‘I’m just extremely grateful for the women who have come before us, who broke so many boundaries, and those who continue to do so.’
In this blog, we speak with Kat Bailey, founder of The Mother Lode- A unique Public Relations & Communications company with a focus on music. Kat talks through a typical day in her life, being true to herself and the importance of a work-life balance!
Can you tell us a bit about you and your career:
I’ve been working in the music industry since 2001. I started out at Hard To Find Records working on the front desk, doing phone and internet sales, arranging all their international advertising with magazines like Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, ID&T, Groove, Urb, XLR8R, and writing the weekly ‘Miss Kitty Fisher’ newsletter.
I moved to London, then got a break working with the Most Wanted group, doing PR for a lot of hard house and trance DJs, guys like Marcus Schulz, Marco V, Tidy Trax, Euphoria, Yoji Biomehanika, WildChild, the Hard Dance Awards. From there I moved over to Get In! PR working with everyone from Armin, Fedde le Grand and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike to events like Mysteryland, Tomorrowland and Ultra.
Then, in 2010 I moved to Thailand and spent the next seven years living and working over there, giving me an amazing opportunity to make huge in-roads into the emerging Asian electronic market. I came back to the UK in 2017 and in October of that year I took the plunge and set up my own PR company, The Mother Lode. The name had been bouncing around my head for three years and I’m a firm believer that if something keeps sticking then it’s the absolute right thing to do. Two years in and the company is doing really well, there are now two of us, we’re working with some amazing artists and companies and it’s a real privilege to be able to build something from the ground up that reflects the values that you think are most important.
I moved to London, then got a break working with the Most Wanted group, doing PR for a lot of hard house and trance DJs.
A typical day in your career:
I’m an early bird so I’m usually in the office before 8 am. Our office is in Brighton on the sixth floor with an amazing panoramic view over the city from the Downs all the way over to the sea. The first thing I get to see is the sunrise and it’s a really beautiful way to start the day. My first email is always a group email to a couple of people with my gratitudes for the day.
How you start your day is so important, it sets you up and so I actively choose to start my working day on a positive note. Once that’s done I’ll go through all my emails that have come in overnight, then work my way through my to-do list. I like to get all the fiddly bits out of the way first so I can then dive into the more substantial things, like writing press releases, running through media lists, coming up with creative ideas to pitch in, speaking to clients and potential new business.
Lunch is usually at the desk because when I’m in the flow I hate interrupting myself, I’d rather just get on with it and stay focused. I finish at 4 pm. If there are things that need doing later that evening, like phone calls and meetings with clients in different time zones, I’ll do those at home, but I do think it’s really important to cut off once you’re done, to give your brain a breather for the day. It’s hard because my phone is constantly pinging but unless it’s urgent I’ll give it a wide berth until the next day.
How you start your day is so important, it sets you up and so I actively choose to start my working day on a positive note.
What is an important initiative that you feel passionate about in your role?
We run a four day week at The Mother Lode. Life isn’t for working, it’s for living, and work should be something that fits into that. I want to run a company full of people really loving life – our company tagline is “for the love of life”. I want our team to come to work buzzing to be here, full of ideas and energy that they can pump into their work, then go home and enjoy themselves, enjoy their lives, live it to the max.
Getting the balance right is so important, it’s also a USP that makes us attractive as a company to new staff. I want to have the best talent on board, whether that’s the people we work with or the team that works with me. Ultimately I want to run the best PR company in the world and having a happy, productive, positive staff force is a key part of that.
Ultimately I want to run the best PR company in the world and having a happy, productive, positive staff force is a key part of that.
What do you think gave you the drive and determination to succeed?
I know I can, so I do. In my head I can see everything I want, down to the office, the view out of the windows, the atmosphere, the buzz, even the early morning quiet when I’m first in before everyone else descends. I think having that vision in my head, knowing what I want, gives me a singular feeling of accomplishment. I know it’s going to happen, it’s as simple as that.
What’s great about being a female in your role?
