20 years of Hel’s Angels

written by Melina

This month is our birthday, hoorah. For 20 years we have been inspiring people and working with amazing Angels to bring client’s campaigns to life. Our longevity in the business shows how staying true to our philosophy of bespoke staff selection and a focus on training, leads to happy and committed teams which benefits both the brand and consumer.

To celebrate this amazing milestone, we interview our founder Helen Hanson about how she started the company and what is takes to run a successful business full of inspiring Angels:

HA: Why did you start Hel’s Angels?

HH: By accident – but I soon recognised there was a gap in the market for bright, engaging staff who both client and consumers wanted to speak with.

HA: What was your first job and how did it go?

HH: Our 1st job was for Bacardi Spice and Dr Martens. We were tasked (by my dear friend Drew who at that time worked for Capitalise) with running a VIP bar and chillout tent at Reading Festival. It was massively successful and became the go-to celebrity hang out –  Kylie, Chris Evans, Jamiroquai, Zoe Ball, you name it they were there. Working with Bacardi then moved on to working on the launch of the Bacardi B Bar, which turned into one of the best festival bars of its era.  We have always worked with Alcohol brands, from the launch of Morgan’s Spiced with the Sound Presence tour, through to Appleton Jamaican Rum, Courvoisier and Glenfiddich.

HA: What is your favourite job of all time?

HH: So hard to say, there have been so many.  I am still enormously proud when an activity is well received when you have been planning it for so long. Nintendo was very new to the UK in 1999, so seeing it grow from strength to strength was very exciting. Providing our first big team of Angels at the 02 (then the Millennium dome) was huge; this was the beginning of experiential, consumers were genuinely wowed by the activations.  Taking experiences around the country and witnessing the different regional reactions is also really interesting.

HA: What has been the biggest challenge you have faced and what did it teach you?

HH: You cannot be in 10 different places at once, so planning and delegation are crucial to the success of activity.  We have often been misinformed by clients, so things haven’t gone according to plan.  My moto has always been, ‘adapt and overcome’  there is always a solution, you just need to think practically and not panic.

HA: What do you look for when interviewing potential Angels?

HH: We have employed such talented people over the years and are genuinely proud of our Angels. I for one would like to think I am a bloody good judge of character and can spot someone who not only will compliment the agency but who can also grow with us.  We look for a genuine character, someone with a real passion for life and excellent communication skills.

HA: Do you have any original Angels still on the books?

HH: We do indeed – and some have moved into different roles within the office and some have gone on to become clients. And my husband retrained as a photographer which has benefited us enormously.  We certainly still have Angels who have been with us for well over 10 years.

HA: How has the company developed in the last 20 years?

HH: We have consciously not grown at an enormous rate, so as to keep the integrity of the agency.  The industry has changed and sadly staffing is now seen as a commodity but we still refuse to compromise. We are lucky enough to work with clients who appreciate the importance of staff who can actually engage with consumers – so we are still able to hand pick the right talents for the right brand activations and create the best immersive experiences.

HA: What are the 3 most important things you’ve learnt in the last 20 years of running a business?

HH: Accountability, excellence and not compromising when it comes to staffing. We know and love our staff which is an ethos that hasn’t changed over the years – they are fundamental to the success of the business and the campaigns we work on.

HA: What does Hel’s Angels stand for today? Has this philosophy changed since you started the company?

HH: The ethos has remained the same in terms of employing real people, trusting them and understanding what they are good at and getting the best out of them.