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The Essex comp girl has done good! We talk to Jill Coomber, co-founder of OneChocolate

We catch up with Jill Coomber, co-founder of PR and digital marketing agency OneChocolate, to find out how her university blue in parachuting helped her land her first break and how that evolved into a successful career. Plus we ask for her advice for others wanting to fly high in communications.

What did you want to be when you were a teenager?
My parents encouraged me to be whatever I wanted. So I remember wanting to be in a band and a journalist, artist and entrepreneur all at the same time. Not quite what they intended, I’m sure, given their idea was ‘a proper job’ and not studying anything with an ‘ology’ in it.

Would your teenage self be pleased with the way things have turned out?
Looking back at those early career ideas, co-founding a business makes sense. Running an international boutique agency requires a little of all of the above. So yes, the Essex comp girl done good.

How did you get your first break?
By the end of my degree (that I didn’t really want to do, see above) I knew I wanted to go into marketing and thought working on a range of clients sounded like a great challenge, so an agency. I gave myself 50 applications to get a good break or I was off travelling. Second interview I got the job. It turned out that my university blue in parachuting (!) was what stood out. I always advise people looking for their break to look at what’s on their CV beyond education. This is what makes you shine. Lots of people have a great education and decent grades these days.

What is the best career decision you have made?
To start an agency with my business partner, Sue Grant, at the age of 27. That sounds pretty normal, but 25 years ago two young women setting out on their own to found an international agency was pretty out there.

And we’re still here. Still winning awards. Still having fun.

Any career regrets?
Regret and guilt are not useful emotions.

Why did you start up OneChocolate? And how did you choose the name?
We wanted to do it better. We started as Grant Butler Coomber (GBC). We were young and wanted to sound more heavyweight in an age where creative agencies were often the names of the founders.

Let’s face it, OneChocolate is a million times better. Chocolate is moreish – just like a good brand. And as an independent agency you want and need a memorable name. OneChocolate delivers on that in spades and is SEO friendly too.

And yes, we all love good chocolate over here.

What are the greatest challenges of your present role?
Keeping things evolving. Keeping things fresh. Keeping things inspiring. Definitely the secret sauce to longevity and easier said than done.

What advice can you give to others in the communications industry?
Blimey, that’s a multi-faceted question. 

Move a needle. Understand the key difference between vanity and sanity numbers. Make the difference.

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