“Kris Jenner works hard, but Jessy Marshall works harder.” That’s just one of the testimonials to come from a client at Hive HQ, founded by Sydney-based public relations and events maestro Jessy Marshall, who since founding her boutique agency has cultivated a reputation for working with brands that can proudly declare themselves at ‘cult’ status.
It doesn’t just come down to sheer luck either, because Marshall is as powerhouse as they come. Starting her career in beauty therapy, the PR specialist found herself as a trainer and business consultant for leading skincare brands, before quickly realising her passion—and talents—lay in helping strengthen brands’ visibility across the beauty and fashion space, ultimately resulting in getting their products seen, and subsequently loved, not just nationally, but globally too.
“I decided I didn’t want to own a beauty product or a clinic and started analysing what I liked,” explains Marshall. “I loved the marketing and events side and decided it was time to study. I enrolled in university for a Bachelor in Business and Marketing, while teaching beauty therapy at TAFE part-time.
“From here I started interning, which landed me my first agency role as a coordinator. I loved being hands-on and decided to go part-time with university. From here I landed my dream job as a beauty publicist working my way up to a senior. It was then I realised I didn’t need the degree so I paused and focused on full-time work.”
That entrepreneurial drive might not have always been clear to Marshall, but it’s evident in everything she does. Before launching her boutique agency, and even following, she always found herself working on some sort of ‘side hustle’ — whether it be a spray tanning business from home, co-founding a dance studio in Sydney, and even launching a podcast, Rogue, which gave a behind-the-scenes look at the glitz and glamour of PR.
“I never looked at myself as an entrepreneur, however, I do love starting and building businesses,” she explains. “When I was a senior publicist working my dream job at the time, I was frustrated by the fact I didn’t have flexibility or freedom to choose who I wanted to work with. I initially left to do freelance work, which turned into building the agency. It was a natural progression as I had people reaching out wanting my support on their business.”
Marshall’s business motto is simple, “to create buzz”, which she’s certainly achieved when looking to the brands the Hive team has worked alongside. They include Bangn Body, Naked Sundays, Prene Bags, and Etoile Collective, all of which are globally recognised.
“In short, we create buzz, or brand awareness. As a publicist, our job is to gain positive brand recognition,” says Marshall of Hive’s goals. “Whether that is via traditional media, social media, brand partnerships or events. Our aim at Hive is to make your brand buzz or make the honey! We believe a 360 approach works best, not just media exposure or not just social exposure, we believe the ones who look at all avenues have the best success.”
When asked what she believes makes a brand stand out, Marshall explains it comes down to “purpose” and “difference”, which are both crucial in creating an identity that sets itself apart.
She adds, “Ensuring a brand has a marketing strategy and knows how to execute it will always keep them front of mind to their consumers, which is the difference between getting lost or standing out.”
Discerning that difference ahead of time is something Marshall has been acutely aware of since founding her agency, always making sure the brands she brings on board at Hive are ones that align with her own business goals and values.
“It’s best to align with people who speak the same language,” she says. “We are approached by brands daily and the first thing I look at is the website, then the product offering. If I don’t feel aligned I don’t pursue it. We also then might speak with the brand if we are interested, and again if I do not feel our values align, I won’t move forward. I have found too many times in the past that if we aren’t aligned we won’t achieve and as an agency, we need people to trust and believe in what we can do. The proof is there, we have had success with brands who trust us solely.”
With that trust, magic can happen. Or as Marshall explains, when clients “say yes” to Hive’s ideas and allow them to execute them, both visions line up and result in the “wins” that make all the hard work worthwhile.
The synergy between client and agency is key, says Marshall, who has developed an understanding of how important clear and transparent communication with clients is, to get the ideal results for both teams involved.
“Good clear communication, checking in and making sure they know you are on their team—just like any good relationship you have to have their back. Overall, have fun! Yes, it is business but we ensure we’re always having fun, which means we will achieve the goals set out and at the end of the day we want success for everyone. Having open communication and always working out what the next step is together, is the way I maintain relationships.”
Marshall admits strong communication lies as the core “reason for success”, and although the Hive HQ team works externally from brands’ teams, they are ultimately an “extension”, in the know of what is happening from all angles.
“We generally know what's upcoming in terms of new product launches, through to partnership opportunities with talent. In essence, we can know of a new product 12 months prior to its launch as we assist in navigating the strategy from a media and talent perspective, which they work into their marketing plans.”
Such is the nature of her business, Marshall is admittedly a ‘connector’, always wanting people to find connections that can help better themselves and their business. It’s with this inherent trait that Marshall says she’s found the most unexpected element of her journey, realising that not everyone has that ingrained into who they are.
“I personally am a connector, I connect people or I connect brands. Ultimately, I want people to make connections, and I’ve learned that not everyone will recommend you. No matter how long you have known someone, the success of the brand, the relationship with the editor or talent, the length of time you have had the friendship, they may not want to tell people who they work with. This is something I have struggled with.”
“As a service-based business, we rely on recommendations, and I think people often forget how far a recommendation can go,” Marshall adds.
Navigating a growing business over the past 18 months has also proven to come with a new set of challenges and demands, with Marshall describing it as a “constant re-navigating or changing of direction.”
“I am very grateful we have had clients stand by us in these uncertain times,” she reflects. “To bring on a new client and still balance our current clients is via processes and systems which, in all honesty, we are still building out given we are still a new agency. We have team meetings most days on priorities as well as looking at who in the team executes what to ensure we are most efficient. Having a team that surrounds you that is also nimble and hungry to achieve helps us to keep balance.”
One such factor of Hive HQ that really sets it apart is its events, with Marshall regularly executing brand events that are not only masterfully stunning and show-stopping, but aid in visibility, the core of the agency’s mission.
“We love an event! I think whenever planning an event you need to acknowledge the client brief, what is it you want to achieve,” says Marshall.
Hive has hosted its fair share of events in its three years, but most recently the agency helped bring two brand visions to life—a boat party for Bangn Body’s new skin discovery range, as well as a booty burn pilates class for The Booty co, with both a “huge success”.
Marshall says a launch event must have a ‘why’, saying “holding an event for no reason means people are left disappointed.” Other factors to consider include “location, look and feel, as well as how you can make it different to anything already done.”
“Don’t overthink it,” Marshall notes. “Some of our simplest events have been the most successful.”
Reflecting on Hive, from beginning to now, Marshall is proud to say she has achieved more than she “could have imagined,” adding she can’t “wait to see what’s next.”
“Looking back on the last three years, I think our highlights have been our growth, our clients feedback being so positive, the campaigns we get to work across, the events we get the create and the people we get to connect with daily! Those are all highlights. Not many people would be able to say they get to speak with editors or talent most days but we do!”
Follow Jessy Marshall on Instagram here: @jessymarshall.