Australia’s highest-profile public relations agency, Sweaty Betty PR, has offered expertise and an extensive lifestyle client list for the past 15 years since its establishment in 2004. The founder and director of Sweaty Betty, Roxy Jacenko, is one of the biggest – or most likely the biggest – PR name in Australia. Senior account manager, Irene Manyk – who first began as Jacenko’s personal assistant eight years ago – told Mediaweek how the business has transformed over the decade and what it’s like working for Australia’s PR queen.
When Manyk first walked in the agency doors at the downtown Beaconsfield office in 2011, she was 21 years old. She and Jacenko shared a mutual close friend who told Manyk that without question she had to go work for Jacenko. “I started as Roxy’s personal assistant. At the time, she lived in her bachelorette pad in Woollahra and her life very much consisted of long hours in the office, mini tuna sushi rolls and skim mocha’s – very different to her busy mum life and six businesses now.
“I watched every little thing the boss did, every move she made, and I listened to all of the discussions in the office. This gave me the skills I needed to move into a junior account manager role, which was just eight weeks after starting in my PA role. I stayed here for over two years. I then went on to do an in-house role, and had a baby; now I’m back as the senior account manager.”
Manyk was actually the person who created the @sweatybettypr Instagram page which all these years later is sitting at 113K+ followers. “We are very lucky at Sweaty Betty. We have such wonderful clients. Currently I’m working with Di Stefano, Elite Body Contouring, Messy Monkeys and LIKE MILK. The teams and I work really well together; they allow me to work outside the box and the results are wonderful. I also work very closely with publicist Billy Daniels on business development.”
Manyk says the biggest change for Sweaty Betty would be the addition of the five businesses: Ministry of Talent, 18 Communications, Social Union, Pixie Bows and Roxy Jacenko Accessories. “SBPR is a communications one-stop shop; we pride ourselves on the ability to be able to produce all of a business’ requirements under one roof. We now also have a fully equipped podcast studio where @theinsiderpodcast is recorded twice a week. I’m currently working on a plan to get rid of Billy and Beccy Cambridge so I can become the next podcast star – just kidding!”
Manyk described the SBPR team as kind and deeply talented. “Kindness really sets you apart in this industry. I actually emailed Roxy a few weeks to say just this, and her response was that it has only taken 15 years. The Sweaty Betty team is Beccy (with the good hair), Billy (the dancing queen), Marlii Carroll (you may recognise her from I am Roxy), and Lyndsie Preece (the Rockstar).”
When asked what differentiates Sweaty Betty from other like-minded public relations agencies, Manyk said “everything”. “We don’t do things by the book, and that’s why clients come to us. When SBPR hosts an event, it can be clearly identified as a Sweaty Betty event. When we create a media kit, it’s clearly identifiable as Sweaty Betty work; you will never see one of our team blasting out a plain or boring pitch or bcc’ing. We think differently, and we do differently. I surprise myself sometimes, but I was literally taught by the best.”
Manyk said the business mind of Jacenko is unexplainable and how her mind works so quickly to connect the dots is just crazy. “Roxy and I have known each other for a very long time. We mentioned just the other day we have weathered some storms together. She wants me to succeed, she wants to see me shine, and she supports me to do so. She tells me daily to move in with her and the family. The plan is to take over the business – I’ll just have to chat to her kids Pixie and Hunter, but do not foresee it being an issue,” she laughed.
Mankyk told Mediaweek there is absolutely and always future plans for the agency. “We have some fabulous new clients joining the family from January 2020. There is never a dull moment at Sweaty Betty HQ, so watch this space.”