5 Minutes With


We were more than excited to catch up with the female duo behind The Other Box, Leyya and Roshni, who have built an award-winning platform to empower people to work and live more inclusively. Part of CLO PR's mission is to support clients on the road to building sustainable cultures that truly embrace diversity. The Other Box is doing just that and we look up to them as a source of inspiration. Check out what the girls had to say on what drove them to help change the creative industry make-up due to the colour of their skin. 

Women of colour, like us, were being totally left out of the conversation
Image credit: Maaria Lohiya @justmebreathing

Image credit: Maaria Lohiya @justmebreathing

1. What drove you to create The Other Box?

In the creative industries, we noticed that the 'diversity' conversation was still very much based around gender. And that meant people of colour and especially women of colour like us were being totally left out of the conversation. So we decided to change that. 

2. What's the biggest lesson you've learnt from starting up The Other Box?

For the first 18 months (so basically till about a month ago!) we were running The Other Box alongside full-time jobs and one of us studying a part-time Masters. It was really full on but we learned very quickly how to manage our time, prioritise, and, as geeky as this might sound, scheduling in down time and family time, so we don't neglect our own mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. 

3. What's been the biggest milestone for the business so far?

Going full-time was a big leap for us. It's terrifying and exciting in equal measure! 

4. Was there ever a point when you wanted to give up?

Not really! Almost every day we get amazing messages from people in our community saying how grateful they are for it, and that really keeps us going. 

5. Would you say you're close friends? And does this bring up complications in your business relationship when it comes to making decisions?

We were introduced through a mutual friend (shout out our fairy godmother Amiera!) but we weren't really friends when we decided to start The Other Box! We've obviously become very good friends since, and it helps that we complement each other with our personalities and working styles. But we also decided very early on how we wanted to work together, and we've stayed faithful to that. 

6. You're winning awards left, right and centre at the moment! Do you think the celebration of women is gaining momentum in the industry?

It is, but we never want to take away from the decades of work that has come before us! We stand on the shoulders of giants, but we definitely think things like social media help to democratise voices and allow movements to gather momentum faster. 

7. The lack of diversity is well-documented in the creative industry. What do you think is the biggest barrier to people of colour getting in and what should businesses be doing to tackle this?

This is a BIG question and - shameless plug! - we'd say do one of our Know Your Bias workshops. Diversity is more than a box-ticking or quota-filling exercise. There's a lot of deeply entrenched structural inequalities at play, and all of us need to invest time (and money) into unlearning the ways we've been naturally socialised, to create more genuinely inclusive working environments. 

8. The rise of #metoo and #timesup has created an important opening in discussion on gender equality but it has also put fear into young women of what they may expect to experience in the working world. What would you say to those wanting to pursue a career here?

We don't think it has put fear into young women! If anything, those movements are empowering young people to come into the industry and call out inappropriate behaviour. We also think these movements demonstrate the importance of community and sisterhood. There are also amazing organisations like Diet Madison Avenue who are putting in an immense amount of work to make sure voices are heard and also that we have access to legal representation. That kind of work cannot be underrated. 

IMG_3374 EDIT.jpg

9. It feels like female solidarity is slowly starting to crest a wave. Do you think women are feeling more confident to stand up and be heard right now? 


10. What's the one thing that's shocked you in your mission to raise the profile of diversity?

We still hear some horrific stories of the everyday racism and sexism people have to encounter in the workplace. We think we should all feel brave enough to call these things out, but of course we understand that it's not always easy to do that. 

11. Where do you get your inspiration?

Our own backgrounds as working-class Asian women from immigrant backgrounds gives us a fire in our belly to work hard and represent for those we feel are underrepresented. 

12. What's in store for The Other Box this year?

We're determined to get more workshops to more agencies and organisations. And we also want to do more for our TOB community, to create and share more opportunities and really change the face of the creative industries for good. And we want to make sure we continue to have fun and meet amazing people along the way! 



For over three decades Nigel Sarbutts has been the head of three PR agencies in Manchester, London and Leeds and he is now on a new mission to change the PR industry forever. Connecting clients with freelancers has in the past been a murky, unstructured world. Until now. We caught up with him to talk about his latest venture, The PR Cavalry, a platform to help match-make clients with the right freelancers and vice versa, to keep everyone happy in the game.  

