• melissafretwell

Do Look Down

This is not for the faint hearted. It’s about the experience of facing fears and taking a massive leap. Going against the standard sensible advice of how to enjoy the mix of work and family life. Don’t mess with the routine, don’t do anything reckless and whatever you do, don’t look down.


To explain, my career life has been a delicious creative bubble in the world that is the Entertainment Industry. I have delighted in telling stories to market TV channels and shows from Changing Rooms and Ground Force (you can still spot the aesthetic fall across Britain) to Keeping Up With The Kardashians and The Grammys. I have never had a dull product to roll in glitter. Happy days.


Then along came a number of seismic changes that started to encourage me to look at alternative ways of living this so called life. Firstly BREXIT, being a remainer and living in Lincolnshire was perhaps the toxic combination required to spur on my own exit plans. Secondly my job was getting way too comfortable, sure I had plenty to do, a great team, but it didn’t feel dangerous enough. To be clear, I do not free climb, eat fire or break the speed limit. An adrenaline junkie I am not. Thirdly my daughter who we were lucky enough to adopt, wasn’t ready for secondary school and staying down a year was not a favoured option. So armed with a spreadsheet of criteria and countries we respected and liked, with great wifi; Canada, France, The Netherlands and Spain, we tried too whittle down where to live next. Ibiza won.


The selling the house bit, the farewells, the downsizing of items (Marie Kondo would be

so proud) was the easy bit. The readjusting to a slower pace, less retail, the language barrier and that pendulum swing between holiday vibes and blind panic of permanent brain melt, was so much tougher. I clung on to the vision of a life without a commute, flexible working hours, getting to know my daughter better, enjoying more of the incredible landscape and sea, perfecting my pigeon Spanish and launching my own boutique agency. This really kept us all going.


I had always had a hunch that marketing basically meant advertising to start-ups and small businesses and was dismissed as something they couldn’t afford. What if you could reframe marketing as the key to unlocking all the brilliant ways to grow a business? From communicating its reason for being, to the values it stands for, the culture and personality and all the touchpoints between customer and brand. Why not explain it’s also about grabbing the attention of the right person and telling them the right story at the right time? Storytelling is a fundamental human experience that unites people and drives stronger, deeper connections.


My constant obsession with challenger brand thinking and brand narratives became another driver to launching White Camino. Incidentally, the name was dreamt up whilst swimming underwater in the local pool, a great distraction from the super fitties lapping me. I also found some inspiring compadres via LinkedIn, notably the brilliant researcher that is Laura Lyon and can tap into a bigger talent pool through the impressive freelancers at Hoxby. It’s early days. I have so many projects I want to take on, places to explore and interesting people to collaborate with. Remote working before CV19 was often met with apprehension, how can you do creative sessions over a video call? Now everyone is coming around to our way of doing things. My biggest learning is being courageous feels good over time, it’s a slow burn. However busy your life gets, do make time to stop and look at the view.


#challengerbrands #startups #whitecamino #newagency #forceforgood


melissa@whitecamino.com

+44 7540 000 211 

+34 696 31 68 40

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