Loredana Matei: Why I Started Jensen Matthews Rather Than Waiting for the 'Right Time'
When Loredana Matei moved to Dubai from Romania, she had a vision for starting a MarComs and PR agency. Over time, she realised that this 'right moment' would never come, and she took a leap of faith and went for it despite not feeling properly prepared.
I interviewed Lora to discover what kind of attitude it takes to be a marketing entrepreneur, how her agency Jensen Matthews has developed over time, and the biggest challenge Dubai is currently facing in the digital marketing world.
Hi, Loredana! What made you decide to start up your MarComms and PR agency, Jensen Matthews?
I had a vision of a the Middle East based agency since the moment I landed in Dubai. It was a matter of finding the right moment to start, and in 2016 I realised that right moment would never come. So instead of looking to work in the corporate world, I took the risk of opening my own practice. Being a business owner in an international city is a learning experience and a continuous journey. Aside from the financial aspects, creating a legacy and being part of bigger initiatives was the key behind Jensen Matthews idea.
Starting your own business like that must take a lot of guts and determination - what would your advice be to other women wanting to do the same?
Get over the fear of starting something, stop overanalyzing and just take the first step. No matter how much we plan and over think a business idea, nothing compares with the practical first step. The right moment is now! Allow yourself to make mistakes; this is the way you learn what you need and what you don’t want.
How did you feel when you first started? What was your biggest challenge to overcome?
The beginning was a combination of excitement and total anxiety. Coming from the corporate side and being told for the past 2 years and a half that I have to follow certain rules in the companies that I worked, I experienced a petrifying fear of failing and being perceived as a total unprofessional business woman. Aside from finding the first clients, a big part of the challenge was to define the company in terms of branding and its own PR agenda, in terms of online presence and the markets we want to work with. Looking back at our first press release, I realize we grew a lot in 12 months and today, Jensen Matthews has a strongly defined path, and business model.
How is Jensen Matthews' approach different from other agencies?
We become so close to our clients they don’t feel we are an external agency, we work with them as an in-house asset. This business model helps us to understand their needs more and be able to create personalized strategies. We take time in understanding their workplace, corporate culture, identify their strengths and their weak points; we have unlimited communication with the client. We erased the technicality of the classic agency-client relation and this opened up a whole new way of observing and understanding the particularities of the client we work with. We work within the B2B market and every client is a unique challenge.
What are your short term and long term aspirations for your business?
We are working on our presence in Asia, Hong Kong, and Singapore, followed by Tokyo in the next 3 years. We are working on learning a new thing every day and discovering markets and new ways of doing PR. Short term, we are very happy to be developing some great CSR initiatives together with our clients from S P Jain School of Global Management and Dufit Interiors.
You were recently involved with the ”Era of Digital Disruption- Transforming Middle East” event in partnership with S P Jain School of Global Management Dubai Campus; what is the biggest challenge Dubai is currently facing in the digital marketing world?
We had the honour to have a keynote speech from the Vice President of S P Jain, Prof. Christopher Abraham, and panellists coming from prestigious private companies such as Careem, Protiviti, IdeateLabs, Entrepreneur ME, Focus Social Academy and ASUS.
The digital forum discussed in-depth on the subject of the gap that is evident between the digital workforce and the market’s demand for specialized digital skills, in the Middle East. Companies in the region are integrating digital transformation in their own business process generating continuous requirements of the digital workforce. However, the gap between talent and demand is still a challenge for the Middle East companies.
What's some career advice that's really helped you with your entrepreneurial journey?
The former CEO of Tarom Airlines, Romania’s national carrier, Mr Christian Heinzmann, once told me: don’t be an employee for the rest of your life. Learn from every company, find what you don’t like and build your own path. Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, is a rough trail with a lot of obstacles. But the results are often far more satisfying on a long run.
It was truly an inspiration to interview Lora - her determination and drive to go above and beyond for her clients really shows. Over the next coming months I will be showcasing UAE Entrepreneurship on Deals in High Heels- there is more to come! Stay up to date by subscribing below, or you can find us on Instagram or Facebook.