Meet: Narcisse James - Lessons From a PR Pro
Recently named one of the “top 25 African-American PR millennials to watch,” according to Huffington Post, Narcisse James has truly made her creative agency, Coffee x Hustle, one to watch. Located in Baton Rouge, James handles the creative strategizing, branding and even design work behind lifestyle, beauty and fashion businesses. She shares her journey in the PR industry, along with the lessons she has learned since creating her own boutique PR firm in 2015.
So, in the span of a couple years, you went from a journalist to being named one of the top 25 African American PR millennials to watch, as founder of Coffee x Hustle. How did you get your start into PR?
I’m definitely a do-er. When I see something I want, I go after it! That would explain how I pursued being a rapper, hairstylist, fashion stylist, chef, etc, all before settling in to PR. I just knew I was a creative. I had always been but I just didn’t know how to channel that creativity. I made a promise to my father and myself before he passed that the next thing I set out to do, I wouldn’t quit. I found PR by searching Google for my next move and every move made afterwards was to learn everything there was to know about the industry.
What does Coffee x Hustle mean to you? What is the mission behind what you are doing through Coffee x Hustle?
Coffee x Hustle is a creative agency for the grinders, game changers and goal getters. The agency is for those committed to achieving that next level of success. Our mission is to help others grow professionally and personally. Ultimately, Coffee x Hustle was about going against my fears and making the decision to follow my dreams.
What was most difficult about starting Coffee x Hustle?
The most difficult part was doing the things that I didn’t enjoy to get to the things that I absolutely love! When I first started I knew it would be difficult to get PR clients, so I started with graphic design. I liked graphic design but I wasn’t in love with it like I am with PR. However, I knew that graphics were an easy way to get my name associated with business and from that point I could sell my services and myself. Luckily, that move worked for me and got me here!
What do you think sets you and your PR firm apart from others?
My brand voice is like no other in the industry. I incorporate humor into my messaging and talk to my audience as if we are close friends. I’m able to keep them engaged and excited. This allows me to convert more followers into customers AND allows them the opportunity to work with a firm that communicates in a way they understand. Another thing that sets me apart would be my background in journalism. It’s easier to pitch story angles because I’ve sat in the chair as the journalist and I’ve grown to be a storyteller.
What kind of clients do you work with? I see a lot of diversity in your clientele, as you have both businesses and independent talents that you manage for.
I work with millennials in the beauty, fashion and lifestyle industries. I work with both business and personal brands because both are equally important. Your personal brand will come forward through your business brand so there should be a connection there! It’s my job to help others put their best foot forward, no matter if it’s their personal or business brand.
How have you seen the PR industry change in the past few years?
Social media has really shaken things up in the PR industry. It’s great because it allows for a lot more outlets and opportunities to spread news and information about clients. You can speak directly to your audience and build brand awareness. It’s also challenging because the news spreads like wildfire and that’s not always a good thing when managing a client’s image.
Was the industry easy to break into as a black woman?
I didn’t feel like this was much of a challenge for me. I think that’s due to this new appreciation for black women in positions of power. Everyone’s talking about black girl magic, so it was perfect timing!
You’re a mother as well; how do you juggle having your own firm while also being a mother AND making time for yourself?
A lot of late nights and full cups of coffee! I’m working while the kids are sleeping, but it’s still a struggle being that there’s really no clocking out of any of my “jobs”. To be honest, I’m not the best with time management. I have way more creativity than there are hours in the day! One thing that has helped though is batch creating and scheduling content. It allows me to be consistent and connected while spending time with my family.
What’s the next move for you, career wise?
My next move will be to start up this co-working space! Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road and can leave you unmotivated, stressed or even depressed. I want to create a space for like-minded entrepreneurs to connect, collaborate and bounce ideas off each other.
Coffee x Hustle is a public relations agency created by millennials for millennials. Check out their Instagram at @coffeexhustle for updates on the agency and their clients.