Business, Q + A

Kim Barty, Trojan Horse, Cape Town

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What is your business and how did it start?

Trojan Horse is a specialist PR and communications business. I’d worked in corporate PR for years and had always longed to do my own thing. Two friends started a brand development business and asked me to join them, so I waved goodbye to my boss, packed up my desk and set up office in a corner in my little cottage. I used my pension payout to buy my first laptop – R25,000 in 2001, considering they are now under R10, 000, I thought that showed commitment!

Words hold magic, and over the last year Trojan Horse has conceptualized and implemented some large scale communications campaign in the financial services industry:

  • The Coffee Campaign for Board of Executives
  • The Fine Art of Wine for Nedbank
  • Sweet Success for Old Mutual
  • Bonsai Campaign for Citadel

In addition to these campaigns, Trojan Horse has focused on publicity in the lifestyle and sporting categories. Some of our clients include the Gourmet Festival, The SA Golf Open, Peninsula Beverage (Bottler of the Coca-Cola Products in the Western Cape), MyCube and William Grant & Sons’ whisky brands.

Why Trojan Horse?

In keeping with the Greek myth, Trojan Horse creatively accesses people, places and spaces.

What are some recent events you’ve organised and how stressful was the process?

I don’t organize events really, I partner the event organizer in providing communications and publicity. One of my most exciting projects is the PR and communications for the SA Open, held at Pearl Valley Golf Estates and supported by some of the world’s greatest golfers – Ernie Els, Trevor Immelman, Rory Sabbatini, Tim Clark and Henrik Stenson. We ran an international media centre and provided the communications and media releases from the launch to the event. Moment of extreme stress when Ernie Els decides which journalist he will talk to, when we have a whole process and timing set up – takes contingency to a whole new level.

What is your favourite event?

Two of my favourite events are the SA Open and the Gourmet Festival. I work with a fantastic team at the SA Open and Pearl Valley is a gorgeous golf course, the Gourmet Festival is very challenging from a client liaison point of view, but then I get to meet some of TV’s top celebrity chefs and I love food!

What do you love most about what you do? Least?

I love writing and love seeing my words in print, or on the airwaves. Least … clients who think they are PR experts – why don’t they do it themselves?!

What is your passion? What keeps you motivated?

I love people and I love seeing solutions to a problem, in my case communications problems. I’m a hard worker and I don’t like to let people down, so I guess that would be part of my motivation.

How does a typical day pan out?

I have the privilege of working from home, and so far in eight years, have managed not to come to my desk in my PJ’s! I drop my five-year old daughter at school at about 08:30 and then its all hands on deck for the work at hand. I fetch Zoe from school at about 12:30, and share lunch with her before I’m drawn back to my desk. Have to confess that if let loose, I’d be a workaholic – have played that game, it’s really easy for me to work. It takes a conscious effort to be present with Zoe and not distracted by the work at hand. My housekeeper leaves at 3 each day, then I’m a ‘real’ mom – baking, going to the library, tramping to the park in our gum boots, chasing after her as she learns to ride a bike.
I usually realize at 6pm that I have no clue what’s for supper, try and rustle up something and just manage to get Zoe to bed by 8pm. Fortunately, my husband, Jeremy, is a chef, so supper is a synch to him, it’s just the kitchen we have to contend with after, I don’t know how he always manages to splash the tiles behind the stove – but the sauces are worth it.

What do you do in your spare time? Hobbies ?

I love being in the outdoors, so walking or running in the generous open spaces in Cape Town. I started surfing last year, but I’m not a real surfer, but would like to try again some time. I’m a rookie gardener, disheartened by caterpillars eating our broccoli and Chinese cabbage and some rust attacking the tomatoes, so this winter I’m focusing on my compost heap and starting a worm farm.

Kim Barty, Trojan Horse, Cape Town, South Africa

What do you love about Cape Town? Dislike?

I love the seasons that at the end of summer, I pack away my summer clothes and sandals and haul out the coats, scarves and beanies. I love bundling up and walking on the mountain in winter, but I hate the incessant rain, a glimpse of sunshine lifts my mood.
I love the fact that you are free to be you – whether you’re a rasta, a hippie, a yuppie or a trendy, there are no rules here. Smart casual on an invitation means anything!
Only in Cape Town, would a toilet lead directly off a restaurant and be acceptable, only in Cape Town would unmatching furniture – retro and junk be cool, only in Cape Town can you park on both sides of the road, only in Cape Town is everything a half-hour away, only in Cape Town can you always see the mountain.
Dislike? Only in Cape Town is it important where you went to school.

Favourite spots? Favourite restaurants/ cafes?

I love the Bird Café in Bree Street. Only in Cape Town could you sit on milk crates and it’s trendy! The food is gorgeous, especially the wheatless, sugarless, nut, fruit and chocolate muffins (don’t know how they get that right), so huge it’s too big for two.
I love Kalk Bay – the ecclecticness (if there is such a word), the cobbled streets, the views that make up for having no garage, off-street parking or garden, the second-hand stores where junk is designer, the almond croissants from the Olympic Café, the fish and chips at Live Bait where you can lean out and touch the waves.

I love the Seapoint Promenade where all is discussed from politics to passion, where grannies walk their dogs, north Africans play soccer, kids ride their bikes and the rest of us try and get fit alongside the ocean.

Kim can be contacted at Trojan Horse on +27 (0) 83 630 6861

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Lois Nicholls is an Australian freelance journalist. She is also the author of "Aussie, Actually," which captures her heartfelt experiences as a South African migrant living in Australia. Her second book, "Bye-bye Bikini", published in August 2018, is a series of frank and humorous essays navigating everyday life from the perspective of a fifty-something former newspaper and magazine journalist. Her first children's book, "What Dog is That?" available in hardcopy from www.beekindpress.com was published in May 2019. Her books on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2qRUY0c