It’s been great seeing other women who I’ve worked with over the years coming through the ranks at the same time. It’s a definite turning point right now in the male/female balance within the music industry and I can feel the empowerment of other women around me taking control of their stories. There’s still a long way to go, for sure, and the playing field needs a lot more levelling across many different areas but I feel really privileged to be part of such fantastic female energy and drive right now.
It’s a definite turning point right now in the male/female balance within the music industry and I can feel the empowerment of other women around me taking control of their stories.
What is your biggest achievement in life?
Coming out as gay. That was the moment when I chose to be absolutely true to myself. Everything wasn’t solved all of a sudden and I still have a long way to go on my personal journey but that was a defining moment when I finally faced up to something that I’d been trying to deny for pretty much the whole of my life. Once I’d been honest with myself and everyone else about who I was, my relationships and experiences became much more honest and true.
What is the biggest lesson that you’ve learnt along the way?
To trust myself. I’m a big believer in gut instincts and they almost always turn out to be spot on. And to stick to my guns about what I believe too. The way I do things is what sets me apart from everyone else, and that’s incredibly important to celebrate and trust in.
Outside your work, what are your favourite hobbies and pastimes?
I absolutely LOVE food and cooking. Being in the kitchen and cooking is a really relaxing process for me. I’ll sometimes be cooking and realise I haven’t had a single thought in my head for about an hour! I can lose myself in the action entirely which is a really valuable tool to have.
I can watch cooking shows till the cows come home, I’m an absolute sucker for the Food Channel. At some point, I’d like to work my way around the world’s top restaurants. Food PR is definitely next on the agenda for The Mother Lode. I’ve also gotten into gardening in a big way since coming back from Thailand. There’s something so satisfying about seeing things grow from scratch and coming to fruition. It’s just like building a company in many ways.
Do you have a mantra you live your life by?
Love your life. I think that everything starts with love, that everything is made better by love, and that if you do everything from a place of love you can’t go wrong.
What three tips would you give to young females starting their careers?
-Trust yourself. You know yourself better than anyone.
-Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s always better to ask first than try to repair after the fact, and there’s nothing wrong with saying that you don’t know something.
-Surround yourself with the right kind of people, whether that’s at work or at home. The energy of friends, family and colleagues goes a long way and the more positivity you have around you, the further you’ll go.
What is the best bit of advice that you have ever been given?
The only thing that’s stopping you is you. Once I realised that I began to open doors for myself and step through.
Can you talk about one woman who has impacted your life?
My wife 🙂 She really is the most amazing person on my planet and continually pushes me to new levels. She’s my inspiration, she’s my motivation, she’s my absolute joy. When I’m having a down moment she’s always there to pull me through and when I doubt myself she gives me the kick I need to open my eyes and see the reality. She accepts me for everything that I am and believes in me 110%. She just makes me really, really happy.
What are your key motivators?
I want to make a difference, I want to create a company that does things properly and values people fully. For me, the motivation of building a living, breathing entity is absolutely key to pushing myself and the company through the ranks. It’s incredibly exciting.
Do you think enough is being done by businesses to address gender imbalance?
Slowly. The fact that there’s still a difference in paychecks is something that absolutely beggars belief. The fact that some companies require women to wear high heels as mandatory doesn’t just border on the ridiculous, it’s crossed over and moved in. There’s still a lot of work to do but thankfully there is a new generation coming through, not just of women realising their value and worth but also men who are on the same page. The more women push and the more men listen, acknowledge and accept, the further we’ll get together. I’m just extremely grateful for the women who have come before us, who broke so many boundaries, and those who continue to do so.
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
Know how everything works. Knowledge is power.
What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Listen (properly) and learn. There are always people who can give you advice, there are always lessons that can help you, there are always people who know more than you. Be open-minded, make sure you understand fully, then trust yourself to make the right decision once you’ve got all the information.
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?
Everything’s going to be ok. In fact it’s going to be more than ok. It’s going to be absolutely fabulous.