to stay ahead of shifting industry trends and movements. How do you stay inspired and so focused?
I have always kept the mindset since I started my first business at 24, Sweaty Betty PR, that you have to continually have to refresh and renew your approach or you will become irrelevant. What I did fourteen years ago is not what I can do today, and if I did, I would not continue to grow. The internet, Instagram and social media has given everyone the opportunity to access to so many ideas and concepts you would basically have to be walking with your eyes shut not to be able to draw inspiration and use these to suit your market.
How would you describe PR and communications today?
Fast, like a fruit and vegetable business, if you don’t do the deal on the story with a journo today, tomorrow it’s off. Maybe the days of sending a mass group email with a press release worked before but with social media and the digital era of news – everything is Now Now Now.
With so many key projects within your portfolio and many juggling of ‘hat’s’, what have been the most rewarding of your career?
Walking in the office door for me is rewarding, going from a one-man band with no formal qualifications to running four successful businesses out of my own building which was purpose designed by Blainey North and SJB is something that I find rewarding every day.
Do you have a mentor or someone who has influenced you professionally?
My Mum has had a big influence on my career, she worked throughout our childhood and built a great business which afforded us amazing opportunities from a great education to exposing us to the fact that if you want in life, you work – the mentality that nothing comes for nothing has been hammered into me!!!
What advice would you give someone motivated by your career path?
Be willing to work harder than you thought was possible, owning your own business as many think is your ticket to freedom, it’s not. You will be responsible for not only clients but staff, the lists goes on. The hard work is well worth the reward, but you need to be willing to put everything else aside and make your career your number one.
What challenges have you experienced in owning your own business?
How long have you got! Tip number one – understand and ensure your debtors list is in order!!
How do you measure success for a client?
A client’s end of month ‘Clippings of Media Hits’ – the thicker the presentation the better the success!
What words do you live by?
Work hard, play hard.
My first nonfiction book ‘Roxy’s Little Black Book of Tips & Tricks’ comes out in November which I am extremely excited about!