Laura Fox

Laura Fox is the Co-Founder of Off the Wall; a creative consultancy agency specialising in brand, communications and customer experience.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Honestly, no. One of my biggest flaws is that I’ve never been a very good long-term planner. However, I do think there is a risk in over-planning things. You’ve got to allow opportunities for life to take you in different directions and overplanning can sometimes mean missing out on these opportunities and moments.

What’s exciting about work in 2023 and the future is that people aren’t expected to be one-dimensional and have one linear career journey. People have the ability now more than ever to get exposure to all sorts of different career paths.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

We follow the motto, “You’re only as good as your next job”. This means that we need to be constantly looking for work and finding opportunities to network. Balancing this alongside actually delivering for our existing clients can be difficult but we challenge ourselves to say yes to everything that comes our way even if, at first, it doesn’t seem like it will lead to anything. For example, some of our best connections have come from non-professional events such as dinners or parties that we didn’t attend with the intention of networking.

Maintaining a work-life balance can be challenging for anyone but it is made harder when working with your partner. Ed and I met at work so we already had some experience working together but we have learnt to set boundaries such as having set times to talk about work and not bringing it home with us.

Starting the business during Covid was also extremely difficult. Setting up a business while living together and only seeing each other was intense but setting clear boundaries from the start definitely helped.

We have been lucky in that a lot of our clients need us for different reasons and skills so, whilst running a business together, we are also able to work separately quite often.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Firstly, creating the brand Folk. We were challenged to create this from scratch within a very short timeframe, which was difficult but successful and was key in getting us where we are today. The Folk brand itself has grown incredibly since then, gaining over 200,000 visits to the website and over 12,000 enquiries since launching just a year ago.

We are also extremely proud of how quickly the Folk studios were leased by residents, with 70% being leased within 6 weeks of launch at our second building, Sunday Mills.

In terms of clients, we’re extremely proud of the client work we have achieved since launching. We have built and continue to build a diverse client base including hotels, retail, hospitality brands and mobility companies. At the moment, I am working on a campaign with a hotel brand that I’m really excited about while Ed has been working with retail and hospitality brands and is doing some great work for both.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I think success is a combination of timing, luck and tenacity – all of which were on our side at the time of starting the business. At the time, we were approached by our first client which gave us a vital springboard for the business. Since then we have been stirred by this initial success to go after other businesses.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I think mentorship is often a loaded word. I view it as more of an abstract thing: it’s about having a network of strong relationships with people you respect and being open to receiving and offering advice. I have lots of people in my life that I consider to be unofficial mentors. I go to these people for advice, guidance and support and likewise, I have people that come to me for those things.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

Mandatory pay transparency would go a huge way to increasing gender parity.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

I had an interesting start in my career. I went into an industry and job that I didn’t enjoy because I felt like it was what I should be doing and what my peers were doing. If I could go back and give advice to myself, I would say not to give up on doing something that brings you joy, inspires and motivates you. Establish those boundaries for yourself, and decide what will motivate you and make you happy as well as what you are able to deliver.

At the time, I struggled for a really long time in a job that I disliked and it can be hard to think outside the box when it comes to career options. However, I think it is easier now to do this as there is more awareness of alternative career paths.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

We have already begun experimenting with an associate model in which we bring in an external workforce to help with the workload. We’ve found this way of working very interesting and helpful especially as the business grows so it’s definitely one we plan on continuing with going forward. Now that we are a year and a half into the business, our ambition is to expand our client base and also move into other sectors. We’ll continue to use the associate model to do so.

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