The first thing that’s obvious about Christina Bonnor and Terese Ask, the co-founders of Impression PR in Copenhagen, Denmark, is that their friendship is special. Perhaps that’s due to nearly 30 years of friendship, but lots of people have long-term friendships; most of them can’t start a successful business together. The kind of friendship Christina and Terese have is the stuff of ensemble sitcoms: deeply loyal, and with a true understanding and respect of who the other person is. As we talk about their history, they finish each other’s sentences, genuinely compliment each other, and fill in gaps. It takes the two of them to make a complete interview, just as it took the two of them to bring Impression PR to fruition.
Back in 2010, Ask and Bonnor started a lifestyle blog, The Impressionista. It grew quickly and provided them with a network within public relations. The women worked and studied, spent some time overseas (Terese in Spain and Christina in the US), and came back to Denmark, all the while continuing the Impressionista.
“In 2013, we began talking about starting a PR agency,” Terese says. “As kids we’d always wanted to start a business together, but now we were really planning. We thought, okay, let’s put in the work and launch 2016.”
Once they’d made a plan, however, three years suddenly seemed like an eternity. “We couldn’t stop talking about it,” explains Terese, “and by the time we reached December of 2013 we just went, why do we have to wait? So we gave ourselves until the end of the summer to plan and decided to launch in August of 2014.”
“We knew it was going to be hard,” says Christina “but we were running on adrenaline. It was a really exciting time!” As the summer of 2014 began, Terese quit her job and Christina left school. They lined up a parade of meetings, eventually landing their first client, textile company LinenMe.
“The brand was a dream client,” Terese says, “and to have them believe in us from the start has been incredible. Three years later, LinenMe is still our client and we work our butt off for them!”
By the time of the launch, Impression PR had five clients and a showroom in the centre of Copenhagen. They threw a massive party to celebrate the beginning of their business, inviting friends from across industries. “It was a go-big-or-go-home situation.” laughs Terese. “When we throw a party, we go all-out! And we wanted people to see what we could do, so it was important to make that first event really count.” The party was a success and Impression PR has been growing ever since.
They now represent a host of beauty and lifestyle brands, including Maria Nila Stockholm, Carmex, Beauty Blender and The Body Shop. They’ve also entered the hospitality sector, currently representing restaurants and spas such as Rossopomodoro and Arndal Spa & Fitness.
“We want to continue to work closely with brands we love,” Christina says, adding, “of course we want growth, but it needs to be within reason so that we’re always doing the best job for our clients, as we are now.” This is evident from their steady but thoughtful proliferation; they’ve recently hired a digital consultant, as they are always looking for ways to increase the social media platforms of their clients.
Looking around their top-floor, light-filled showroom, their passion is clear. Their brands are proudly displayed along the walls, with a set of playful vanity mirrors for testing the products. It looks like the kind of space young women would dream about having access to: minimalist and chic but full of colourful beauty products. A veritable PR playground.
Beauty and women’s lifestyle are often dismissed as frivolous pursuits, but the business Impression PR has built is anything but. These are strong businesswomen who know what they want, and more importantly, know how to authentically communicate their message with a larger community, mainly Denmark. But being badass doesn’t start in the office – it’s something that comes from the strength of their relationship.
“We’re never frustrated at the same time,” Terese laughs, “One of us is always pulling the other one up.” And that’s how they made it to the top floor.