Not many 23-year old’s have the conviction to start their own business, or the tenacity to work the long hours vital to make it a success. Especially in an industry with more than its fair share of established players. Montarna Pitt (nee McDonald) was said 23-year-old, and is now at the helm of her own successful PR company The Audience Agency.
This Sydney-local jumped head first into PR fresh out of high school, interning and working part-time for a number of agencies until she took a leap of faith and went out on her own. It’s safe to say, the gamble paid off. The Audience Agency is now five years old and has a client portfolio that covers fashion, entertainment and lifestyle. Montarna meanwhile has also established herself as a leader in the industry, amassing a few thousand followers on Instagram who no doubt, find her daily ensembles, interior snapshots, and travel journals inspiring. As do we.
We took a peek inside the Paddington headquarters of TAA and quizzed Montarna on her success, style and current shopping list...
What does it take to start your own agency at the youthful age of 23 years old?
I’ve been in the PR industry since my late teens when I worked part time for Sydney agencies while studying for my Bachelor of Media Communications. I’d always loved the idea of running my own jam – my personality and work ethic really suit being my own boss. Back in 2014 my friends and contacts started approaching me to do their PR even though I didn’t have my own agency at that stage. That gave me the motivation to give it a go and I started The Audience Agency with one staff member and shared computer from my parent’s spare room!
What is the best part of working for yourself?
The freedom to make spontaneous decisions and react quickly to opportunities. The buzz I get from seeing my staff members hit their goals and grow with the agency. And working with amazing clients who become close friends.
How does your career fulfil your creative side?
Communications is creative by nature. It’s all about telling stories whether that’s visually, digitally, in print, through a brand experience etc. My brain is in constant creative mode coming up with fresh concepts for our clients. Every day I get to flex my creative side from designing a ‘social media moment’ for the Drumstick x Messina launch where we built a walk-in freezer for guest photos, to pulling data from our client Tinder to find out the most right-swiped star signs in Australia.
How would you define your style?
I think my style is constantly evolving as I learn what suits my figure and what makes me feel good. I like playing with different looks and being a bit of a fashion chameleon.
Where do you look for your fashion inspiration?
Instagram – I love tracking Aussie and global influencers and what they are wearing. On my travels; I’ve spotted some incredible looks on the streets of Rome, Paris, London and LA. And as much as I constantly consume digital content, I still love sitting down with the latest issue of Vogue and Harper’s for shopping inspiration.
How do you go about sourcing your clothes?
I do all my shopping online, it’s very rare I’ll actually go into a store unless I’m overseas. I love shopping online, it’s relaxing after a busy day in the office and the best part of the experience is trying on the purchases at home.
You also have an eye for beautiful décor. What draws you to interiors?
Funnily enough, I started off studying to be an interior architect before I moved in to the communications industry, so I’ve always had a love affair with interiors. I look for interior inspo in the same places I look for fashion inspiration – online, social media and on my travels.
How did you go about decorating the offices of the Audience Agency?
When we moved offices, we undertook an agency rebrand and I wanted the design to run cohesively from our branding through to the showroom. My vision was a showroom reflecting who we are and what our agency is about. The Audience Agency HQ is a classic space layered with pops of artwork and vintage pieces that are super playful. PR and communications can be high pressured and yet this space is saying ‘don’t take life too seriously!’ I wanted the office/showroom to be professional whilst still feeling comfortable for both my team and clients. The cool mix of cheeky plus timeless means the interiors won’t age and the design stands the test of many seasons to come.
Where are your favourite places to source furniture and décor?
Who are three designers inspiring you right now?
Bottega Venetta’s Daniel Lee
Natacha Ramsay-Levi of Chloe