In conversation with Clarissa Harris
Clarissa is simply put, a breath of fresh air! Not only is she a personal friend of mine, but also someone who I look up to. You see, Clarissa is one of those people who light up a room when she walks in, she has an energy about her, a warmth almost, she is also incredibly generous with her time and willingness to lend a hand. She is also the founder of True Tribe, and an incredible mum to Zephyr. Let’s meet Clarissa…
Tell us a bit about yourself? What is your background?
I am the co-director of True Tribe alongside my husband Tim. True Tribe is a boutique communications agency specialising in PR, social and events across the hospitality, food & beverage and lifestyle space. Prior to that, I worked as a communications manager at a law firm before moving to a PR agency.
How, when and why did you decide to launch True Tribe? What was the lightbulb moment?
True Tribe initially started as a passion project in the form of a blog. Back in 2014, Tim and I created a website documenting cool stuff happening in our area and people were responding well. Tim took the photos and I wrote the articles. The aha moment was about a six months later, when businesses began to approach us to produce similar content for print and digital.
It can be incredibly daunting starting your own business. What do you think equipped you for it and what gave you the conviction to actually do it?
We had outgrown our jobs and were curious to know what it would be like to run our own business. I had lived and breathed PR and was ready to go out on my own. It was either now or never. Once we resigned from our jobs, that was it. We had to make it work.
What were the major obstacles or challenges, especially unforeseen ones?
In the early days, managing our time was especially challenging. We were working 80-hour weeks, leaving zero time for ourselves. Finding the right people to build a solid team, gave us time to reflect, refresh and grow the business.
What were the unexpected rewards or highlights?
Watching our clients grow and surpass goals year after year has been a major highlight. The subsequent referrals are the biggest compliment and keep us going. We’re constantly pinching ourselves over the amount of profiled clients we get to work with.
Having your own business can at times lead to self-doubt. Do you relate to this and how does it manifest for you ? How do you combat it?
In the early days, self-doubt was omnipresent. While it can be tempting to entertain imposter syndrome, remember there’s a reason why a client is reaching out to you. They’ve heard good things and it’s about living up to your name.
On the flip side, what are your hopes and visions for putting your work out there – how do you hope the world benefits from your work?
If we can bring some sort of value or perspective that wasn’t there before, then our job is done.
What relationships have been integral to your journey?
Apart from my relationship with Tim, some of our longest serviced clients have become like family. They’ve given us room to trial new things and approach what we do with confidence. Beyond that, we’ve surrounded ourselves with people who we trust to do better in areas we’re not necessarily experts in. From web devs to accountants, everyone’s helped us evolve.
How does being a woman impact your work?
Being a business woman in this day and age has its up and downs. While it’s exciting being at the forefront of change, you are still reminded of what previous women had to go through by some yet-to-be-educated people in the industry. Faithfully, soon enough people won’t even flinch when it comes to gender, so it’s exciting to know myself and fellow boss ladies are part of a bigger standard to come.
What advice would you give women wanting to start their own thing?
Don’t be afraid to move, dream, shake-up, f-up, pioneer or listen. Because all of things will help you become who you want and are meant to be.
Our ethos at Jasmine Alexa is encouraging women to set their own pace. How do you slow it down and set your own pace?
Ideally, I try to slow it down every Sunday afternoon by mapping out a personal WIP and cross-checking with my diary. It’s this kind of discipline which helps me take control and set the tone for the week. Some ways to help slow things down for me include: cooking for friends, swimming, weekends out of town with my family or a lazy night in with a movie.
Coffee or Tea: Tea
Morning or Night: Morning
Books or Podcasts: Books
Beach Holiday or Adventure Holiday: Beach Holiday
Summer or Winter: Summer