WOTSO Bondi Member Profile: Tiffany Farrington, Director of Social Diary
Tiffany Farrington is the Director of Social Diary – a platform that could, in essence, be described as something of a bible for PR businesses around the country. Tiffany is also a member at WOTSO Bondi Junction. Joining WOTSO in 2018, the Bondi space has proved the perfect home office for Tiffany’s agile team… not to mention Social Diary’s resident furry friend, Fang!
Read on as we get the low down on exactly why (and how) Social Diary quickly established itself as the little black book for agencies and brands around the country. And for the new businesses amongst us, Tiffany imparts some sage advice (and quick tips & tricks) that might just come in handy when forward planning for your own business.
1. In a snapshot, can you tell us about Social Diary and why you started it?
Social Diary is a network of PRs, Brands & Media, which has been going since 2004. We enjoy an enthusiastic membership of 99% of the industry nationally. Social Diary was a happy accident. I was running my own PR agency, and back then everyone was clashing events all over the place. I’m talking 4 beauty events in one night – often! It was madness, because events are expensive and if you’re all going for the same small pool of guests (eg beauty editors) you end up with several half empty parties. Nobody wins.
In 2004 I was putting on a huge event for Cartier and really didn’t want to clash with any other luxury brands, so I sent a simple email out to 25 top PRs asking them if they had anything on. My friendly approach garnered friendly responses, so I picked my date around their feedback and there were no clashes. Then people in my group asked if they could check their dates, and soon dates were flying around everywhere so I popped them all into a word document and sent it out every Wednesday. PRs started calling me asking if they could be on my list and within months I had 600 on it. In January 2005 I launched the website and have never looked back. We send a Daily newsletter; have databases of media/talent/brands; and throw crazy annual costume parties, which have been called the Party of the Year many times. I have also looked after the publicity for Australia’s much-loved Chef Curtis Stone for the past decade. I love my job!
2. What has been a key driver to the success of Social Diary?
It was never meant to be a business, which is what I love so much about it – the industry desperately needed it and I was simply trying to be helpful. It developed so organically as a result, nothing was ever forced. The industry adopted it immediately and have been passionate supporters of it from Day 1. Our members warmly refer to Social Diary as the PR Bible, which is so lovely.
3. What has been the biggest learning since starting the business? And what advice would you give to someone starting their own business?
In the early days of your own business you can be so focussed on your product or service and the creative side it’s easy to ignore the compliance side. Your tax obligations, superannuation, accounting – all the boring stuff! It’s human nature for new business owners to kind of stick their head in the sand about it all, then you get your first whopping tax bill and it can take your breath away. If you don’t get on top of this from the outset you can really become unstuck. I got my head around forecasting (after one of those major tax bill shocks!) and even started to enjoy that side. Once you get your ducks in a row and know your tax obligations 18 months ahead you can get on with the fun stuff and feel secure.
Also, as my father always taught me, your staff should be the very first people paid. The tax department is very patient, they know they’re going to get their money in the end! You can also make repayment deals with suppliers during a tough cash flow period – but your staff can be living week to week so they must always come first.
4. How have you seen your business be successfully fostered by being located in WOTSO’s coworking environment?
We are huge fans of the whole co-working trend having been part of it for the last 5 years! As a small business I love that my team can enjoy all the buzz of being in a big and people-filled environment. We moved to WOTSO Bondi in 2018 when it first opened and love the friendliness, location, activities and resources. I joke that we came for the open bar (hehe). The girls love the daily sweet treats particularly around 3pm slump time, and I love that our company mascot, my beloved Fang, can join us there! Dogs in the office make for a happy work day.
5. What does 2019 look like for Social Diary?
We have major plans afoot after having launched in NZ last year. Watch this space!