When Odette Barry saw that the cost of PR was locking some businesses out of representation,she created a model where clients learn to be their own PR - and they’re loving it!
Tell us in your own words about Odette & Co.
Odette & Co is a micro PR agency based in Byron Bay. I work with outstanding humans who are creating an impact in their various communities, anyone from product-based businesses through to clever service providers.
All of my clients want to tell more people about what they’re doing. My business is 80% teaching businesses how to DIY their PR through the Hack Your Own PR program that I launched five years ago and 20% working with a very small book of clients who I climb into bed with, kidding, who I manage the publicity - media relations and partnerships for.
How was Odette & Co born & why?
It was a matter of need rather than passion in the beginning. Moving from Melbourne to Byron Bay seven years ago, prior to the significant shift to remote work, I had to create an opportunity for myself. Having worked in corporate communications for Westpac and the peak body for physiotherapy, I had worked inside large machines, but always had a strong entrepreneurial thirst. When we moved to Byron, it was evident that there wasn’t a swathe of career opportunities, so I created my own. After two years of running my own agency, I landed upon the idea to share what I know with fellow startups. In Byron, almost all of my friends are business owners, and they want to get their name out to national audiences, so PR is the perfect solution, except for the costly fees associated with it. So I came up with a solution to make it more affordable.
What challenges have you had to overcome since the beginning of your journey?
I guess the biggest thing was starting my business as an agency and downsizing to a consultancy. I had to let staff go, I had to let clients go, and I walked away from things that really spoke to my ego and identity as a successful business owner. It was a really hard time coming to terms with a sense of failure. But failure shapes our future success.
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when starting out?
Ha! Just about everything and nothing. I had to learn the hard way, I had to walk through the fire of mistakes to work out what I wanted. For me, the key to stability and success has been to surround myself with epic women in business who are a few steps ahead and a few steps behind. There is little value in only speaking to people on the same wavelength. Get a coach, pay your taxes and surround yourself with business friends.
What advice would you give to the next generation of women in business?
Be kind and compassionate and have fun - with yourself and your clients and customers. Don’t take things too seriously or for granted. We have one precious life, so work hard, but make sure you’re enjoying it. But mostly, make sure you have friends in business - the ones who are willing to talk until the cows come home about marketing, finance, hiring etc.
You are undoubtedly busy. How do you take care of yourself & maintain good mental health?
I have a date every morning with a different friend, mostly business owners. We run, walk, do yoga or swim at the beach before work, and every day I meditate with my husband. No matter what clients, the media, or the world want to throw at me, I am topped up to the brim with goodness at the start of the day.
How can women stand in solidarity with each other?
Do. Not. Pull. The. Ladder. Up. Behind. You.
I have had people who have raised me up, and they have changed my life. They’ve helped me believe in myself when I didn’t have the courage to go on. We can achieve so much more when surrounded by women who cheer us on.
Do you have a woman leader as a mentor, or are there specific women who inspired you and why?
Jacinda Ardern - compassionate and stereotype-breaking leadership. Her visible empathy and compassion in light of the Christchurch mosque attacks, followed by decisive and immediate policy change. That is inspiring. Suzanne Hoyne - former CFO of Adidas, has a crazy level of business leadership, intelligence, experience and insight, delivered with a dose of motherly kindness and encouragement. Thrived in a man’s world, she brings nothing but kindness and encouragement to business owners that she mentors.
What’s on the horizon for Odette & Co?
I’m launching four new programs, which is unprecedented for me. I’ve been running Hack Your Own PR for five years with an amazing community of founders. Given the economic climate this year feels like we need more accessible programs.
So I’m launching a suite of low-cost DIY Tools, including PR Foundations: How To Pitch Your Business To The Media; The Essential Handbook for Product PR; and Build Your Founder Profile with Thought Leadership PR.
Location: Byron Bay, NSW
Instagram & Facebook: @odetteandco