Lisa Forshaw and Laura Stubbs are the founders of Real PR, a full-service public relations agency, specialising in celebrity and event-driven press in the lifestyle, fashion and hospitality industries.
“We also want to continue to grow MCR Fashion Festival as it’s really important to us that Manchester is celebrated for its growing fashion credentials and is put firmly on the fashion map.”
What makes Manchester a great place to start a business?
We have always loved Manchester, but particularly over the last few years Manchester is thriving and the opportunities within the city continue to grow which makes it an amazing place to have a business. We are home to two of the best football clubs in the world, MediaCityUK and it’s brilliant to see the hospitality industry growing as tourism to the city increases.
What inspired you to start the business?
Lisa had been at the Cannes Film Festival with Fashion Designer Zeynep Kartal and they returned just after the Manchester Attack. Zeynep really wanted to do something to give back to her adopted hometown and asked Lisa to organise something for her. Myself and Lisa had been friends for around 4 years and so she contacted me to help to organise the event with her, as my background was in wedding and event planning. As we started to work together, we really enjoyed it and our different skills complemented each other perfectly. Leading up to the event we came in contact with a number of companies that commented on our energy and who asked us to do some work for them, it was then we decided that our experience and knowledge in PR & events meant that we should go for it and launch a business together. The event was a huge success with performances from Heather Small and a reading of ‘This is the Place’ by Tony Walsh; it was amazing!
What makes your business stand out from the crowd?
We think it’s our passion and the fact that, like our company name suggests, we are ‘real’. We both have 3 children so we work very hard for them and we genuinely love what we do and everyone says that shines through. From start to finish we always give 100%.
What surprised you the most when setting up your business?
The response to us as business has really been overwhelming. We get so many compliments we get quite embarrassed actually as we are just being ourselves. The compliments mean a lot though as it reassures us we are doing the best job we can and that is so important to us. All of our work has come from word of mouth referrals and that means the world to us.
What keeps you motivated?
We really do love what we do, so that helps a lot. We always want to bigger and better with each event and we are always looking for new ways to create exciting PR campaigns. We also really want to deliver for our clients because we are not succeeding if they are not succeeding, so that is excellent motivation.
How does your business help give back to Manchester?
Our first event was held to raise money for the We Love Manchester fund. We founded MCR Fashion Festival in February which helped to raise funds for Forever Manchester. We are hosting our second MCR Fashion Festival in October and that will raise funds for both We Love Manchester & Forever Manchester. In November, we are hosting the first Women’s Equality Gala, which will raise funds for the Fawcett Society and The Pankhurst Foundation. Giving back is extremely important to us both, we have both done lots for various charities over the years and so to be able to do it through our work is just amazing.
What are your business goals for the next 3 years?
We want to remain a boutique PR firm as it is very important to us that our clients continue to get a personal and interactive service from us. We also want to continue to grow MCR Fashion Festival as it’s really important to us that Manchester is celebrated for its growing fashion credentials and is put firmly on the fashion map.
Our first annual ‘Manchester’s 20 Hottest Startups’ feature is our pick of the most inspiring startups and stepups in our city. If you’d like to be featured in 2019’s ‘Manchester’s 20 Hottest Startups’, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.