Katie & Jane: Katie McDermott and Jane Whitehead

Social media consultancy

Name: Katie McDermott and Jane Whitehead
Age: 27 and 25
Company: Katie & Jane
Staff numbers: 2
Location: London
Date launched: 01/01/2013
Website: www.katieandjane.com

Tell us what your business does:

Katie & Jane is a social media consultancy with a mission to help brands become social in a simple and honest way. With more than nine years of joint expertise in PR and social media we provide experienced social media training through innovative online courses, face-to-face training and easy-going advice sessions.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Social is ever-changing and developing and we have witnessed some brand teams committing to campaigns without fully understanding the platforms and how to positively engage with their consumers online. Our aim is to break down the social jargon and explain simply the key elements brands need to know in order to build successful social media presences.

How did you know there was a market for it?

Having worked with a number of marketing teams to develop successful social media strategies and campaigns, we were frequently asked for advice and guidance on what the ever-changing social landscape means for their industry. We saw marketing teams struggle to prove the value of social media which is why we know evaluation and measurement is so important to social media success. We’ve developed a customised social media evaluation method tailoring a number of online tools to measure social growth, engagement and competitor analysis.

What were you doing before starting up?

Katie has been working in consumer PR for more than six years helping to develop large-scale award-winning creative campaigns, integrating PR, social and advertising. Jane is trained in PR, but quickly built her expertise in social media creating and managing the social media platforms for more than eight brands at a time. In 2012 Jane was named as one of the ’30 Girl Geeks under 30′ by The Drum.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Together we are an effective team and wanted to build a business that brought our strengths together; social media, community engagement and creativity. We both wanted to build a memorable life and create meaningful work projects that helped others in a positive way. We have a number of business ideas that we are pursuing… social media being our first!

How did you raise the money?

We built the business as much as we could while still in full-time employment, using free innovative online tools to cut costs, and before we took the plunge it was confirmed that our previous employer would be our first client!

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What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Luckily, being in week three we haven’t found ourselves up against any major obstacles. The biggest challenge was six months ago and actually making the decision to start-up on our own. It’s funny to look back now and realise that the decision-making process was actually scarier than making it happen!

Describe your business model and how you make money:

We have created a number of training sessions (Snap, Crackle and Pop!) to suit various budgets with the aim to help everyone with social whether you are a large-scale brand or a small, local business. We also offer other innovative solutions including downloadable toolkits, face-to-face and virtual social media advice along with evaluations to measure brands against their competitors on social.

What was your first big breakthrough?

Our first milestone in week one saw us helping a PR team with their client’s social media presence over the phone in just one hour. This cemented our belief that there is a market for simple social media advice without having to commit to a social media agency.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

During our decision-making process and while planning the business, there were two phrases that we kept referring back to: “Don’t waste time thinking about doing it, just do it!” “What is the worst that can happen?”

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

We hope to be on the way to completing our mission of helping brands to become social through quality social media guidance and training. We want to have raised the standard of social advice helping people to cut through the jargon and create unique social strategies that successfully connect with their consumers online.


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