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1,000 COSIGN’s: Meet Kali and Shabby, Co-founders of People’s Revolt | COSIGN #138 of 1K

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Introduce yourself, what’s your story?

We’re Kali and Shabby, co-founders of People’s Revolt, a public relations and marketing agency. Our backgrounds came from PR and marketing and we believed merging the two into one agency would be a game changer. People’s Revolt is made by creatives, for creatives, but we work with clients of all backgrounds. We believe that DFW can be a creative hub if we all worked together instead of against each other. Our ideas lay in providing a platform for people to share their passions with the world, and we pride ourselves on genuine relationships, honesty, and open communication.

Long story short, we want to revolt against the norm.

Tell us about People’s Revolt and what led you two to create it?

We met while working together at a local public relations firm and began freelancing social media marketing on the side. We both quickly realized that the industry was cutthroat but didn’t have to be, and that publicity and marketing truly go hand-in-hand. In 2018, we decided to merge our side hustles with our passion for creativity and connectivity to make People’s Revolt. One of our strengths laid in strategy and the other in creativity, which made the perfect pair. This led us to leave our old lifestyle behind as we took the dive into the entrepreneurial world. 

How did you get your start in PR?

We both got started from joining the entertainment industry. 

Kali initially wanted to be a musical artist, then decided to learn the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of the industry, which led her to study public relations in college. She then went on to work for several PR and entertainment agencies. 

Shabby always wanted to work in the industry. She studied emerging media and communications in college and was fascinated by how it could share people’s stories, especially people in the spotlight. She worked in marketing at Sony Music for three years before moving to agency life at a local PR firm. 

Who was the first person that #COSIGNed you as a publicist?

Our first two #COSIGNs were Merrick Porcheddu of Artist Uprising and Jake Ryan Hull of Cinderblock. Both coming from an entrepreneurial background, they really believed in what we were creating. They helped us navigate starting a small business, getting clients, and setting ourselves apart from other agencies.

Who was the first official client on People’s Revolt and how did it feel to land them?

Rachel Lindsay, the former Bachelorette, was our first client. We were really excited to get started with someone who believed in our work and loved the opportunity to showcase so many of our different talents with her. 

Who is currently on your client list and who have you worked with in the past?

Currently we are working with various international and local clients, which include NATEGAWD, eWomenNetwork, Dezmond Walker, Union Beauty Lab, Artist Uprising, MIN Music, Blujay Entertainment, Now Fear This! Podcast, HomematchX, and Palomino Motors.

Previously we have worked with Rachel Lindsay + Bryan Abasolo, Vicki Oh!, Michelle Lamont, Free Range Concepts, Maguire’s, Mitchell Ferguson, Blue Apollo, Cinderblock, Boss Women Media, The Iman Project, Afterglow Gallery, Kevin Sells Dallas, Charity Lewis, BJ Sticker and The Kings, Tim Talbot, Seysei, Larry g(EE), Bacon Plumbing, Premiere Grilling, and Camp Vida.

Tell us the benefits of having a publicist and for those who don’t know what does a publicist duties include?

The biggest benefit is having someone who helps you craft and tell your story to the public in a way that is captivating, relatable, and special. There are many other benefits to having a publicist no matter what field your work in. A publicist will make sure that details are never missed and that your brand is showcased in a way that helps you and your products/services tell their best story. Having one can really open the door to opportunities you wouldn’t imagine.

A publicist is a communications professional whose job is to communicate a business or brand’s messages to the consumers they hope to reach. They work with the brand to decide what those messages will be, how they will be delivered, who is going to deliver it, and how to create relationships with this target audience or market.

There’s a lot of writing involved from press kits to speeches and social media content. A big part of a publicists duty is also managing the public image of clients and setting up publicity events. Other duties can include pitching, arranging interviews, and creating media lists.

For someone just starting out in PR, how do you suggest they build their media contacts?

NETWORK. Go to events, follow writers on social media, engage with their posts and create conversations. Creating relationships will always be more beneficial than just blindly pitching. This isn’t a field that you can sit in an office and be successful at, it’s called communications for a reason. There are lots of opportunities to do so, even during a pandemic. Join Facebook and LinkedIn groups, get on virtual happy hours, and most importantly — commit to attending events with a goal in mind. This goal could be to get at least one contact or follow 5 people on Instagram. The smallest steps can help achieve your end goal.

Has COVID affected your business at all? If so, in what ways and how have you pivoted?

COVID has affected our business in many positive ways. We feel like people realized the importance of having a digital footprint once everything started shutting down and the only way we could connect with others was online. Our social media and digital marketing inquiries started booming and we had more work during that time than at the beginning of the year. We pivoted here by bringing on more team members and taking classes to increase our skills. 

As far as public relations go, we learned to shift our client’s stories to get innovative by bringing light to how they were doing during that time. We also used our free time to add more services to what we offer, so we can truly be a one stop shop for all marketing, branding, and public relations needs. Overall, we don’t feel like we’ve had to pivot much because People’s Revolt is based on modern and innovative strategies.

What advice would you give to aspiring publicists who want to follow in your footsteps?

Don’t be afraid to break the traditional rules. Many people who enter this field are taught best practices for corporations or general expectations from school or previous employers. We’ve found that we get the best results by trusting our gut and thinking outside the box. 

Also, collaboration over competition. In order to win, doesn’t mean that someone else has to lose. It’s important to learn from others, whether that’s working with them or just sharing expertise. 

If you could shadow any publicist for 24 hours who would it be and why?

It would be the Founder and CEO of People’s Revolution, Kelly Cutrone. She’s just such a boss at what she does. From her work ethic to how she carries herself, it’s inspirational. She’s the reason Kali got into the world of PR growing up watching her on MTV’s The Hills and The City. She’s been in the industry for 28+ years and worked with clients like Valentino, Jeremy Scott, and does Fashion Week globally. We feel like we could learn so much from her because she aligns with what we stand for as far as working in the creative realm and revolting against the norm. 

Last but not least, who are 5 publicists and/or entrepreneurs you #COSIGN along with their IG handle?

Imani Black of Pink Era Co. @imaniblack_

Lorenzo Zenteno Founder & CEO of Premier Live Experience @smoothvega 

Jake Ryan Hull of Cinderblock @jakeryanhull

Dezmond Walker Singer-Songwriter + Co-Founder of REBELLIOUSOCIETY @dez_walk

Merrick Porcheddu of Artist Uprising @merrick_porche

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