Talk Shop: Kathryn Worsham Humphries and Carla M. Nikitaidis of All You Need Method
AYN Method Founder Photos by Kaitlin Saragusa

I am so excited for today’s Talk Shop because we are featuring HOUSE of HARPER’s very own Kathryn Worsham Humphries and her partner Carla Nikitaidis. Kathryn and I met back in 2017 after we both moved to Houston after our time in New York City. I immediately saw what a bright and driven person she was and hired her to help me take HoH to the next level. We spent two fun and successful years working side-by-side to grow the HOUSE of HARPER audience, landed (multiple) dream brand partners, launched two monthly interview series – Talk Shop and Mom Crush – and hosted in-person events for women to come together to learn, network and grow… just to name a few.

We had a fun and exciting run, but I couldn’t be more thrilled for Kathryn’s latest brain child, All You Need Method. Their mission is simple: to give small business owners, solopreneurs, and startup founders the tools you need to grow your business and build a lasting brand.

Keep reading to learn more about these two entrepreneurs and how they are changing the PR game.

Talk Shop: Kathryn Worsham Humphries and Carla M. Nikitaidis of All You Need Method
Talk Shop: Kathryn Worsham Humphries and Carla M. Nikitaidis of All You Need Method
Talk Shop: Kathryn Worsham Humphries and Carla M. Nikitaidis of All You Need Method

Originally From: 

Kathryn: Houston. TX 
Carla: New Canaan, CT 


Kathryn: BBA in Marketing from the University of Texas at Austin
Carla: BA Political Science, Gettysburg College 


What are your career backgrounds prior to launching All You Need Method? 

Kathryn: During the summers in college I interned in New York for Ralph Lauren, Teen Vogue, and Lonny, and after I graduated I made the move and worked in the city for four years. 

I’ve always been interested in editorial content, as well as in creative marketing for small brands, and PR presented a way to have a foot in both worlds. My first job out of college was working with Carla at her boutique PR agency CMN PR, where we specialized in launching decor and lifestyle startups. We ended up moving in-house with one of our clients, a startup focused on advancing the careers of women, and my role evolved from media relations to content production. A couple of years later I landed an in-house role at Gap on the global social media team before ultimately moving home to Houston and starting my own PR & marketing consulting business KWH Creative. Over the past few years I have worked with some amazing female-founded businesses based in Houston, including HOUSE of HARPER! 

Carla: I’m originally from Connecticut and lived most of my adult life in New York City before making the move to California – and after a few years in San Francisco I’m now settled in L.A.

PR was not a career path that was ever on my radar but I was always really interested in journalism, publishing, the news, and loved discovering new brands and trends. 

After a brief stint working on Wall Street after college, I landed my first PR job in New York and it just immediately clicked. Unlike most PR careers where you pick one lane or industry and stick to it, my path has been diverse. My experience spans from beauty & fashion, to home & lifestyle, food & beverage, and consumer tech. I’ve worked with leading consumer brands, global retailers, and scrappy startups – both on the agency side and in-house. I ran my own boutique agency, CMN PR from 2009 – 2013, which is how Kathryn and I originally met. These transitions all happened organically. I’m a lifelong learner and one of my favorite aspects about choosing a career in PR is bringing new ideas to life, learning about new industries, and working with incredible leaders and innovators. 

What inspired you to create All You Need Method? 

Kathryn & Carla: The media landscape and PR industry have changed significantly over the past decade. The old model of working with a traditional media relations agency is becoming less and less effective, especially for the influx of entrepreneurs who need guidance but aren’t at a stage in their business where they need to invest thousands of dollars in an agency or consultant just yet. We saw a huge opportunity to create a “new way” to approach PR, Marketing, and Social Media for small businesses. We had been talking about this concept for a while and when March 2020 hit, we saw the immediate need for it. 

Our goal is to educate, inspire, and empower small business owners and creative entrepreneurs to learn about this side of their business. We’ve created a way that business owners who are strapped for time and budget can set aside a few hours, and for a small investment, work through important reflection questions and exercises in order to put a foundation in place for their brand to grow. 

