So we've done it. We've completed our first six months of being #GirlBosses and what better way to celebrate than to answer our very own Q&A. Have a read about our highs and lows, why Nat loves how organised I am and what makes us get out of bed in the morning. Before we begin we do want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has supported us, read our blogs, shared our content and to our clients who have taken a chance on us. We hope we've made you all as proud as we've made ourselves. #GirlsDoneGood
How long have you been freelance/working for yourself #goingsolo?
Nat: A whole SIX MONTHS now?! Seems like just yesterday we were blind drunk on cheap Cabernet Sauvignon in Jess’ back garden thinking what a weird idea it might be to ditch the #PAYE life.
Jess: 6 months. I can’t remember life before we started Mac&Moore but by the same token it’s gone SO quickly.
Describe what you do in five words… GO!
Nat: Build brands with creativity… boom.
Jess: I’m going to be different from Nat and go with some “buzz” words (who doesn’t love some classic marketing jargon!?):
FUN, CREATIVE, BONKERS, EXCELLENCE, AMBITION.
What made you decide to take the plunge?
Jess: We lost our jobs. There’s no better reason that unemployment! We had nothing to lose and the timing seemed right. I personally had been floating the idea of starting up on my own for a few years ever since I had started to work in the start-up scene. I just needed the perfect partner in crime to realise my ambition!
Nat: Well... as most of you know by now both Jess and I have been unfortunate enough to lose our jobs not once but twice. After the second time we both felt like it was unfair that our entire careers and livelihoods were in the hands of other people. As we are both slight control freaks (usually over completely different things) we thought NO … We’re going to do it ourselves, and hopefully not go on some sort of crazy power trip and try and drive a hummer through the streets of London chanting ‘JOIN OUR GIRL GANG’ through a megaphone.
How do you find being close friends AND business partners?
Nat: A NIGHTMARE. Just kidding. Jess and I have not been lifelong friends, in fact, we’ve not even known each other a year, but as soon as we met we knew it was something pretty special (always have to try really hard not to sound like we’re a couple). Jess has not only been the Yin to my Yang, the Mac to my Moore, she has become one of my closest friends. She’s taught me so much about myself, helped me to grow as a person and also given me the unfortunate nickname of Uncle Sally, which appears to be sticking. When we told people we were going on holiday to Mexico together in January they thought we were mad … But there’s no one I’d rather sip a sweet margarita with and toast to an amazing year than that mad cow. . . Unless Ryan Gosling happens to be available.
Best things about Jess: she’ll never quit until she gets it right, her need to have continuous dance breaks and make intermittent bird noises throughout the day, she has a really kind, good heart.
Worst things about Jess: she has somehow appointed herself as my unofficial life coach. She is VERY fussy about where we eat lunch… she’ll say ‘where do you want to go?’ then say no to all my suggestions. I should really learn to just let her crack on.
Jess: The good part is that work is FUN. We both have the same sense of humour and genuinely enjoy each other’s company and ways of working. Our styles are different but very complimentary. There’s been times I’ve looked at the work we’ve produced and been SO excited about how great it is, we have something really special together.
Speaking honestly the difficulties come from our different attitudes to life. Nat is far more relaxed (and northern…) and I am a control freak, perfectionist that wants to do the best by people. The same way friends can get on each other’s nerves it’s the same for business partners. It’s also been a transition from us working together at another organisation where I ran the team Natalie was a part of. I read somewhere though that you should only hire people smarter and better than you. So although we’re still working on levelling out our partnership, for all the experience I bring to the table Nat brings bags of talent.
What’s hugely important for me is we share the same values and respect for each other and I truly believe this is integral when running a business – without respect you’re on shaky grounds. We also don’t do work for the money, but because we want to build a business that’s around working with lovely people and producing great work. Sharing that vision means whenever we get caught up on the day-to-day we just have to remind ourselves of why we set out doing this.
Also it helps that we’re both into dancing throughout the day, wine, making bad jokes and generally being a bit bonkers. We both don’t take life, each other, or ourselves too seriously.
What’s the grand plan/big idea?
Jess: Honestly, to work with good people, produce GREAT work and live a life we’re proud of on our own terms. I want to be in charge of where I’m going and my future and I feel so empowered to have that control.
