A growing PR and marketing agency has taken on its first full-time employee – making it a real family affair.

Leeds-based Leuly Photography & PR was set up by PR consultant Gemma Birbeck in 2019.

The business quickly established itself and now, after a series of new contract wins in August and September, Gemma has recruited her partner Kris Brook as full-time Brand Marketing Manager.

Kris brings a wealth of experience in brand management, statistical research, campaigns and messaging and his appointment is a hard-headed business decision.

Director Gemma said: “I’ve brought Kris on board because he is brilliant at what he does. Kris and I have worked together before and I know he has some great ideas and an eye for detail.

“He will challenge me in a way that will boost creativity and help me make better decisions. He’ll be a big asset to the business.”

Former Reach PLC journalist and editor Martin Shaw joined the Leuly team in September as a Freelance PR Consultant just as the business started to expand.

New business wins included two Yorkshire-based start-ups and two established firms in the United States of America.

Gemma believes the rapid growth is a sign that smaller, independent firms can bounce back after the economic shock of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Like many firms at the start of the pandemic, Leuly PPR lost a number of clients who simply didn’t have the budget to honour their contracts and it was a worrying time, especially given we were a start-up firm,” she said.

“After pivoting our services and increasing our marketing activities towards the end of lockdown, a series of new clients approached us to help them promote their fantastic businesses, and this meant we were able to expand.”

Kris said he was eager to get started in his new role and added: “I have teamed up with Gemma and Martin at an exciting time and I can’t wait to help drive the business forward.

“As a trio we have a wide range of skills and experience and that’s a great blend for our clients.

“When Gemma took the plunge and started out on her own, it was never her intention to become an agency, but I always knew she would. Her skills and ability to form strong connections with clients, coupled with her ability to really get into the shoes of her clients’ audience, has attracted a diverse range of clients and led to this growth.

“The beauty of being part of the team at this point is I’ve watched from the sidelines as the firm has grown, seen the effort she’s put into promoting clients and really got to know the clients we will be working with. I can’t wait to add even further value.”