March 8, 2021
Building Raven: A Q&A with Sophie Jewes and Yasmin Eady
In summer 2019, Yasmin Eady and Sophie Jewes started a communications agency specialising in fashion and beauty – launching the business in just 10 days. Today, Raven is recognised as one of the most dynamic and intuitive agencies in their industry.
Sophie and Yasmin join us as our first interview feature to share their experience as women leading in business and offer advice to future entrepreneurs.
Since setting up Raven in 2019, what have you learnt about entrepreneurship and what motivates you in the business?
Running a business is challenging, all-consuming, rewarding, frustrating, inspiring…. and everything in between. Ultimately, it is incredibly fulfilling. You put everything into ensuring the business follows an upwards trajectory but we’re learning that it won’t be a straight line, there will be some bumps, and understanding how to navigate them is the biggest reward of all.
We are driven by the work – that’s why we started this. We still get very big highs from seemingly quite small ‘wins’; that’s why boutique agency life suits us, we stay in the work and remain part of the client servicing team, excited and motivated by the ever-changing landscape – constantly responding, brainstorming, and creating with our diverse network of partners and collaborators.
What are some of the day-to-day lessons you need to remind yourself of?
Yasmin: Phone a friend [usually Sophie or my best pal from Uni]. Never be afraid of not knowing something and make sure you surround yourselves with a brilliant, impressive network that you can call on and whose opinion you value. There’s incredible strength in a powerful community. It’s everything.
Sophie: Come out of your inbox. It would be so easy to be in a constant reactive state with this job – fielding the ‘incoming’ could be a full-time job – but we know that’s not where the good stuff is. We try and encourage our team (and ourselves) to make space to get to that nice zen state where you can shut out the noise and see clearly what the priorities are.
The inspiration for the name ‘Raven’ came from Patti Smith. How has Patti Smith’s spirit and work been an influence for you?
Anyone who has a creative profession they feel passionately about would likely cite Patti as an inspiration. She really wrote the rule book, certainly for women, around dedication to ‘the work’ – it’s an idea we feel very close to. For all that she’s a romantic and a storyteller, she’s a straight-talker and is seemingly interested in everything; in constantly learning. She’s probably a little scary to the uninitiated, despite being full of heart. We can relate.
Raven is an outspoken champion of young, diverse talent. How are you inspired by the new generation of creatives?
Fashion can be a polarising landscape to work in, in a lot of ways – for all its pioneering spirit, innovation and new ideas, there are some archaic structures that remain in place and a lot of resistance to change. The people Raven works with are endlessly questioning and challenging those old models. We’ve always loved a rebel.
‘Resilience’ is also something we talk about most days at Raven; we learn an enormous amount about strength and adaptability from our clients and collaborators. What defines young creatives – as well as the businesses that are thriving, like our partners at FLANNELS – is a willingness to flex and modernise their approaches even if it means some heavy lifting. We have the real privilege of a front-row seat to the amazing strategic thinking of these people, and it informs the way we think about our agency model enormously. We have to have flexibility and openness at the centre of everything.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for female entrepreneurs?
Trust who you are, be yourself and know your worth. Don’t be daunted by the male faces in the ‘boardroom’, remember now more than ever, every industry needs female presence…. female thinking, multi-tasking abilities, intuition and perspective. Women have incredibly unique and powerful perspectives.
When you start out, make sure you surround yourself with people, someone, who amazes and inspires you. You need trusted partners to bounce ideas around, take risks with, sense check decisions, and to rant when you have tough days (the latter being the most important in our opinion).
We recently read that women are half as likely as men to start a business and only one-third of UK entrepreneurs are women. That’s a very sad statistic and truth of our times; women are so good at it. At everything really.
Find out more about Raven at weareravenagency.com