To get to meet Lysbeth Fox ... is a huge treat. She is a sassy businesswomen full of charm, humour and grit. I hope you enjoy our Q and A time we had on the terrace of Soho House, Greek Street.
What was the trigger for you to set up Fox PR?
I have had the opportunity to work for some of the best agencies in the UK, from the top 5, to smaller boutique companies and I was inspired to take all the best bits from what I’d learnt along the way and create my own, caring and ambitious agency.
Do you think being a woman and setting up your business was any more challenging than if you had been a guy?
That’s an interesting question, I am Jewish and come from a traditionally male dominated family where I have 3 brothers. So, growing up, no, I was raised to have the idea that the role of women was very much connected to taking care of children and the home. I think my biggest challenges gender-wise have been personal - changing perceptions in my own family and community, rather than in the business world.
A thought which makes you smile whenever you think of it?
That’s easy, my daughter! Just her face is all I need to think about.
Have you had to forfeit anything for your business?
YES, a lot, work, life, balance, important occasions, health due to stress, but it’s given me so much back that I don’t feel it wasn’t worth it. I don’t like to reflect on the negative as I think I would probably close up shop and go get a less stressful job working for someone else!
Could you share how you face challenging days?
Well today is a good example and the answer is a very supportive team. Being the boss can be a lonely place. I don’t like to bother my staff when trouble erupts as it’s important to keep them positive and focused on doing the best for their clients – negativity & gossip breeds distraction and lack of focus.
But, saying that, we have an open plan office at Fox PR as we are a very inclusive agency, so they know when I am having a tough call and they’ll all muck in and help in their own way. I discuss daily challenges with my amazing directors, who offer me level headed guidance and invaluable support and I even got an email asking if I needed an impromptu G&T at 9.45am this morning which put a smile on my face.
A moment when you stood up and felt so proud you had to pinch yourself ...
I had a meeting with prospective clients and felt that I had worked all my life for it. I go to some incredible locations around the world, but sometimes it’s that simplest of moments where you’re just talking to someone about your life or seeing it from an outsider’s point of view, seeing the business grow, or hiring someone else that I find, I have my pinch me moments.
Diamonds or rubies?
Champagne or cocktails?
That’s too hard, can I have both? They are both ideally suited for various occasions, never together though….
We use Colombian chocolate for our bars ... have you ever been to Colombia?
Oh yes, 4 friends and I went travelling around South America when we were 18. We travelled through Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and onto Columbia. Which was such a dangerous place at that time. We never intended on going through Bogota as it was too dangerous - however, on a trip to Santa Marta and Tyrona National Park there was an armed robbery and our passports, money and return air tickets were taken. It was an ordeal to say the least and we ended up having the British Ambassador having to fly us home on Emergency Passports, It wouldn’t stop me going back though – it’s one of the most beautiful countries I’d ever been to, and a life-long dinner party story line.
Chocolate ice cream or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate, but only from a chocolatier who trades fairly and if possible with almond milk – yum!
I am blessed, I’ve had too many to even think about, most days I find something to laugh about.
Where's your case packed for next?
I am off to New York, we’ve just opened new offices in Tribeca, so I make regular trips out there to help with the set up
Would you be up for sharing your top travel tips for packing for a few days stay?
If it’s one night I take cabin baggage only, but any more I just don’t even think about it and check it in the hold, it’s too much faff otherwise. I know I am against what everyone else suggests, but I have found this is far less stressful than trying to cram everything into a small hand case or figure out what all my liquids weigh.
Also, I like to exercise when I am travelling, and the trainers and exercise gear can take up a lot of space. Saying that, my top tips are to wear the trainers to the airport, loop the belts around the case for space saving rather than coiling up inside, always leave a plastic zip lock at the top of your washbag for hand luggage – for ease of putting your liquids in and keep it at the top of your suitcase for a speedy whip out at the airport, take your own ear plugs, and eye masks (you never know when a hotel is going to put aesthetics before practicality), it’s great to have them handy for the flight.
I always carry a pashmina or shawl on the flight as I often get cold, but also whilst abroad you never know when you’ll need an extra layer of warmth. You want to be fun and spontaneous, so always pack a bikini and waterproof mascara, so you can jump into the sea wherever you are and still come out looking glamorous.
Finally, Lysbeth could you let us know the top three things you have discovered you need to not only start up a very successful travel & lifestyle PR company but to sustain it too?
No question: For me – it’s about quality, ambition and integrity.