Where are you based?
What job do you do?
Marketing Manager at Calla Shoes
How did you get into marketing/communications?
I had absolutely no idea I was getting into marketing when in 2007, at 13 years old, I started a blog about celebrity fails and no make up looks. I still had no idea what it was that I was doing when that blog grew to be the second most popular one in my native Poland. Although the subject of my long-forgotten blog is not one I would ever condone now, building an audience was something I thoroughly enjoyed.
Funnily enough, when at 16 I started managing what was back then known as ‘fan pages’ on Facebook (if memory serves right), for a few restaurants that I frequented in my home town of Krakow, I still had no idea that what I was doing was marketing. It wasn’t until I was approached by the owners of the said restaurants to professionally manage their social media presence that I realised. However, even then I didn’t see marketing as a career. That quickly changed when my attempt at studying Politics had proven to be futile, and I realised the best course of action was to continue doing what I love and am good at – and so I enrolled into a BSc Marketing course at University.
What are you most proud of in your career as a marketing/communications professional?
I manage marketing for Calla Shoes, a brand of stylish footwear for women who suffer from bunions. I love that our products at Calla are problem-driven solutions, because it means that I get to connect women with a product that I know will truly improve their life. I am the most proud of the messages we often get, in which our customers say we’ve ‘changed their life’. It’s a small thing, but knowing that I have helped connect these women with something that makes them so happy is a source of great pride for me.
How has marketing/communications helped the organisations you’ve worked for?
How has it not helped? There is no growth without marketing – whether it comes to growing by obtaining new customers, or nurturing your existing ones to stay with you as you grow. I think the example of Calla Shoes is the most fitting here – two years ago, I was a Marketing Intern, and also essentially the entire marketing budget. Six months later, I became the company’s first full time member of staff. Today, we can proudly say that we’ve provided women in 50+ countries worldwide with comfortable shoes that fit their feet. We’ve employed smart marketing tactics to grow with a shoestring budget, expanding to the point where investors had spotted our growth and were keen to give us money to enable it further.
What challenges have you overcome on your professional journey to where you are today?
The biggest challenge to overcome for me was one within my head: it took me a while to understand that I could be a good copywriter and marketer with English as my second language. In fact, I have grown to appreciate it is an advantage. I felt quite insecure about my job prospects when I first arrived in the UK for university – will I ever be able to be ‘playful’ with the language, in the way that native speakers are and in the way that is required in copywriting? Will I ever recognise the hidden dynamics of the culture to which I am meant to market? All of this came with time. Being from a different culture and language background has given me the ability to gather a deeper understanding of the one that I have immersed myself into, because I had something to compare it to.
Do you have any words of wisdom for someone starting out in the marketing/communications industry?
Always, always, always, stay on top of industry news. Follow opinion leaders (Social Chain, Rand Fishkin, Avinash Kaushik and Neil Patel are good starting points) , learn from them, make sure you are up to date with the latest platform features and trends. Being an early adopter pays off!
Also, try to ditch impostor syndrome as early on as you can. We have all felt it at some point (yes, even the CEOs, and probably even the opinion leaders I’ve listed above), and the way I look at it, surely we couldn’t all possibly be impostors?
Where can we find you online?
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