Can you tell us how the PR industry has changed over the past decade?

Kathryn & Carla: The PR industry has changed significantly over the past 10 years. The biggest influence being technology and social media. Publishing is shrinking and it is increasingly more challenging for smaller brands to land coverage in publications. There are fewer magazines, smaller editorial staff, and the news cycle is immediate. For better or for worse, the changing media landscape, social media, and the rise of influencers have completely changed how we get our news, information, and inspiration. As PR professionals, the core of our work (marketing, communications, brand strategy) is more crucial than ever, but how that shows up in the world has evolved. Editorial coverage and earned media are just one of many ways to generate awareness and reach business goals. Digital media and Instagram have changed the game and created a huge opportunity for brands to have a voice and communicate directly with their audience. You no longer need a third party – such as a magazine – to get the word out about your brand. There are “influencers” who have a bigger audience than traditional news outlets – and we’re not just talking about celebrities or high-profile individuals, but also editors and brands who have a following. Social media is a powerful and essential tool that allows brands to build brand awareness, control their messaging, and communicate what they want and when they want to their target customer. ​As a small business owner, it’s essential to tell your own story and communicate directly with your community and customers. ​

All You Need Method is designed to help small business owners and solopreneurs get the word out about their business. Can you tell us about your services and how you help small business owners?

Kathryn & Carla: Our goal is to educate, inspire, and empower small business owners and creative entrepreneurs to build a solid foundation so that they can tell their own story in a way that reaches their target audience, drives sales, and ultimately builds a lasting brand. 

We teach our integrated approach – which is a 7-step method – through our digital course The PR & Social Media Starter Kit. We also offer customized strategy sessions over Zoom where we take an hour to answer specific PR & marketing questions – whether that be advice on a launch, creating a PR plan, advising on content strategy, etc. The sessions are beneficial for businesses at any stage. 

What are your top recommendations for a small business owner or someone with a side hustle looking to get the word out about their business in the midst of the pandemic and a turbulent news cycle? 

Kathryn & Carla: “Earned media” – securing coverage on a website or in a magazine/newspaper is still an invaluable way to drive awareness, but there are so many aspects of earned media that are outside of your control as a business owner. We recommend focusing on what you can control: 1. Building your brand foundation and 2. Telling your own story through your “owned channels” (social media, website, blog, newsletter, etc.). 

Here are 3 foundation-building exercises you can start working on today: 

Reflect on Your “Why”
You have an exciting opportunity as a small business owner to show who you are and put values behind your company from the beginning, so spend some time reflecting on this before you gear up to start spreading the word. Here are some reflection questions to get you started: Why are you starting this business in the first place? What are you passionate about? What has your personal path and career journey been up to this point? What makes you uniquely qualified to service your ideal customer? What do you want people to feel when they buy your product or work with you? 

Carefully Consider Who You’re Selling To
The wants, needs, habits, and interests of consumers have changed significantly even over the past year. It’s crucial to understand your target audience’s current problems or needs in order to build trust, and deliver a product or service that services them and keeps them coming back for more. 
If you try to be for everyone, you end up selling to no one. Start by thinking about who your ideal customer would be and narrowing it down. A lot of small businesses get stuck here, but getting really clear on your ideal customers will help your business in so many ways. Once you have a clear visual of that person (we suggest creating audience personas which is covered in detail in our course) think about how the past year has impacted their life. What do they most need or want that you can give to them – whether through your product or service, or areas of expertise? Knowing this information will shape your messaging, content, and communication.

Refresh Your Website and Social Channels 
If your website and social media channels are already set up, now is a great time to refresh them. If you haven’t set them up yet, now is the time! When you’re refreshing or setting up, consider if your ideal customer had a 30-second encounter with your website or Instagram page: what information would you want them to walk away with? This is what should be front and center on your homepage, Instagram bio, etc. Make it easy for your ideal customer to understand what you stand for, what you do, and why you’re the best option for them. Include important details like store hours, what you offer, who your product or service is for, as well as anything that makes your business special. If you’re stuck on what sets your business apart from others, think about step 1: your personal story, the “why” behind your company, your values, etc. Those are unique to you and no one else can claim them.

