Jessica Henig is a leading female entrepreneur within the celebrity, digital and music marketing arena.
She is the founder of Unlocked Branding one of the UK’s leading companies for talent representation and development.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I founded Unlocked branding which is a Talent Management agency. We manage clients across social media, music and sport. We also have a PR and music marketing division connecting the dots across sectors in entertainment to a target market. I started my journey in the industry interning. One of my favourite memories is working at MTV throughout University. I met some great people who I’m still friends or work with now from those years. I always thrived off a team effort, and I’m glad I can now work with some of the same people that gave me my first opportunities. It always comes full circle!
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I’ve always been strategic in a non-traditional way. I write targets down pen to paper, but it was never a typical 5 year plan. For example I never thought I would have my own business when I was younger, in the early days I just enjoyed the job and loved being amongst it. I saw a gap in the market with the digital space so timing wise it was the right step for me. With the market moving so quick, every 3 months I have a vision for the next steps and implement learnings.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
As a woman that is relatively young, not being taken seriously at the start was deterring slightly, but I always knew I had a lot of knowledge and discipline to not have to worry about what people do or don’t say. At the start of the business I had to convince executives to utilise Instagram and Youtube, and constantly explain the influencer route, they brushed it off every time, or got me in to just share my knowledge with no compensation. Now the same people are knocking on my door, and the price has gone up.
What has been your biggest achievements to date?
Personally it’s buying my property and renovating it last year. Professionally there’s many collaborations we aimed for and executed that I thought would take longer. Also when I signed a 3 year consultancy with the iconic label Virgin EMI (Universal Music) it felt like a big achievement as a 27 year old woman being in the digital space as an executive. I was helping to create cross promotional activities across entertainment and social media, working on campaigns for major artists, with multiple no1 campaigns, from the likes of Katy Perry to Queen!
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
Discipline is the major factor. Getting up and showing up even on your worst days, consistency through any climate. There’s no excuse for not getting it done if you are able to.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I feel like I mentor my clients and staff, I’m a shoulder to cry on and an advice giver (sometimes I need to take my own advice!). I never was the type of person to just do transactional deals if I’m working with these clients every single day, speaking to them more than my own family! There was always aftercare and thought behind who I wanted to represent and build that community culture. I try to help or respond to people that DM me on Instagram or email me for advice or direction. With the internet it’s a lot easier now to get direct to people. But I would say social media etiquette is very important to start that relationship, and make sure you are prepared with questions and use that knowledge to better your position. I wish I would have had a female mentor I could call on, share wins and challenges. I’m lucky I can look to my peers for support, or just to vent who so happen to all be in music, Harry Knyt (Milk & Honey), Adex who is Aitch’s manager (he runs NQ) also Carlyn Calder (WeVibeOut). I appreciate Ted Cockle (Hypnosis) and Jurgen Grebner (Interscope Records) for their consistent support they have put me into opportunities.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
In my experience I’ve noticed many big companies put a woman in charge to ‘show face’ but still have an array of men who actually make the decisions and look out for each other. I do think it’s changing, but there has to be more transparency and mentoring young women so they are capable and understand the importance of the role and passing on the baton.
If you could give a piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
I used to always tell myself at a young age ‘you will not let yourself down’ it definitely was instilled in me to have values and go for what I want. I also loved Beyonce interviews, the point of always betting on yourself and working to be independent. But I would say to trust the timing of YOUR life. You will be rewarded for your hard work in more ways than you realise.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
To keep building and learning, the market is so fast paced that there’s always new exciting projects and ideas to execute. I also want to expand my team.
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