We're forever inspired by the resilient and hardworking business women in our AY community, and Simone Marshall of Melbourne's Two Hands Agency is no exception.
We can personally attest to the brilliant work of this PR guru who regularly works side by side with Australia's biggest brands in the fashion and lifestyle sector. With 15+ years of experience, Simone has seen the world of public relations and media completely transform, and she's been an active part of the movement.
We squeezed in a quick chat with Simone for International Women's Day about how she came to be her own boss and continues to kick goals at one of the country's leading PR firms.
When you were little, what did you dream of doing or being when you grew up and why?
In my high school work experience I worked at ABC radio and then did a week making trophies haha. When I was doing VCE, I thought I wanted to be an Occupational Therapist. I had no idea what my passion would be until I was like 27!!
I think this is relatable to a lot of women - feeling the pressure to KNOW what we want to do with our lives when really, we all work it out along the way in our own time. So, when did you decide to start Two Hands Agency and what decision do you believe made the most difference to your career?
I was working in the Communications team for the Mayor of London and I was lucky enough to work on some amazing events - that’s when it clicked.
I came back to Australia and worked for a women’s fashion magazine where I learnt the ropes of PR all whilst I was at night school doing PR & Comms. In 2007, I took a leap of faith to start my own business and 15 years later, here we are.
Over the years I’ve always tried to trust my gut, but I’ve also had some pretty integral mentors that have given me the right advice to follow.
Now as a mentor yourself, what advice would you give other women who want to start a career in PR?
Passion is everything. If you don’t love the hustle, the chat, the relationship building… then it’s not for you. You often get NO as an answer, so it’s not taking it personally and finding another angle to get your client the coverage they require.
You’re always working with SO many different brands and people at the same time. What tools or personal habits have you built that help you in managing your workload?
I’m still a bit old school when it comes to my day, so I love using a planner and writing the tasks I need to achieve when I finish each day. That way, I’m ready for the next!
Inevitably in our field, we have calls and emails that need to be attended to straight away, so allowing that flexibility in our roles is also key. I also use notes in my phone to write down thoughts and ideas and often email myself reminders of things I need to do as well.
Any tips on running your own business and at the same time having time for yourself?
I’m a workaholic, but that’s because it’s my business. If I don’t lead that way, then others won’t follow with the same work ethic and passion. With that said, over the past few years, the balance and my effort in getting balance is better.
When I need to hustle, I hustle; when I need to rest, I rest. I work out, I go for walks, and I think that is important for my mental health when running a business, to make the time to relax or exercise.
What are three physical things that you couldn’t live without?
Ohhhh, just 3?!
1. A white tee
2. Hair ties
3. D’affnois cheese!
Tell us about your go-to style as a PR and business guru?
Oversized blazer + tee + denim = my literal everyday style. I also have a great range of silk dresses, tees, skirts, oversized shirting, and coats that complement my vibe. I’m neutral with my day-to day-style, but my go-to colours are emerald green and cornflour blue.
I’m not a huge make-up girl, so I’m a la naturel most days with hint of bronzer and mascara.
What are your favourite AY pieces?
Traditionally I am a silver person, however, I am loving the Petra Hoops from the new collection – great for day-to-night. And the Astrid Ring! I love thick and chunky rings, so this is a great addition for the days I go for gold. The Sloane Ring in silver is also divine - I’d be wearing two on the one finger to give that stacked look.
And the Leona Chain gives me that total glam feeling.
What do you love the most about being a woman?
That I can love fiercely. That I’m not perfect. That I have flaws and that’s ok.
I think as you get older as a woman, you find that you shed a lot of what bothers you. You become more comfortable in your own skin and in turn, that makes you happier.