Could you give us a brief background into your career before starting Curzon PR?
I started my first business in 1999 whilst I was still studying at university, it was an accountancy firm called TaxClaim. The business grew incredibly quickly and, by the time I turned 22, we had two offices and sixteen staff. A few years later I worked as Vice Chair of Conservative Business Relations, an association that organises networking events for the Conservative Party and allowed me to marry my passion for politics with my love of business. It also gave me a whole host of incredible opportunities to meet and interact with many of my favourite political heroes.
What would you say has been your biggest achievement since starting your own company?
I think one of my biggest achievements was actually the process of starting Curzon PR itself. I established Curzon PR in 2009, at the height of the recession, a time where businesses all over the country were shutting their doors. Very few people were prepared to take the risk of starting a new business, and companies were more reluctant to spend money on services such as public relations. For me, establishing a business during such a turbulent time and growing Curzon into the strong business that it is today is an achievement of which I will forever be proud.
Farzana wears The Arlington dress in navy
What’s one piece of advice that you were given when you were starting your own company that you would like to pass along?
Make sure that you really love what you are going to be doing, and believe in your business. Starting a company is so much more than simply an alternative to a traditional 9 to 5 job, and in order for any business to survive and thrive, you have to dedicate an enormous amount of your life; time, effort and money in order to make your business a success.
Such sacrifices are incredibly difficult unless you are passionate and have a genuine love for what you are doing. Such passion is incredibly important in helping you to have the necessary conviction and perseverance to continue during the more difficult times, difficulties which are an inevitable aspect of running any company.
Aside from managing Curzon PR, you are on the board of the charity CARE, an Expert Advisor to Sotheby’s Global Partnership and Editor-at-Large of Epicurean Life magazine, as well as a contributor at several publications: How do you manage all your roles? And what does a day in Farzana’s life look like?
Ever since I was young the importance of organisation has been drilled into me, and this aspect of my personality helps me greatly when it comes to managing my different commitments. I also have a fantastic team at Curzon PR, all of whom are really great at what they do, something which definitely makes my job of managing the company a lot easier and less time consuming than it could be. Although that’s not to say Curzon doesn’t take up the lion’s share of my time.
I’m also fortunate that many of my commitments are not ones that demand my time all around the year, so in one month I could be speaking to the BBC on behalf of CARE Pakistan and the next month I could be writing an article for Epicurean Life.
Because of this variety, there genuinely isn’t a typical day in the life of Farzana Baduel. As clichéd as it may sound, almost all of my days are completely different, which is one of the reasons I love what I do so much.
Farzana wears The Arlington dress in navy
It is always hard to keep a good work-life balance, especially with so many different responsibilities. Do you have any tips that you’d like to share?
Maintaining a good work-life balance is definitely difficult with so many career commitments. I would say the best way to make sure that you maintain a healthy balance is to set aside a specific period of time each week devoted to your personal life, and being incredibly vigilant and disciplined in ensuring that you are completely switched off and that work does not encroach into these periods of time.
Tell us a bit about dressing for work in such a varied role: How to you make sure your outfit is always appropriate for your different engagements?
I try to strike the balance between professional yet stylish when it comes to my work wardrobe. I believe that in order for a woman to be taken seriously in the business world, she has to dress both appropriately and stylishly in order to connect with clients and new business. Dressing blandly may not leave any impression at all, and in the world of PR, anything could come up at any given moment. A structured day dress can be dressed down with low pumps for the office, and dressed up with heels for meetings or events that arise at the last minute.
Farzana wears The Grosvenor dress in white and navy painterly print
What are your ultimate workwear staples?
Every woman has a go to outfit for work, whether it be a tailored black dress or a suit. A few timeless pieces will make up your wardrobe. These include silk shirts, signature dresses and pumps. During winter, boots are a must for me. In the summer season, I introduce colour into my wardrobe and my dresses become less structured and freer flowing.
And finally, what is your favourite piece from The Fold collection?
It’s hard to pick just one! However, it would have to be the Arlington Dress in Navy. It strikes the perfect balance between professional, yet fun and stylish.