A Branding Band: A Meeting with Kelly Brady

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Public Relations is quite an intimidating field, much more so when your background is usually facing the front of the camera, yet Kelly Brady doesn’t seem so nervous.  She has founded a powerful branding firm at the age of 30 and when you sit down with her you can’t help but feel like she has much bigger plans in the making.  I tried to figure out what genius perspectives are floating around the native Californian’s head, without being too intrusive of-course…


FL: “So let’s start with the generic stuff, what’s your story?”


KB: “Well, I moved to NY at 21 and I was an actress/model. I always dreamed of making it in the big city, so I took the risk and moved.”


FL: “ When did you decide public relations was the career path for you?”


KB: “When I first moved here, I landed an internship at Lizzie Grubman Public Relations and what I realized is that I really loved the entertainment industry.
I can remember really wanting to be in the mix and be very good at my job. I could do that being a publicist, but not so much as an aspiring actress/model. I just absorbed all the information I could and really learned from the people around me.  During my internship, Lizzie and her PR firm was chosen to be the company of choice for MTV’s ‘PoweR Girls,’ which was extremely exciting.  My evolution on the show really honed in on my choice of whether or not I wanted to stay and get a position at Lizzie Grubman Public Relations or pursue acting and modeling.  I chose to stay the firm and worked my way up the ranks.
 In eight years, I made it to VP and then at 30, I thought, it’s now or never that I start my own PR firm.  It was very scary because I loved Lizzie and working for her, so I went to her and told her my idea and I was very lucky to have her blessing. To this day, Lizzie and I are still great friends  and she is still my mentor. And now Brandsway Creative is six years old.”
Kelly Brady, Hannah Bronfman

Kelly Brady giving a speech with Hannah Bronfman at the DKNY Ovarian Cancer Research fundraising dinner at Georgica in the Hamptons with The Daily Front Row

FL: “What about the entertainment industry draws you to it? Whether it is acting, modeling, or PR?”


KB: “Pop culture – I have really always had a fascination with pop culture. And the biggest appeal to me that came with PR is having the power to take a product and making it cool.  Being able to have that voice in the middle of such a fast-paced industry is truly rewarding. I just love PR, having an idea and seeing it come to fruition; it’s super hard work but just very rewarding.”

FL: “How would you define public relations? Since it holds such a mysterious role/description from the outside perspective.”


KB: “Helping define what a brand really is and who it stands for. It is your reputation in the media: the control of your brand, how people perceive it, in the public eye and media.  Now, PR is not just traditional media such as print, but it has also expanded to social media so it is imperative to have a strong brand identity. And publicist themselves wears many hats: in social media, in the press, finding opportunities, being able to translate your brand persona, etc.  Every client is a brand.”

Rachel Krupa, Ali Zweben, Lizzie Grubman, Millie Monyo, and Kelly Brady

Cast of Power Girls on MTV

FL: “What are your favorite types of clients and why?”


KB: “I love clients that I can start from the drawing board, right from the beginning. Something is really magical about taking a cool, innovative brand concept and being the first one to bring it to the forefront and to the market.  I also love finding new talent in the industry.”


FL: “What makes a great client?”


KB: “A client that is communicative.  We’re not magicians or mind readers; we need to be able to communicate with each other.  I want to know what the client is thinking and what they want so we can really deliver results. Also a client who is creative and gives us a lot of content to work with.”

Joe Schildhorn, Kelly Brady

Kelly with New York’s favorite event photographer Joe Schildhorn from BFA at the Cinema Society event

FL: “How would you describe the company culture at Brandsway Creative?”


We are a boutique PR firm so I want people to be passionate about what they do.  We’re casual, we’re fun, we have dogs running around the office and as long as we are producing great results for our clients I want to build a fun atmosphere here.  We’re relaxed, supportive.  Everyone who work for me is like my family. If something is not working, we get together as a group and figure out how to make it work, so if someone has a roadblock and we all put our heads together to get through it because even if all my employees have their own divisions, one persons client is everyone’s client. I am a huge believer in teamwork, I don’t believe in I. My favorite quote is here (this is written on the chalkboard behind her): ‘I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.’ [by Thomas Jefferson]”


FL: “What is one of the clients that you were ecstatic to bring to the forefront?”


KB: “Winky Lux, who is right next door. My best friend was launching her beauty business and she was working out of the Brandsway Office at an open desk we had. I thought it would be so great that once she grew her company, she could use the space next door and we could be neighbors! Then she got her last round of funding and she said she could afford to rent out that side and pay you for PR.  And we launched in October, really focusing on bloggers, social media influences and digital outlets. We created such a big noise taking this non-traditional route that when we launched, we had all these stores knocking at our door.  We really used a unique route blending some traditional, but really using social media influencers, to hone in our brand and we’re already selling worldwide in only six months.”


FL: “Why move to NYC?”


KB: I have always been fascinated with it from seeing it in TV shows and movies.  It’s so funny because there’s the show Ally McBeal, which was actually not shot in NYC, it was shot in Boston  however (but another metropolitan city), in the opening scene she would always put on her tennis shoes and walk to work and then she’d turn on the corner and put her heels on. And I just would always think ‘I really want that.’ And obviously, New York is the media capital of the world with such an eclectic mix of industries and I feel like a lot of things are born here. Everything is at your fingertips here and as Frank Sinatra ‘If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.’


Ali Lasky (Shadow PR), Kelly Brady and Jasmin Rosenberg (Variety Reporter) at the TV Guide Cover Magazine Party for the Outlanders

FL: “What type of people are you looking to hire, who do you want to bring into your family?”


KB: “I’m looking for people who have true passion for PR. For me, what I do doesn’t feel like work so I want someone who is eager at every project that I give them and really finds them exciting – I mean I think they are exciting so I want someone who has equal enthusiasm. Coming out of college, it is really about experience; you need more than a degree, you need connections and contacts that’s what’s truly valuable in PR.  The only way to really get those is through experience so I heavily encourage interning while in college.  So working for small boutique firms or large firms or in-house PR, just trying on different hats and getting a feel for what they like. So once they come to interview, they have something to bring to the table. About three of the girls here started off as interns and move in to full time account executives, actually one of the them is now the PR Director of the Talent Department.”


FL: “What are some of the best lessons you’ve learned from starting your own business?”


KB: “You either have it or you don’t, so it’s definitely not for everybody. But the biggest challenge is really having that full 360 picture. So, you may be really great at what you do and you want to do it on your own but it’s not just about that—you have employees, rent, collecting money, etc. It takes a certain type of person to do that but it’s rewarding.  You get to build a company culture, you’re managing employees…I love being a teacher so I love seeing younger girls and seeing them have a passion for PR like I did and teaching them how to do it. You’re also always working 24 hours a day, for example if I lose a client, I have to think of gaining another client and what went wrong so it really encompasses who you are as a person but I don’t mind it. I love Brandsway and I love what I created and I’m just really glad I had what it takes. So I’ve made it past the five years so I feel very grateful.”

Brandsway Creative describes their culture on their website: “We are realists, who believe that building a brand is only as important as how it is shared. Brandsway Creative express brands in fresh, highly creative, and unique ways-fusing downtown culture, and taste-making tactics.”

Feel free to visit their website: BrandswayCreative.com.

All photos provided by Brandsway Creative.

If there’s anywhere you’d like me to visit in the NYC area, please tell me at francesca@coutureinthesuburbs.com!


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