I also want to work with some amazing start-ups/businesses to push their marketing to the next level of excellence. Another passion of mine is mentoring so being involved with organisations that help push women forward in education, life and the work place is something I would love to focus some of my energies on. I’m been fortunate enough to have so many opportunities in my life and I would love to help others realise their potential.
Nat: When we first set up, we had no idea. Understandable really given the circumstances. All we knew is we wanted to do great work for great people and fundamentally that plan hasn’t changed. We drank in advice from anyone and everyone and used each other as sounding boards when we were figuring out how to take ‘going freelance’ to the next level. We’ve now got a really good idea of the sort of work we love doing, and how we want to do it. SO WATCH OUT 2017!
What’s your proudest moment so far?
Jess: I think I’ve had two.
My first is when I first announced to the world (via social media) that we were starting a business and the response we got. When we lost our jobs it was a huge blow, both professionally and personally. And to speak honestly a very difficult and upsetting time that really made me question myself, my confidence and abilities. I remember reading peoples likes/comments of support and love and crying tears of happiness knowing that this was the beginning of making myself and the people I love proud.
Secondly when we got shortlisted for the Ocean International Creative Award alongside King’s Ransom London. Seeing our name alongside some of the best names in advertising was surreal. We’d also produced the entry working alongside people we respected and believed in. Those moments make you realise what all the hard work is about.
Nat: Jess is currently sat opposite me writing her answers and I BET we both write the same one. It has to be the moment we got shortlisted for an Ocean International Creative Award and our brand was plastered all over the IMAX. We love telling ourselves that we’re great (we’re pretty arrogant like that) but I don’t think either of us really realised our true potential until we saw Mac&Moore on that giant screen.
Where do you get your inspiration from? (person, place, action)
Nat: As I have the more creative role of the duo I think it’s really important to offer myself the opportunity to be inspired wherever I go. I read a lot, and always love it if I find a new word, phrase or way of expressing myself. Also shout out to the mad female powerhouses in my family, the Russell clan. These lot taught me that I should be seen AND heard, that I can achieve anything I put my mind to and never to settle for anything less than I want.
Jess: Anything and everything. But mainly people – I love having conversations that open my mind and make me think differently. I’m so lucky to have met some incredible characters both personally and professionally – each conversation and interaction leads me to think differently and that’s what makes me good at what I do.
If we could give you one thing right now (not a wad of cash) that would help your business out the most, what would it be?
Nat: Boxing gloves. So I can bosh her when she gets too ‘squawky’.
Or a business mentor. We know exactly what we want to achieve work-wise but I think we could definitely use a bit of guidance on the commercial side.
Jess: PR. We have all sorts of grand plans and we’ve learnt for our clients as well as ourselves that it’s about getting your brand out there. We’d love to feature in some of our favourite publications with our own work. We’re working on it though – watch out 2017! Also a cameo on Girls wouldn’t go amiss…
Hindsight is a wonderful thing - discuss.
Jess: I’ve learnt that failure is the making of you. I love the phrase that it’s either “success or learning”. The only way to true success or happiness is taking chances and risks.
Secondly I also think it’s important to remember that you can’t be all things to all people. Know who you are, find your people and don’t apologise for doing you. F**K looking at other people’s lives on social media (I realise the irony of this…) and feeling like you’re not living up to expectations. You are, and you have the control and drive to do anything you want to – ANYTHING is possible. Now go forth and conquer!
Nat: My general motto in life is to have no regrets. Nothing has changed since we set up Mac&Moore, it’s genuinely the best thing I’ve ever done. I maybe wish that I’d organised my receipts right from the start – Jess is the organised one … As she often enjoys to remind me.
What’s your favourite quote to live/work by?
Jess: This is the quote I work by:
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said. “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take things to.” Jim Jarmusch
This is the quote I live by:
“You are what you settle for” Janis Joplin
“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim” Nora Ephron
“Your vibe attracts your tribe” No idea … Probably some cool cat.
And that's a wrap. THANK YOU again to all the legends who have appeared on our blog. We are really excited to see what 2017 will bring. Now let's get to Christmas before our liver fails...
Jess & Nat x