When sitting under a pile of newspaper cuttings, scissors and glue as young and inexperienced junior account executives over 10 years ago, property PR professionals Rachel Colgan and Kathryn Reucroft had no idea they were sitting next to their future business partner.
Starting their careers in the busy property PR team at Trimedia Harrison Cowley in London and chiefly responsible for the cuttings books and general junior admin duties for the likes of Countryside, Bovis Homes and Dandara, they had never imagined that one day they would be running their own successful Property PR agency together.
Certainly, for the ambitious and creative individuals, running a business was always a dream and after the sell-ins were complete, the cuttings folders were stuck together, photocopied multiple times and sent out, many a glass of wine was enjoyed in the local bars of Covent Garden and a plan was dreamt up. However, after three years and an impending property crash in 2007, Rachel left and took the opportunity to set up the first in-house PR team for Barratt Developments Southern Region.
Rachel says: “I saw this in-house role advertised and knew it had my name written all over it, so went for it and was delighted when I got it. Progression looked limited at the agency as clients were tightening budgets so I figured I had nothing to lose. Working in-house for Barratt was absolutely the best experience ever and really gave me an invaluable insight into the internal functions of a quality major housebuilder.
“Although I had fantastic support from a very senior level, I really did have to work hard to set up the team, win hearts and minds, and make headway with the various divisions that I carried out PR for. This experience has set me up for many challenges that I have had to face since, as well as my mentors at the time giving me the confidence to take the leap.”
Kathryn remained with the agency for a further couple of years and then climbed the career ladder working in some of London’s top property PR agencies handling the PR for companies including City & Country Group, Jackson-Stops and Staff, Sotheby’s International Realty and London Square. Always keeping in touch outside of work, slowly the friends started to rethink their plan of setting up together.
Rachel set up Building Relations PR in January 2015. Bringing Barratt with her as her first client, the company steadily built up enough business to also allow Kathryn to join at the end of last year. Now working together at the thriving agency, with an additional three staff and army of freelancers, the business continues to grow from strength.
Kathryn says: “It’s amazing to think that we are finally working together again and that Building Relations is well on its journey to success. Our separate and unique career paths have really set us up well to cope with the demands of what can be sometimes stressful PR agency life.
“With Rachel’s expert in-house housebuilder and in-depth industry knowledge, combined with my extensive contacts and range of global property clients, it means that we are able to deal with most situations that come our way. These complimentary qualities combined with our solid work ethic and great learnings from our early agency days means that together we make a great team.”
The team at Building Relations now successfully deliver the PR for many property clients including further divisions of Barratt Developments, online letting agent and proptech business Upad.co.uk, First Time Buyer Readers Awards and UK-wide Home Shows, several estate and buying agents and most recently Berkeley Homes, as well as writing industry winning awards and supporting events and press launches for a number of clients.
Regularly achieving impressive coverage in some of the leading national titles, Building Relations continues to attract new business through positive word of mouth and Rachel and Kathryn now continue their property PR story together.