I had the pleasure of meeting Linda last year in Stamford, CT. A member of of her PR firm, MaxEx Public Relations actually invited me to attend the Shop Smart, Do Good event at Lord & Taylor. At this same event, I also had the opportunity to meet and interview Camron Silver. I remember the event being so much fun and as I was getting ready to leave, Linda and I started talking. Speaking with her was so inspiring and literally after less than 5 minutes into our conversation, I knew I had to ask her for an interview to share with you guys, especially since she is celebrating 20 years in business this year! Throughout the years, Linda and her team at MaxEx PR have had the chance to work with many of the world’s most celebrated hospitality brands and personalities such as J House Hotel, Noir Stamford, Chef Rafael Palomino, and CT Restaurant Association. You can view the full list of clients here. I’m so grateful Linda said YES! to this interview and I hope you guys take away some helpful tips with this interview, especially if you are thinking about entering or starting your own PR Firm.
What is the backstory behind MAXEX?
I am a chef by trade and was in the restaurant/catering biz for 10 years. When I officially became burnt, out I went to work in a PR firm in NY/CT. I loved it and found out that so many of my restaurant skills and other skills (writing for one) were a great fit for PR. So I combined my love for the hospitality world with the PR and created MaxEx Public Relations LLC in 1997. My first client on my own was the infamous Barcelona restaurant group. I was with them for 12 years. The rest is history…
What is keeps you motivated?
My respect for the restaurant industry. These guys are some of the hardest working people I know. I’m not sure why the restaurant world is so glamorized – it’s not glamorous at all. I believe that there’s a restaurant for everyone and every restaurant has its place. They all deserve attention and a fighting chance. PR gives them the opportunity to introduce themselves to consumers.
What is a book that changed your life and why?
If You Can Stand the Heat: Tales from Chefs and Restaurateurs. It’s an amazing collection of stories, rants, and anecdotes from chefs and restaurateurs. While the stories vary, there’s a common thread among the people that are crazy and passionate enough to subject themselves to this way of life. It made we want to tell their stories even more, using my PR platform to do so.
What is a financial tip you would give to emerging entrepreneurs that has helped you?
Do not continue to do work for clients/customers who do not pay on time. You are not a bank. You are a business. You can’t do favors and be everyone’s friend. You will get taken advantage of.
Also, be competitive – not pricy. Being more expensive than others does NOT come across as you’re better than others. Customers can and will simply find someone that’s within their budget – and equally as good.
Best advice for Entrepreneurs…..
QUICKBOOKS! Keep organized. Money management can be a confusing and overwhelming part of being an entrepreneur. A good bookkeeping system and an accountant is essential too.
What is the best business advice you’ve received that has helped you stay in business for 20 years now?
Don’t be afraid to say NO and walk away.
Why do you love what you do?
The challenge. Supporting my (hospitality) industry. And my appreciation for food and wine.
To learn more about Linda and her company, visit her here.
Photography: Norman Oates