Early clients of Sam Denny-Hodson had an unenviable trip to Quantum PR's first office, sited in a dentist's basement in central London. Visitors sweltered during the summer as Denny-Hodson kept all the windows closed to muffle the sounds of the dentist's drill. Today, Quantum PR occupies a light-filled, three-floor office in a Covent Garden mews, with no drills in earshot.
Denny-Hodson launched Quantum in 1996, with no business plan and very little money. She'd previously worked at Modus PR, but at 28 decided to go it alone. Quantum started out in fashion PR, working on a one-off campaign for M&S underwear. Denny-Hodson also landed clients from nearby Covent Garden fashion boutiques. Today, the agency employs nine staff, and clients such as Designers Guild, LSA glassware, Corum watches and Coast clothes all come from the high end of fashion and homeware.
'There haven't been any really scary moments,' says Denny-Hodson, who says she's anything but a risk-taker. 'All the growth has been gradual and careful.' Yet the past few months have been busy ones for Quantum, as existing clients have recommended the agency to other businesses, resulting in a wave of new customers.
Now 34, Denny-Hodson is happy with the size of the firm and its pounds 600,000 annual turnover. 'I want to continue at the helm. I'm too much of a control freak to let someone else take over.'