This is what we call the way that we work – we aim to smile always – as this helps with any situation. Behind this smile we engage our brains 100% of the time to generate good ideas using a pragmatic approach. I would say that we are the sales end of marketing – we understand that marketing and sales are intrinsically linked and if what we do does not help towards sales it is not doing its job.
We aim to get every job done to the best of our ability. We will be completely honest if we feel we cannot do something but usually we know someone good that can. We like being organised – it means that we can do more in less time. We believe that the more we understand the business the more that you achieve by working with us and over time this happens, as confidence and trust build. We look beyond our brief for opportunities as this is what provides us with our buzz – a lovely piece of coverage, fabulous product placement, a new customer won for one of our clients…
And we relish any chance to write – this is something that we do not see as work but pleasure – so it is good that it is such a large part of what we do!

The Monkhouse Team is small and effective. We work collaboratively with a number of other specialist agencies to deliver projects. We also have an extended team that join us on specific projects where we use specific talents.  We are friendly and efficient. We do not pretend to be bigger than we are. We do though deliver a lot in a day’s work! Our focus is on developing relationships with our clients, the media and everyone that we work with. We feel that we deliver a stronger team by providing combined expertise from across the food sector, rather than by trying to be experts at everything. We know our sector and our objective is to deliver the best team for the individual client – to deliver their brief.

A brief introduction to me..!

Clare Downes (the founder of Monkhouse, in 2001)

Farming, Food, Politics and Sport… All of these are important to me and I have been lucky enough to have a mix all through my life. I ought to of course add in friends and family! This is a short speedy synopsis – but in summary I am a dairy farmer’s daughter and I have been brought-up around the making of Appleby’s cheese. Without realising it, I think that my future business was probably sub-consciously decided at a young age as I was learning about food and farming at home. I did though, briefly, think that I was going to go into Politics, after studying International Politics at University – I think though that this has been useful in other ways – dealing with situations and people in business-life!

Sport has always played a major part in my life – now this is running as you can do this easily and fit it in between children and business. Watching the children play sport takes up our weekends. I was fortunate enough to play lacrosse for Wales and had amazing experiences travelling on tour to America, training as part of a World Cup Squad at the age of 20 and captaining and vice captaining international sides. I do know the Welsh national anthem and am a passionate Welsh rugby supporter! Having left university, I started out on a foodie career which included; business development with Merrydown Cider and then with Unilever – Bird’s Eye Walls. I crossed over into marketing working on the Diet Coke account in a London-based sales promotional agency. After this I worked in marketing for Groupe Chez Gerard Restaurants – including at that time, brands such as Livebait, Cafe Fish, Bertorelli’s, Soho Soho, Scott’s of Mayfair and of course Chez Gerard. I then made the move home to Shropshire in 2000 and started Monkhouse in 2001.

The business has increasingly focused on what I know best and enjoy most – food, drink, hospitality and some agriculture is also thrown in. The business is based on our farm – I somehow managed to marry a farmer (sheep and arable).

We work from a converted 16th century pantry attached to the farmhouse. From here we also run Monkhouse Granary – a conference centre in converted original farm buildings. We work with businesses that have the drive and energy to go forward – this makes what we do rewarding. Over the years we have built up a team of other great people that we work with an recommend. London is just 1 hour 15 on the train, so we have the benefit of being based on a farm but being able to be in London for early morning meetings and evening events, if required – or anywhere else that clients need us to be…

I also work with individuals and businesses within and outside of the food and drink sector as an executive business coach.

Circle Communication website

Becky George (PR Manager)

Becky George (Senior Account Director)

After 21 years in London, Becky finally made it back to her beloved home county of Shropshire. Fourteen years experience in a full service agency environment have provided Becky with a solid understanding of multiple marketing disciplines and the importance of effective brand communication. Becky is responsible for Monkhouse’s cheese and other savoury clients – satisfying her appetite for great food and giving her the perfect excuse to continue messing about in the kitchen in the name of ‘research’!

Natasha Najm (Senior Account Manager)

Representing Monkhouse in London and the South East, Tash joined the team in July 2017. With over a decade working in food, drink and hospitality PR, during which time she achieved a Level 3 Wine & Spirit Education Trust certificate, Tash supports the team across Spanish food, lamb and cheese accounts. A fan of English wine, Tash says she couldn’t live without her slow cooker, and enjoys hitting the gym to spin or swim.

 

Clare Robinson (Senior Account Manager)

​After seven years in London and four in Hong Kong, Clare has returned to beautiful​, ​rural Shropshire ​- ​and is excited to go back to her roots and love of all things food and drink. With a Marketing and HR background, she is looking forward​ ​to branching out into the​ world of​ PR ​-​ in particular​ getting stuck into​ ​sample tasting sessions​! Clare will be looking​ after ​our snacking, chocolate, ice cream and cider clients – which fit​​ perfectly with her sweet tooth!

 

Cheryl Griffiths (Junior Account Manager)

From fashion to food! Cheryl spent four years in London working in fashion PR, before returning to Shropshire in 2015, where she freelanced at Monkhouse. After a year of travelling and working in Australia and Asia, Cheryl returned to the UK – and to Monkhouse. She enjoys drinking prosecco, (trying) to bake, reading magazines, playing netball – and spreading her #pozzievibes around the office!

 

Rosalind Evry (Junior Account Executive and Monkhouse Granary Events Manager)

After finishing her studies at The University of York and completing two internships in marketing – one at a National Trust property in Yorkshire and one at a local digital agency – Rosalind has made Shrewsbury her home and is excited to get into PR. At Monkhouse, she supports the running of client events. Rosalind also manages all of the bookings for Monkhouse Granary – the conferencing part of Monkhouse. When not at work – Rosalind enjoys running and all things art, she also loves cooking and experimenting with the latest foodie trends.
 

Lisa Fox (Team Administration Executive)

With a degree in Publishing and a fifteen year career in children’s books, Lisa is the most recent recruit to the Monkhouse team. She moved back to her native Shropshire two years ago, and now works part time at Monkhouse, whilst freelancing for the rest of the week. Lisa role is supportive, making sure that the office runs smoothly and that all our documents and coverage look great.

 

Bea Gascoigne (PR Intern)

After finishing an Executive PA Diploma at Oxford Media & Business School, Bea moved back to rural Shropshire. Having worked within the media and marketing team at Bolesworth International Horse Show, Bea took an interest in marketing and is now learning from the Monkhouse team as the PR intern.

 

sue

Sue Mottershead (Monkhouse Granary Guest Support)

Sue allows the Monkhouse Granary to operate. Sue provides the practical service that our guests experience – particularly she enjoys meeting the clients and is proud to support the team in delivering meetings and workshops.