Freelancers have historically been unsearchable

1. What drove you to create The PR Cavalry?

Having been in the communications industry for three decades, I realised that the freelancer is used in a very analogue way by agencies and businesses alike. They’ve historically been unsearchable. Recruitment of freelancers has, as far as I can remember, been time-consuming and haphazard, whilst the job search for freelancers themselves is often very random and involves a lot of time spent networking.

The process by which a freelancer is recruited is totally inefficient. You can have the most organised business where nothing could break their stride but then something goes wrong and the immediate rush is to throw bodies into a project to save it. The company jumps onto LinkedIn and calls recruitment consultancies and what they get back is a mess because the freelancer may not have the precise skills for the job. There is the need for something like The PR Cavalry to codify freelancers’ skills and match these skills to a specific brief set by the client.

What’s more, a much larger chunk of the workforce is freelance now. If you’re a team leader, the question you’re asking yourself is, ‘How can I meet the ever expanding list of client needs with a fixed team?’. The answer is to make a flexible team and make a decision to embrace the freelancer. And for freelancers, it would be far better to be found for their specific skills to meet a specific need rather than just who happened to be recommended by someone by chance.

Nigel Sarbutts The PR Cavalry.jpg

2. What's the biggest lesson you've learnt from starting up The PR Cavalry?

I never anticipated the complexity of building a sophisticated website based on search algorithms. Yes, I knew it would be intricate but there’s been a lot of hardcore tech decisions made behind the scenes in order to build a site that really does something well.


3. And greatest milestone so far?

The milestone we didn’t plan for was having a client approach us with a peach of a job before we’d actually opened the shop. The client nearly fell off her seat when she knew that she wouldn’t have to go to her board of directors to make the case for an appointment with the usual 20% fee on top of this. The freelancers pay 10% for the benefit of being matched with work suited to them. We’re still building the talent bank with freelancers and we’re not seeing resistance to this model of working, which is encouraging.


4. The lack of diversity is well-documented in the PR industry. What do you think is the biggest barrier to people of colour getting in and what should businesses be doing to tackle this?

PR is bedeviled with unpaid internships, it needs to become less the preserve of the privileged, which still means an in-built bias against people of colour. I think anonymised CVs could certainly help. Deloitte have anonymised their recruitment process to become far more representative of our diverse society. At 53, I see ageism also being a barrier to entry - PR is inherently a young person’s game. This needs to change.


5. The PR world is ever changing. What do you think are some of the biggest changes we’re set to see in the future?

The sheer number and types of comms channels that PR is habitually into now beyond media relations. This creates a double edged sword, where PR is fighting for a broader range of jobs whilst trying to maintain the expertise that it stands for. We’re also struggling with the real dip in circulation of media consumption, especially regional media. Because 70% of PR is still media relations, that means we have a smaller lever to pull in reaching key stakeholders. Clients see that as becoming less impactful. The ratio of journalists to PRs is a problem too. If there are fewer gatekeepers in the media room, it’s more difficult to get the message through.

PR doesn’t do well in the evaluation debate either. We’re creating ever more frameworks and dashboards to represent outputs but are we helping to solve real business dilemmas? We’re still not forensically geared towards helping organisations to develop and question their intent and why PR is the answer.

The PR Cavalry Logo Final@3x-100.jpg

6. What excites you about the PR industry?

After 30 years in the industry I still find it exciting, it’s changing so rapidly. I find it fascinating the many creative ways organisations respond to news in society. Lush has been in the press recently for its window campaign to highlight the issue of undercover police overstepping the mark to infiltrate the lives of activists. What Lush has done isn’t new but brands continue to create debate. And the accountability to stakeholders is interesting. Regional media’s power is falling off a cliff so how do the bodies that the media used to hold to account continue to respond to stakeholders? It changes how comms are organised.

We’re also facing a tidal wave with the gig economy growing. If we get The PR Cavalry right, we will put a dent in it.


7. Where do you get your inspiration?

I am a voracious consumer of news. I am constantly looking to the people I follow on Twitter to get knocked on the side of the head with new ideas. I love the fact that I can go onto the platform and find the new, the odd and the wonderful to keep the day interesting.


8. What's in store for The PR Cavalry this year?

We have two milestones still to come. We need to make sure the shelves are stocked enough with talented freelancers before opening up to clients so they feel that there is a broad and deep talent pool to search. And we need to make a profit. Watch this space!



