Georgie Quigley is the founder and director of Georgie Quigley Public Relations (GQPR). GQPR is a Sydney based publicity and events agency specialising in beauty, fashion, health, interiors and lifestyle brands. Some of the companies Georgie works with include tbh Skincare, Jones & Co, Incy Interiors, Fetched, Lady Kate & Craftzero. She shares with us some of the highs and lows about starting your own business and what advice she would give to anyone looking to go out on their own. Georgie has remained involved in College life and is part of the St Andrew’s College Alumni Society and the Young Alumni Committee.
Please tell us a bit more about yourself – where are you originally from and where did you grow up?
I grew up in the tiny town of Warren, about 125km further west of Dubbo NSW, where my parents still reside. I attended the local public school for K-6, before venturing to boarding school at Kinross Wolaroi School for 7-12. Orange was the perfect distance to board, often seeing my parents every few weekends and getting a break from boarding school food!
Why did you choose to reside at St Andrew’s College?
Honestly, the first time I visited Sydney Uni I just got this instant feeling of ‘I want to go here’ and given I lived 7 hours away from Sydney, residing on campus was a definite preference. I immediately called dad, who was a Drew’s old boy himself, and told him that I wanted to apply for St Andrew’s and you can bet this idea was met with a warm reception! As Andrew’s was male only when he attended and he had three daughters, the shift to college becoming co-ed and the two of us being able to bond over our time here has been pretty special – though I know we drive the rest of the family mad when we go on our Drew’s rambles!
What parts of college life were you involved in?
Does the term ‘social glue’ give you an idea? I was forever organising events and driving student participation to such an extent that in my final year I was awarded half colours for Social Contributions to College (2014). In my final year of college, I was appointed the Honorary Secretary of the Students Club (2014) and I loved being able to contribute to college in that capacity. Amusingly, many of my friends still refer to me as the ‘Social Sec’ to this day.
Tell us a bit more about your business, GQPR!
GQPR is a Sydney based publicity and events agency specialising in consumer lifestyle brands. I launched my agency peak COVID-19 so it’s safe to say I am pretty happy to have just celebrated GQPR’s first birthday! I work with globally recognised clients alongside niche Australian brands to help build their profile and put them on the media map.
What were your motivations for pursuing a career in the PR industry?
I was lucky enough to fall into PR after an encounter with a customer when I was working in retail during my time at uni. She ran her own business, gave me her business card and said I should get in touch about a job. I followed up, she hired me, and I honestly have just loved every second of it ever since. My personality and skill set seem to have found their match – organisation, creativity, event planning, interacting and building rapport with clients & media etc. I will forever be grateful that I was one of the lucky ones that found an industry they loved straight after university. I know that’s not always the case.
What are some of the challenges of your job?
As I am a sole trader, working on my own is definitely the trickiest part. Just not having people to bounce ideas from & problem solve with. In saying that, my partner Alex has been a very patient and helpful sound board and I have a wonderful ex colleague that has become a great mentor for me, so I feel very lucky to have those people in my corner.
And the best bits?
I love that I am in charge of saying yes to the opportunities that cross my desk and working with brands that I personally align with. I have actually ended up working with quite a few rural and regional brands and I love that I am able to support small businesses and witness the impact that PR can have for them.
Do you have any advice for people looking to work in PR? Or looking to start their own business?
If you are just starting out in communications, I think PR is a great place to start. It’s a really fast-paced, hands on environment where you can progress relatively quickly and get a really great grasp on how media works – from the other side! I’d encourage people to think about what interests them, for example are they a foodie and love hospitality? If so, working in an agency that specialises in that will be far more enjoyable than working in financial PR let’s say! I love working with brands that I have an organic interest in.
How has your work been impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic?
Given I stared my agency when COVID-19 really kicked off I guess I don’t know any different. In saying that, for a lot of brands, once they knew their businesses were going to survive the pandemic, knew that they’d have to start getting their company back out there. So while it was a little bit of a slow start, by the second half of the year things had definitely picked up!
What’s the next step for you and GQPR? And what about in 10 year’s time?
One day I have hopes of building a team but for now I am happy to just keep things ticking along. In 10 year’s time, I’d love to be able to say that GQPR was celebrating its 10th birthday and have a great stable of clients and a team.
What are you reading/ watching or listening to at the moment that you’d recommend?
I am finally up to season four of The Crown. I am not a royalist in any capacity and I must admit I found season three a bit of a tough slog to get through, but given how topical it is at the moment I am glad that I have tuned in.
But if it’s a recommendation you are looking for, not long ago I finished Tim Duggan’s book Cult Status which is a fantastic read on the next generation of ‘unentrepreneurs’ and how they are thinking about businesses differently.
What do you like to do outside of work? How do you switch off?
Cooking has become a great way for me to switch off. As someone who works from home, cooking dinner has become a great marker to wrap up the working day.
In my spare time, I honestly just really love spending time with people. I’m an extrovert so I love being in the company of others.
We’d like to thank Georgie for taking the time to catch-up with us. If you would like to find out more information about GPQR please head to the website.