When you think of a corporate office space, blank white walls, fluorescent lighting and sterile office furniture might immediately come to mind. But that couldn’t be further from the truth in the pattern- and color-packed office of Be Inspired PR!
We recently sat down with Leila Lewis—CEO and Brand Manager for the creative PR agency—about daily life inside the BIPR offices, plus the scoop on how the design came to be. All we can say is this: prepare yourself to ‘be inspired’ by this vivacious, beachy workspace, and don’t be surprised if you take away a few key ideas for redecorating your home, too. Welcome to BIPR!
Where did you start your career? What prompted you to start your own PR firm?
My career started in publishing. I worked for a trade publication in its marketing department and became more and more involved in planning the magazine’s events. When the publication sold, I had the decision to either stay on board or try something else. I decided to pursue my love for events in the wedding space, and found I had a knack for getting people published. That spurred the idea to start the first-ever wedding PR firm back in 2007.
What was the scariest aspect of starting your own business?
I was told by so many (colleagues, friends, people within the industry) that my idea would never work, and that there wasn’t a need for my service.
If we had a chance to peek at your schedule, what would an average day look like?
- 6:15 a.m.: Quick run through emails and social media, then up with my kids for breakfast and morning dance parties.
- 9 a.m.: Get to the office and get back on emails.
- 10 a.m.: Meet with one of my consulting clients.
- 12 p.m.: Pick my little one up from preschool.
- 1 p.m.: Back in the office working with my staff, taking calls and reviewing client negotiations.
- 6:30 p.m.: Home making dinner with my kids and putting them to bed.
- 9 p.m.: Take a look at social media and text friends and family.
- 9:30 p.m.: Maybe squeezing in an episode of my favorite TV show, but I don’t have much time for that these days, so the goal is to be in bed by 10:30 p.m. so I can fully rest and function the next day.
How do you handle work/life balance?
Every day is a new challenge. My goal is to try and be focused on where I am. If I’m at home with my kids, then that’s my focus, and if I’m at the office, then I try to put my focus 100 percent there. It doesn’t always work out perfectly, but I find it helps create a balance.
What is it like working alongside your husband?
Working with my husband is great—he’s always in the loop with what we’re working on and brings a sound approach to everything. Plus, he is great with our kids so I can rely on him to do a lot of the “heavy lifting” at home and with them.
Your office is so chic! How would you describe your personal style?
Put together, but not overdone! I like to mix and match, accessorize and try new things—but I think it’s important to make things cohesive and not go too over the top. With our latest redesign, we added a lot more color!
What was the inspiration behind the cool color palette?
Our website is colorful and fun, so we wanted to bring some of that feel into the space with vibrant colors and fun patterns. We’re located in a beach town, so having a professional but casual feel was important to us.
Our website is colorful and fun, so we wanted to bring some of that feel into the space with vibrant colors and fun patterns.
What advice do you give your clients regarding branding themselves on social media?
My approach to social media is pretty simple: To be effective, you must be you and you must be consistent. Consistent with your voice, your images and your posts. It’s much easier said than done!
What’s your favorite part of your office space? Is there one place you like to work in particular?
I like to move around! I take my calls and meetings in my office, which I love. My first office was all green, so the carpet in there pays homage to that. We take our staff meetings in our conference room, which always brings up new ideas and exciting projects, so that room has great energy and is bright and white with lots of light! Our foyer couch is a great spot to wind down during the day. My favorite part of the office is probably the gallery wall in the conference room—it’s all images from shoots and events we’ve worked on over the years!
Tell us a bit about the neighborhood your office is in. What are some of your favorite things to do?
We’re right in downtown Manhattan Beach, so there is lots to do around here! We walk to get lunch (Lemonade is one of our fave stops!), walk along the strand or take our lunch to eat at the beach, walk to our local ice cream shop or bakery for an afternoon pick-me-up and have craft cocktails at local happy hours.
We are in love with your art prints! What are your tips for creating the perfect gallery wall?
My friend Megan Robinson helped me add all the fun touches to our office. She suggested printing photos that are actually related to personal moments and have special memories, so I picked pictures from photo shoots we’ve worked on and photos from my wedding and had them enlarged. It makes any gallery shelf or wall so much more meaningful.
Dream purchase for your office?
My dream is to expand my office and take over the space next door to us that has full ocean views. Fingers crossed—this should be happening by the end of the year.
What’s the one beauty product every woman should have?
I have two: Good mascara and a bold matte red lipstick. My favorite is ‘Dragon Girl’ from NARS.
What (or who) inspires you and fuels your own creativity?
Other mom bosses (my mother, Elle Rowley from Sollybaby, Oh Joy, my sister Monika, my operations manager Ashley just to name a few!) I never knew how hard yet how much more rewarding working would be with having my littles ones in the picture.