PR Director + Founder / PICCOLO PR
Sarah Cichy is a sought-after PR superstar within the Kids, Home-wares and eComm sectors. Her knack for getting brands noticed and refreshing take on the world of “hard work” are just the tip of her influence as the Founder and Director of Piccolo PR.
Sarah was kind enough to give the The Cool Career team a backstage pass to her career trajectory that includes working for brands such as Mercedes Benz and Tourism Australia and travelling all over the world.
Personally, I am well and truly obsessed with Sarah’s #careerstory. Not only does it wreak with actionable advice, but it really hones in on one skill that should be mandatory in this day and age. Hello ‘perseverance’, I’m talking to you.
From the get go this babe knew what she wanted to do, and chased that career. dream until it was a reality. How many times have you truly gone for it?
Hopefully this story ignites that special something in you.
Please meet Sarah.
Hey Sarah, can you tell us where you grew up, ad what your childhood was like?
I grew up in Melbourne with my parents and two sisters. My parents have always been hard workers and did everything they could to pay for our education. From an early age we made a commitment to them (and ourselves) to work our butts off and get the grades.
What a commitment! Did you go to high school in Melbourne as well?
Yes, I did. I went to Mandeville Hall, an all-girls school in Melbourne. To be honest, I was a bit of a nerd and placed in accelerator classes for a lot of my subjects but am one who needs structure and boundaries and discipline. I loved the unity and uniformity of the school.
I know exactly how you feel, I also loved the uniformity of high school. So, did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
No, not really. The teachers encouraged me to explore English and literature classes further as they were my strong areas, but it were my parents who really pushed me into the area of PR.
How incredible that your parents were the encouraging forces behind your PR start! Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school?
YES! About 1000 of them.
From year nine I remember knocking on doors for work experience opportunities- I just wanted to get my foot in the door and experience different types of working environments.
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
Back in the day when I graduated (*cough 1999) there were only 30 placements in PR at RMIT University. The first year I failed the entrance exam and went onto study ARTS at Melbourne University before being accepted into the course. It was completely worth the wait – the best years of my life. I was taught by inspiring lecturers I still today call friends and learnt the true power of language.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for and explain any highlights.
I’ve worked for some amazing companies including BBC, Westfield, Mercedes-Benz and Tourism Victoria. The highlight was the very beginning. I went travelling with a group of ten girls through Europe and decided to separate from them to start knocking on doors.
From a very young age my vision was to work at BBC, UK – it took five months of me knocking on the White City doors before I had my first interview. I completely spun my way in, and had absolutely no idea what I was doing…but I got the job! And of course, I had a moment when I signed the first client (who is still with the agency today).
Wow! The BBC? You really must have the gift of the gab Sarah. :) Let’s jump to present day Sarah. How did you get into your current role?
I was breathtakingly innocent and fiercely determined. I knew I wanted to launch a specialised agency in the areas of Homewares, Kids and eCommerce and took a leap of faith and backed myself.
So that’s how PICCOLO PR was born. What is the hardest part of your current job?
Time. I dream about strategy day and night and find sleep gets in the way. As a business owner, you need to be in the detail of everything (pitches, clients, media, HR, payroll, culture) and at the same time empower your team to make decisions for themselves. I’ve learnt to let go (just a little) and manage from a macro level.
What does a typical PR day look like for you?
I start the day with a run at 4am and then head to a nearby café at 6am where I reply to emails or jump on the phone to international clients. We start each day with a team meeting at 8.30am. I’m in and out of the office most days- catching up with media and clients and, when I’m at the desk I’ll be writing content or editing and approving pitches and press releases, preparing proposals, responding to enquiries, packing creative send outs, drafting contracts and talking strategy. In the evening I’m most often at an event or researching, reading international newspapers online, listening to podcasts and interviews. It’s all-consuming.
I’m still stuck on the 4am wake up call! We love talking hero’s here at The Cool Career, so tell me, who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
My mum- she has no boundaries when it comes to success. She’s fierce. I like that.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in a career in PR?
You need to be a strong writer, incredibly detailed and genuinely love stories- people’s stories.
List your favourite resources at the moment.
- Fave websites: My Domaine Home, Moda Familia.
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: Guilty of being addicted to IG stories atm. I must say though- Leigh Campbell and Amy Gerard you both crack me up. It’s too much.
- Favourite Podcast: Mark Bouris
- Favourite Netflix Series: I don’t have Netflix. And barely own a TV! Don’t judge me.
- Favourite all time book/s: Women Who Run With Wolves, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés.