Pernille Kjeldsen, Founder

Pernille Kjeldsen has always been passionate about public relations, earning a degree in communications and then pursuing a Master’s in PR. Those were her Denmark days, and now the PK PR & Branding founder has her own LA-based shop – and city – to show for it. We spoke with her about how she got her start, why starting a business in the US is so different from Denmark, the role social media plays in the art world and more. 

How did you get your start in PR?

I pursued my studies in communication at Copenhagen Business School, where I had the opportunity to delve into various subjects, including PR. What particularly captivated me was the strategic aspect of PR – the process of constructing a public image for individuals or companies and contributing to their development and profile enhancement. Branding is so important for anyone, whether you’re a public person, a company, a brand etc. PR encompasses a wide array of roles beyond securing magazine interviews. I love being creative and discovering new ways and opportunities for my clients to level up their brands. I decided to further specialize in PR during my Master's studies. In parallel, I pursued a student position at an advertising agency in Copenhagen, aiming to gain practical experience in the field.

What made you leave Denmark for LA, and ultimately start PK PR & BRANDING?

While I was living in New York between my Undergraduate and Master's, I traveled to LA and became drawn to the city. The climate, the natural surroundings, the iconic palm trees, and the collective mindset of its inhabitants resonated deeply with me. I love Denmark and always will, but I found that my aspirations and lifestyle were better aligned with the culture that LA offered. A culture that encourages ambitious dreaming, fostering an environment where people rally behind your pursuits. In Denmark, sharing grand aspirations often garners skepticism. Denmark has an incredible safety net making sure that everyone is taken care of, meaning there’s not the same encouragement to take any risks. In contrast, LA's ethos demands hard work and the willingness to confront failure for the sake of a fulfilling life. I have always been a dreamer and a go-getter.

My journey in LA commenced with full-time work for a single artist seven years ago. I knew I eventually wanted to start my own agency one day and represent a diverse clientele. The freedom you have when you’re working for yourself is the biggest luxury. Additionally, being my own boss and curating partnerships according to my preferences resonated deeply with me, particularly as a owner of a smaller agency. I believe I have created the business I always dreamt of. Admittedly, entrepreneurship has its downsides, like the uncertainty of retaining clients from month to month. But I’ll take it anyday for the freedom it brings me.

What are some of the key lessons learned from launching an agency and running a business?

So many! Not only is it my first business, but starting a business in the US is very different from Denmark. Luckily I have good people to support me. For me, the predominant approach has been learning by doing – a philosophy I embrace across various aspects of life. Reflecting on my journey from where I started and where I am today is like night and day. Two pivotal pieces of advice I would give is: firstly, don't shy away from failure. Learn by doing - any setbacks are bound to yield valuable insights for the future. Secondly, try not to worry too much about the future. This one is a hard one, but maintaining the right mindset is key in entrepreneurship.

A significant contributor to my agency's success has been my network. Most of my clients have been referrals or friends of friends, which I feel extremely grateful for. Your network is your net worth, simply put. Treat everyone with kindness along your journey, help others when you can - you never know when it will come back around - plus being of service to others just gives you personal fulfillment.

What’s a typical workday like for you?

A usual day often kicks off with morning meetings, given that I cater to clients spanning different time zones globally. Some days I leave to go co-work from Soho House, other days I have in-person meetings with clients, galleries, business connections etc. Working in the art world involves a lot of events and gallery openings, leading to evenings and weekends frequently being dedicated to this. It’s not a typical 8-5 job, which is one of the things I love about my job - no two days are alike. 

With a background across lifestyle agencies, are there any nuances to doing art PR versus fashion or design? 

Certainly. I started my career in fashion, but transitioned into the art industry several years ago. I realized I enjoy working on branding artists and galleries more than promoting clothing or other products. Working within the art sphere offers a profound level of depth and personal fulfillment that I found more rewarding than my experience in the clothing sector.

What role, if any, does social media play in art PR?

It plays a huge role. It has considerably simplified the process for artists to gain recognition and establish their own success, reducing their reliance on galleries. In my role, I leverage social media extensively to promote art exhibitions, artists, and related content. The majority spend more time on social media than reading magazines to keep them updated. I know you can’t compare the two, but both platforms are crucial components of a comprehensive PR strategy. Notably, social media has emerged as a highly effective and cost-efficient tool for amplifying promotional campaigns.

Where might we run into you out and about in LA?

You'll often find me at art openings across the city. I live in Venice Beach, so  when I’m not working, I spend as much time as I can outdoors at the beach or hiking.

Can you share a little about any current or upcoming projects you’re excited about?

I'm currently developing an exciting new addition to my business that I am very excited to share with the world. Although I can't reveal too much at this stage, as it's still in the initial development phase, I can share that it's specifically geared towards artists.


Contact The PR Net