We do love a good snack at CLO PR. No more so than one which is on the healthier side so less of that guilt is hanging over us. Move over Walkers, Well&Truly have got our back when it comes to satisfying, wholesome snacks. We spoke to one half of Well&Truly, Maria Trechman, about her desire, along with her sister-in-law Sara, to challenge the oh-so-clean world of ‘healthy eating’ and the outdated ‘guilty pleasures’ label of mainstream snacks. We love the fact that the brand is packed full of positivity!

Being two female founders hasn’t held us back. If anything, our investors outright said they were excited to be backing an all-female team.
Founder Shot Maria & Sara Trechman.jpg

1. What drove you to set up Well&Truly?

My sister-in-law Sara and I both felt that there was a serious lack of great tasting snacks that weren’t really bad for you. The old kale crisps just didn’t quite hit the spot for us taste wise, so we set out to un-junk and improve the nutritional profiles of classic snacking favourites such as Doritos and Nik Naks without compromising on the great taste. Snacking should be a pleasure and we don’t think the word “guilt” should have anything to do with it.

2. What's the biggest lesson you've learnt in setting up the business?

That having a co-founder to share all the ups and downs with is invaluable, and that everything always take longer than you expect whether it’s the development of a new flavour or the listing with a new customer. 

3. What has surprised you most about the process?

How many investors are genuinely excited about the F&B space - it’s fantastic to be pitching something that everyone in the room can see, feel, smell and taste. We often let our products do most of the talking!

4. What has been the thing you've most struggled with that you've had to overcome?

As a start-up you face challenges on a daily basis. You need to juggle so many roles and tasks which you don’t always have experience in, but being co-founders has helped us a lot as we always have someone to bounce ideas off and challenge each other. One of our biggest challenges is staying on top of cashflow to make sure we can continue to grow quickly. We’ve put in place several models to help us monitor this and stay one step ahead.

5. Have you needed to raise investment? If so, how have you found it and do you think being female founders affected the negotiations?

We’ve done two investment rounds to date and found the process surprisingly enjoyable albeit very time consuming. Being two female founders didn’t hold us back, if anything several of our investors outright said they were excited to be backing an all-female team. It also enabled us to apply and secure funding from AllBright, the all female fund.

6. What's the one thing you'd like to change about the food industry?

We’d like to see more frequent range reviews to be able to introduce new products more often, and a reduction in the amount of plastic packaging. We’ve just reduced the plastic in some of our packaging by 20%, and whilst this doesn’t go anywhere near solving the problem, it’s a start. If all food brands did the same that would be a pretty great improvement vs where we are today and a good platform for further reductions.

Social images May-08.jpg

7. The number of snack brands out there on our shelves is incredible. Was it ever a worry to be part of a busy marketplace? What do you think has ensured you're still firmly in the game?

The snacking market is hugely exciting, and there’s been a lot of innovation at the healthier end of the spectrum in recent years. We try not to worry about the competition but instead focus on doing what we do as best as possible. The key to our success is our no-compromise approach when it comes to taste and health. When it comes to snacking taste is king, but today’s consumer also demand improved health credentials and Well&Truly delivers both.

8. Many women experience the so-called 'imposter syndrome'. Is this something you’ve experienced and do you have any tips on managing it?

Dips in confidence happen to most people and we’ve definitely had periods where we’ve questioned ourselves. We work hard on recognising the signs of self-doubt and the negative effects it can have on performance. It’s an ongoing journey!

9. Where do you get your inspiration?

The London start up scene is hugely inspirational and we constantly meet up with other founders to share stories and learnings. This is where we have learnt the most and try to give back as much as possible to other founders who are just starting out.

10. Who do you look up to?

Any working parent holding it all together whilst finding time to care for their little ones is a hero in our books! 

11. What does 2018 hold for Well&Truly?

2018 is a hugely exciting year for Well&Truly with the launch of our rebrand going live early this summer, new exciting flavours hitting the shelves - including our first vegan flavour -and an acceleration of our international business.

12. If you weren't doing what you do now, you'd be....

Looking after my baby boy whilst thinking up new fun business ideas in the baby space! I’m pretty sure Sara would be setting out to scale another crazy high mountain in the Himalayas (she’s done it before!) or trek across Greenland and then come back to set up an online sustainable start up.

Range 2.jpg