Social media has become essential to a business’s success, but it can be overwhelming and difficult to keep up with. What are your top social media strategy and content tips for a small business owner? 

Kathryn & Carla: Consistently posting to social media can seem overwhelming, especially as a solopreneur, but there are ways to make it manageable:

Pick only a one to two owned channels to focus on, prioritizing platforms you are most familiar with using and where your audience is most active

Quality and consistency are more important than quantity. If you’re only posting once a week due to bandwidth, that’s OK! Commit to that and continue to grow as you’re able

To inspire ideas for what you’re posting, think about how you can serve your customers through your areas of expertise and what is relevant to both your brand and audience (events, holidays, partnerships, new product launches, etc.)

Take advantage of easy design tools like Canva, as well as iPhone editing apps like VSCO

Create a content calendar so that you can plan out posts a month in advance to avoid last-minute scrambling to decide what to post. You can set this up in a simple Google doc. We include a template with our digital course

If a new brand is debating organic versus paid advertising to spread the word, what would you advise based on your experience?

While both are important, we advise new brands to start by growing organically before diving into paid advertising. Think about what makes you more likely to purchase something – hearing about a brand from friends or seeing an unpaid recommendation from someone you follow on social media OR a paid advertisement on Instagram. Organic mentions are always more impactful. You can build your organic presence through your content, as well as through unpaid partnerships with other brands and influencers which you can facilitate with product gifting, coordinating giveaways, and collaborating with others on Instagram Lives, blog posts, etc. 

As small business owners yourselves, what are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of running your own company?

We can relate to our core customers in so many ways as small business owners. Right now, time is one of the most challenging aspects as we are building and getting things off the ground. We are a small team and there are only 24 hours in a day. Other the other hand, we can also relate to the feeling of creating something and bringing it to life. We understand the passion and the vision our clients have because we have it for All You Need Method. 

It has been incredibly rewarding to hear the inspiring success stories so far from business owners – many of whom are interior designers, artists, and creatives – who have either taken our course, done a strategy session with us, or both. There is nothing better than knowing we’ve been able to help a small business grow and reach their goals. 


Favorite accounts to follow on Instagram?

Kathryn: @houseandgardenuk for British interiors, @wardrobeicons for styling inspo, and @bewellbykelly for nutrition and wellness 

Carla: I have been loving @rachelrodgersesq founder of @hello7co., she teaches women how to make million-dollar decisions, @condenasttreveller never gets old for me, I pretty much save all of their posts for future travel planning, I also love following @iamkelleycarter, the Fashion Home Director and Bloomingdales who always knows the best trends in fashion and home, she recently got @poerterjamesny on my radar and I cannot get enough

Any organization or work/life balance tips for other founders and solopreneurs? 

Kathryn: Find the windows of time when you are most productive, and block those off for work. During the hours that you aren’t most productive (late afternoon for me) give yourself the freedom to take a break, whether that’s going on a walk or taking a nap (I’m pregnant so the afternoon naps are essential these days!). We are all wired differently, and knowing your own circadian rhythm and widows of productivity can help you create a schedule that gives you time for work and for yourself. 

Carla: Be super protective of your time. It is so easy to get into the trap of responding to every email immediately, or saying yes to everything, especially if you have a serviced-based business. Map out your week in advance, get really clear on the 3-5 things each week that will move your business forward, and stay laser-focused on that. Draw boundaries and do not be afraid to say no. 

In 10 years, I hope to be: 

Kathryn: Looking back on a successful first decade of All You Need Method impacting the lives and success of small business owners! Ideally splitting time between Texas, New York, and Europe, because we can work from anywhere – a gal can dream! 

Carla: We have many more online courses available all over the world and have helped millions of small business owners and entrepreneurs build their dream businesses and thrive.