Inspiring Women in Business – Natalie Dunning

Founded by the lovely Natalie Dunning, Kitch are Chichester-based social media growth specialists for premium and luxury brands.

A good friend and fellow agency owner, we have so much admiration for Natalie and how she juggles her successful business while bringing up a young family. We often meet to share advice, support and give each other a boost when needed. Here we talk to Natalie about how Kitch began, who inspires her and what the future holds…

Tell us a little about your career and why you started Kitch?
I started Kitch back in 2012. I was working long hours, not having enough time to work on strategy and long-term solutions and became frustrated having to travel lots and being unable to be online enough to do my job. Speaking to my people director at the time he suggested I set up on my own and do them a proposal and that was it, my employer became my client and it made me take the leap. Nearly 9 years later and I’ve never looked back. 

What is your ethos when it comes to running a business?
Work with people you like. If you don’t get on with a client it’s going to be very hardwork and unenjoyable for me and anyone in our team. I want to be happy and enjoy what I do so working with people I would grab a coffee with is a huge part of why we work with who we do. 

What has been one of the biggest successes of your career? 
The first was when we landed Godiva Chocolates as a client and we had a fantastic 4 years working with them. Another was working on an event at The Tower of London with a global fragrance brand and hosting one of the biggest London influencers on the night. 

What has been your worst career set back and how did you overcome it? 
Can I say Covid? Many of our clients at the time had to close and some sadly haven’t returned. We adjusted on our deliverables and retainers and took on more for other clients who had reduced teams. Furlough certainly helped too and going lean and leaving our office for the time being. We’re now coming out the other side stronger and working with more online businesses to spread our risk and diversify our client base.

With some backlash against social media’s effect on mental health, what is your view/your tips on how to use social media sensibly? 
Have downtime, if you’re scrolling in the evening without any purpose switch it off. No phones at meal times, if you need to work go and eat somewhere else as it’s not fun for anyone else eating with you. I try to have mine at hand but only look at it every 30 minutes when I have the children so they can have my full attention. These are what I try to stick to anyway. 

How do you manage the work/life split? 
I have an amazing team behind me that are respectful of my hours and I also trust them to make decisions and get on with their client work.  I do often have to work in the evening for an hour to stay on top of things and my husband is pretty good at sharing the drop offs with the children which is a massive support. 

Who inspires you as business women and why? 
I love Thomasina Miers from Wahaca, what a brand and she’s always so calm and collected in her thinking, such a shame they are having to close some of their restaurants. There are so many incredible influencers out there that really vary in their content but I have a huge respect for them constantly producing and evolving their personal brands. As a brand I love the ethos and progression from Sweaty Betty. What a cool business model and they really do engage at a local level with events, ambassadors and social content, big love for them! 

What does the future hold for Kitch?
This year was all about growth but I’ve changed our mindset to sustainability for now as the rest of the year is bound to be up and down. However we have more focus and purpose as we head into the latter part of the year and next year I hope we can grow.  

Find out more about Kitch Media here.

Photo by Helen Cawte Photography

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