Saskia rumbelow / whittle agency
This week in our Mondays series we chat to Saskia, the lovely founder of Whittle Agency.
Rachele: To begin with why don’t you tell us about how you became a professional photographer, and how you subsequently transitioned to being more of a social media / content manager?
Saskia: It all started after completing my degree in Photography at Bath School of Art & Design. From there I got my first job at the Financial Times weekend paper and that took me into the more editorial side of things. I then spent 4 years at various publications managing in-house social media and content. It was at a time where digital was really starting to take off so that gave me the perfect springboard into social media focussed content.
R: What is your first memory of you behind the camera?
S: A trip with my grandparents where they gave me a disposable camera to play with and miraculously some of the shots actually came out okay. I think I was about 7 years old.
R: In the first few months of working freelance, what was your number one concern?
S: I think naturally for anyone venturing out on their own the main worry is consistency of work. It took me a long time to trust the process and be confident that if I worked hard and stayed true to my brand, good things would come my way.
R: What about now?
S: My main concern now is ensuring that I deliver what I have promised (on time!) and that I always fulfil clients expectations and beyond.
R: How do you prioritise during the busiest times?
S: I’m a huge fan of a written list and ensure that each day I have a realistic to-do list in front of me. Emphasis on the realistic there! This means dividing up work between all my different clients and making sure I’m prioritising deadlines as best as I can.
R: What is the most rewarding aspect of working for yourself? And the most challenging?
S: The most rewarding is seeing projects and brands I’m truly passionate about come into fruition and know that I played a part in that process. The most challenging is definitely juggling all the different elements of running a business, whilst keeping my creative flair in everything I do.
R: What is your number one marketing tool?
S: For me it’s actually word of mouth – although I’m not sure that counts as an official marketing tool!
R: That's very interesting and great to be relying mainly on your own network. How do you feel about instagram, how would your business be impacted if that were to disappear?
S: My business would look very different if Instagram were to disappear but I like to think there will always be a platform that brands would need to advertise on, so we would just have to pivot to whatever that new platform was.
R: How do you slow down? Being your own boss, do you “allow” yourself the so-called chill time in pre-scheduled weekly slots or do you take each day as it comes?
S: I definitely have to take each day as it comes as no week is really the same for me, but I’m making a conscious effort now to really put those practices into place. Whether it’s limiting social plans during the week, keeping up with meditation or just having weekends with no commitments, it definitely helps to keep my mind in check and ensure I’m avoiding the dreaded burn-out.
R: What’s your at-home pamper / de-stress routine?
S: A bath with a candle and some classical music can calm me down from most things!
R: One piece of advice you would give to people who want to go down the same path as you?
S: Just make sure it’s something you’re really passionate about. With the highs of running your own business there are definitely some lows too, so on those down days you just need to be sure you’re passionate about your business and doing it for the right reasons. For me, the love I have for my work really carries me through any challenging times. Also there’s never a ‘perfect’ time to start your own business, you should be savvy and strategic about it but at some point there has to be a deep breath and a leap of faith.
R: What is next for you and for your agency?
S: There are some really exciting things on the horizon. Expanding the team is something I’m in the process of at the moment which will be a real step up for Whittle. As well as some really fun projects and new client work I can’t wait to share.
Firedrill Round with Saskia.
- If you had to describe yourself using three words, which would they be? Creative, thoughtful and loyal.
- What about Whittle Agency? Approachable, personal and detail-orientated.
- Top 3 skincare products? Weleda Skin Food, Dr Hauschka Rose Cream and Lanolips.
- Top 3 items of clothing? I’m rarely in anything other than jeans, a jumper and trainers.
- Most treasured item of jewelry? A traditional Russian wedding ring that used to be my mums.
- Favourite brunch place in London? The Laundry in Brixton.
- Favourite scent or fragrance? Anything with sandalwood.
- What's your earliest memory associated with a scent? The smell of pink roses always takes me back to my childhood and the way roses would smell in the garden on a rainy day.
- Favourite travel destination? Colorado for skiing – some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve been lucky enough to see.
- Favourite in London escape destination? Dulwich woods is a hidden gem that makes you feel like you’re really away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Having grown up in the countryside, it’s really important I get that fix on weekends.
- What does luxury mean to you? What do you indulge on? True luxury to me is time. So a slow Sunday morning with no plans other than reading the paper, eating croissants and drinking coffee. On that note, good coffee and quality food are probably my main indulgences.