Today we’d like to introduce you to Molly Schoneveld.
Molly, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I moved to Los Angeles right after college and was lucky enough to land a dream job as an assistant to Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer. It was basically boot camp for the industry, and I was exposed to so much in a very short amount of time.
From there, I worked for the producers of the film “Wedding Crashers,” and got to see it develop from merely a concept to the world premiere. Though I loved many things about film development, I soon realized the producing path was not right for me, and I fell into entertainment PR, not really even knowing what I was getting myself into!
My first PR job was at powerhouse firm PMK/HBH (now PMK BNC), where I worked on A-list talent, Oscar campaigns, and served on the Sundance Film Festival team. It was there that I met my future business partner, Jennifer Weaver, and in 2008, we decided to start our own firm called SW PR SHOP.
Three years ago, Jenn decided to be a full-time mom, and I took over the company. This year marks the tenth anniversary of our business, and to celebrate, I rebranded the company and changed the name to The Storied Group, which I feel really encompasses my passion of representing talented people and beautiful spaces.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Looking back, I definitely realize that I was so fortunate for the early opportunities that came my way—a lot of luck being in the right place at the right time, and having met some very influential people early on in coming to LA. It is definitely who you know in this town, and coming from a very small town in North Carolina, I didn’t know a lot of people at first!
I had to work so hard in those early years networking fiercely to get every job and then having to prove myself over and over. I remember having a notebook the first year I lived here, and I would write down the name and contact info of every single person I met with info about them, and follow up. Those were the days before smartphones and really before email was in your pocket.
Phone calls were still the main source of communication (gasp!). I had to do a lot of cold calling, and start a lot of awkward conversations with, “You don’t know me, but my friend’s friend’s aunt’s grandma told me to call you for help!” In terms of starting a business, it has definitely been the most challenging and the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
My business partner and I knew virtually nothing about anything other than how to service our PR clients. We did everything on a shoestring budget: we had no office, no assistant, nothing! But, we had clients starting out, and that was really all we needed.
The two of us did every single thing ourselves, from going to the newsstand to buy copies of magazines our clients were in, to sending out the invoices and tracking down payments. I think hands down the most challenging time was the transition of losing my business partner. At the end of the day, we grew up together and learned how to be business owners together.
Though she is still a very close friend, I had to really think of myself as a CEO and hire a business coach in order to keep things going on my own. I am constantly learning, and every day there are new challenges and struggles when you are the boss and not only responsible for every single client, but also your employees.
Please tell us about The Storied Group.
My company is called The Storied Group, and we represent actors and experts, interior designers, as well as hotels and hospitality companies. Our tag is “Personal PR for talented people and beautiful spaces.” I am most proud that many of our clients who started with us from the beginning are still our clients today, so it feels like a family. I am also so proud of my team, who I really believe are the best in the business.
PR has changed so much since I first started—even in the last three years with the explosion of Instagram and personal brands. First and foremost, my clients trust that I will deliver, and they trust that I will do what I say I will. They trust my opinion, and know that I will always have their best interest at heart. I think what sets us apart is that we were forward-thinking in our approach very early on, and although our focus is personal PR, we also art direct photo shoots, curate and manage social media, consult on branding, and negotiate brand deals. I also offer a project placement service for interior designers, which I haven’t seen any other firms do. We also have a very honest approach and value integrity in an industry that seemingly does not value it very much.
Due to the nature of my business, I am privileged to have access to the most highly-coveted and in-demand experiences, personalities, and brands, so I launched The Sought After, a digital destination that offers readers inspiration at the intersection of hospitality, design and attainable luxury through the eyes of a seasoned, celebrity PR executive.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory from childhood is when I visited Los Angeles for the first time. I was so starry-eyed and in absolute awe of Hollywood. I remember my mom drove me by the famous Jose Eber salon and took me shopping at the huge Esprit store, and I thought I was hot stuff. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to live here, and there’s something special about being able to say… I did it! I’m living my childhood fantasy!
- Website: www.thestoriedgroup.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @molly.schoneveld
- Facebook: wwww.facebook.com/thesoughtafter
- Twitter: @mollyschoneveld
- Other: www.thesoughtafter.com
Ashley Burns Photography, Rhiannon Taylor