Aly MacGregor is a talented young entrepreneur, serving as the founder and President of internationally acclaimed creative agency Reicura. She is also the co-founder of several businesses in the tech, education and music industries, and consults for some of the fastest-growing companies in the UK, the US, and Canada. Aside from her business endeavors, she also sits on the boards and committees for some charitable organizations. In her spare time, she enjoys watching every single episode of Jeopardy, and being perpetually jet lagged.
Name: Aly MacGregor
Title: Founder & President
Current Cities: Mainly Toronto and London, with some NYC in the mix
Instagram: personal: @alymacgregor agency: @reicura
Twitter: Toronto: @ReicuraTO London: @ReicuraLDN
How did you get started in PR?
I quite literally fell into the world of PR! I was sitting in a tort law class when I got a call from a friend in LA saying he was producing an awards show in London and asked if I could help out with PR. Being a nerdy law student, I repeatedly refused until I got dirty looks from my professor and eventually said yes just to get him off the phone. That night I went home and googled “what is PR” and “how do you do PR”.
I started my agency after my first PR gig, and funny enough being the president of this agency is the first and only job I’ve ever had!
Tell us a bit about Reicura
I still consider us to be boutique in size and management style, so I’m the only person in my managerial level “department.” However, I’ve always believed in strong collaboration and keeping things as hierarchy-free as possible without sacrificing individual accountability, so all of our agency departments are very interconnected. Since I both oversee as well as work with each of our company departments, I treat my interactions with my team similarly to how I am as the oldest child with my two siblings: guiding, supportive, and bossy with the best intentions!
What is the mood like in the office? What do you have going on right now?
Our office mood is like an ongoing work party; there’s the less fun part of parties where you have to do things like tidy up spills, but the bulk of them is about having fun doing what you love, which is a hugely important principle that we strictly adhere to. It also helps that our team is hilarious, so there’s always lots of laughs and inappropriate jokes to help get us through the long hours that we put in. We’re currently working on quite a few joint office collaborations since the international fashion weeks are around the corner.
Aly with client SWAM Canada at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week
What is a recent job success story?
We recently become the agency partner for SWAM Canada, which is an incredible new men’s swimwear line from Will Poho, the founder of Moose Knuckles Jackets, and his business partner Joseph Tassoni. It was a huge win for us as an agency, but it was made even more special by the fact that they have been the best kind of clients an agency could ask for. They have a fantastic and unique product; they let us do our job, and they’re good to have a drink (or 3) with after work!
Most memorable moment in your career ?
I think when we moved from my kitchen to an actual office space was symbolic for me. That move took it from being “fun little part-time thing” to “wow this is my real career”.
Most glamorous moment in your career?
PR isn’t nearly as glamorous as Samantha Jones and Edina Monsoon made it look on television, but I’m not too jaded to admit that attending award shows (especially when you can be a guest rather than working in some capacity) can be very glamorous. Or any of our Cannes-related moments – those have been pretty spectacular.
Least glamorous moment in your career ?
The most recent one I can think of had to do with producing a campaign involving the cutest kittens, and I, of course, ended up being tinkled on, numerous times. Not my finest moment, but I guess one of the unforeseen hazards of the job!
[Moving] from my kitchen to an actual office space was symbolic for me. That move took it from being “fun little part-time thing” to “wow this is my real career”.
PR can be stressful and full of rejection – how do you deal?
We have a system at our agency – allow yourself to be upset until X happens, with X being an action you take that makes you happy and that you don’t do too often. So my “X” is drinking whisky. I can be upset for as long as I want until I have a whisky, and then that’s it! No more wallowing, no more complaining – it wasn’t meant to be, and that last drop of whisky signals the end of any residual upset I’m allowed to experience. It helps give you an endpoint for stress and provides you with a positive thing to look forward to as you come out of the negative experience of rejection.
What’s the biggest challenge facing fashion/lifestyle communicators right now?
For a while now, I’ve been noticing brands starting to strategize using what I call shortcut PR – like when a brand will rely solely on “Instagram influencers” as their PR strategy. There’s no longevity built into that “plan” and it makes PR seem like it’s all about winning a popularity contest when in actually fashion and lifestyle communications is so much more multifaceted. But you’ll see brands choose to put their budgets towards shortcut PR rather than investing in a proper multi-faceted PR plan executed by professionals. So I’d say a big challenge is convincing certain brands, especially fashion ones, that putting all their eggs into that one basket isn’t the smartest move.
What type of person thrives at your company/agency?
Someone who doesn’t have an overpowering ego, and wants to constantly learn. We operate as a real family unit, so if you’re too much of a lone wolf you might not be as comfortable with our company culture. That said, you need to have enough belief in yourself that will allow you to go and get shit done without someone having to hold your hand every step of the way. So basically, an outgoing team player who doesn’t need mollycoddling and can take direction. Simple!
Brands choose to put their budgets towards shortcut PR rather than investing in a proper multi-faceted PR plan executed by professionals.
What would you tell someone who wants to be you when they grow up?
Don’t try to be me, make your work path fit for the kind of person you are. I’m naturally more on the introverted side and I’m not the greatest self-seller but instead of trying to be something I wasn’t, I built my company to reflect my personality to some degree (ie. we like to be the more invisible brains behind the work and let our clients shine) and surrounded myself with great people who can do things I can’t. It’s your life, make it work for you!