How I spend my working day – Irish PR Hannah Saunders

Dublin-born Hannah Saunders is the founder of Hannah Saunders PR, a full service fashion, beauty and lifestyle PR consultancy based in London.


Having worked in PR for several years, Hannah Saunders made the move to set up her own firm in 2016, at the ripe old age of 25. Don’t let her youth fool you. This woman knows what she’s doing and is causing waves on both sides of the Irish sea, working tirelessly to establish herself in the UK capital. The hard work is paying off. She has over 15 brands currently on her books.

“I’m very proud to say that 80% of our clients are Irish including Easilocks, Spotlight Oral Care, Therapie Clinic, Freddy Jeans, Emma by Jane, Alice & Blair, Baby Elegance, Bloom Magic and White and Green.”

She sites her ability to prioritise, along with her social media and communication skills as the keys to her success. “I thrive off change, it stops you from getting complacent. If you are someone who gets bored easily try working in PR.”

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I wake at…

Either 6am or 7am depending on whether I am going to the gym before or after work.

The first thing I do every morning is…

Honest answer? Scroll Instagram.

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Breakfast is usually…

I have never been a big breakfast person, but I usually have a Revive Active supplement. It's great for energy levels. I don’t drink caffeine. I pick up a spinach, cucumber and lime juice on my walk into work.

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I can’t go to work without…

My make-up bag. I top up my lipgloss a lot.

Deciding what to wear each morning is…
Usually determined by what meetings I have that day, if it’s a no-meeting day it is jeans and Converse or a pair of boots. If I have meetings I will generally wear a dress and heels. ‘Dress for the job you want’ as they say, and ‘keep your head, your heels and your standards high!'

The best investment I ever made in my work wardrobe was…

A pair of Stuart Weitzman over-the-knee suede boots. They are chic, comfortable for running around at events, even with a heel, and are still perfect four years on. I live in them. I tend to buy designer pieces second hand, from an online site called Open for Vintage, which is Irish owned.

My red Louis Vuitton Speedy bag is my favorite and is great to spice up an all black, grey or navy look. Clothing aside, getting Invisalign, to straighten my teeth, is the best investment I have ever made, the smallest difference has increased my confidence massively and especially in the communications industry where there is a lot of talking and meeting face-to-face, so feeling confident in your smile is really important.

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I travel to work by… 

foot. The biggest perk of starting my own business was finding an office that was in walking distance. I can’t tell you how much ditching the tube commute in London has boosted my overall mood. Everyone looks so miserable, it can bring you down.

I start my working day at… 

I send out the first email at about 8am, but our office hours are 9–6pm, Monday to Friday.

I usually spend the first portion of the day…

Reading the news, monitoring social media for client opportunities, reviewing Google alerts, clearing my inbox from the night before (I can get up to 200 emails a day), checking any press coverage we might be expecting for our clients and checking in with all of our clients daily.

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I break for lunch…

Whenever I can find a moment to breathe! No day is the same, but in general I have something from Deliveroo for lunch. I know it sounds so lazy, but I really try to get my work done between the hours of 9-6pm. I like to be at my desk as much as possible as I have multiple daily client calls, and let’s face it we can’t really turn around and say, ‘sorry just milling in to my sandwich, call you back later!’. There are tonnes of healthy options and I find it keeps me quite disciplined mid-week.

I keep my energy topped up by snacking on …

Mandarins. I also nurture my hot chocolate addiction throughout the day.

I think meetings are…

Necessary. In the digital age, people are spending less and less time physically connecting and meeting face-to-face. It is important to have real human interaction. I love meetings. My colleagues say I can talk for Ireland. I am really passionate about what I do, and it is important that our clients can feel my passion. Also, I find some people have a blunt or short tone on email, and words can be misinterpreted.

The more you meet someone in person and get a sense and feel for their personality the less you tend to take emails personally. It is so easy to misjudge someone’s mood or tone via email, so it is important to meet as frequently as possible. If you are efficient you will use the time well and achieve so much in a meeting that will save you multiple unnecessary mails.

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The most useful business tool I use every day is…

WhatsApp. It really does help cut back the volume of emails. Also it is much less formal, so none of this, Dear Sir/Madam, kind regards malarkey, you just get to the point!

My advice though to those of you using Whatsapp as a business tool, is to make sure your working hours are still respected. I don’t mind working around the clock myself, however for my staff/colleagues I want to ensure that their working day finishes at 6pm.

I want people who work for my agency to go home feeling happy and not stressed or anxious about coming back in the next day.

The wellbeing and happiness of the people who work for my agency is my number one priority. I have previously worked in environments where mental health was of very little importance so ensuring my team have a strong work/life balance is crucial. I want them to go home feeling happy and not stressed or anxious about coming back in the next day.

I save time by… 

Being really organised. I pick up the phone where necessary and cut as much admin as possible. Internal documents do not need to be fancy. I think honesty can be a huge time saver. I always say to my team if you are struggling with a task let me know as soon as possible so we can all group together to figure out a solution. A problem shared is a problem halved.

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I rarely get through my working day without…

Music. We always have music on in the office. I find it helps to keep energy levels up. If you’re having a particularly stressful day all it takes is for one of your favorite songs to come on to boost your mood.

The best part of my day is…

I genuinely love my job so much I no longer answer this question with, ‘going home!’. When we get a big client win, be it a major celebrity wearing one of our fashion brands, or if we open a magazine to see one of our clients featured it is such a buzz.

The most challenging part of my day is…

Deciding what I want for lunch, I am stupidly indecisive when comes to food. We often have major deadlines, and sometimes in a week we might have three events on back to back and things can be really hectic, but I really thrive off being busy and I sometimes find I am more proactive when I am under a little bit of pressure.

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I know it’s been a good day if I…

Feel I am really getting on top of my to do lists and I have worked to the best of my ability.

I usually end my day at…

6.15pm to go for a gym class. At the moment I am doing a body barre class for an hour most evenings. I get home then at about 8pm, have my dinner and finish up any work I have to do. I watch an episode of Netflix or listen to a podcast. I should go to bed earlier but usually it is 11pm.

I switch off from work by…

Listening to podcasts. I am a podcast addict, The High Low, How I Built This and Table Manners are some of my favorites. I love going for a late night walk with my husband, Richie. We have a park near our home, right on the river, and we love to go and just have the chats. I love an exercise class as I don’t have my phone on me for a whole hour. I love calling my family for catch ups.

"Our next trip is to Japan for our honeymoon to see Ireland in the Rugby World Cup. We are going to the quarter-finals and semi-finals, as we are both rugby obsessed."

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They keep me really centred. My biggest re-setter is travel and planning little trips away. Richie and I love to travel so much, and so we both work hard so we can travel as much as possible. Our next trip is to Japan for our honeymoon to see Ireland in the Rugby World Cup. We are going to the quarter-finals and semi-finals, as we are both rugby obsessed.

Before I go to bed, I’ll always…

Enjoy a spot of pampering. I have a pretty militant skincare regime, and I cannot go to bed unless the make-up is well and truly gone and I have a concoction of about 10 different products on my face. At the moment my favorite brands are Obagi, Voya, Lancer, Seed to Skin and Omorovicza.

In bed I love to listen to a sleep story on the app Calm, it's brilliant. My favourite is Stephen Fry’s Lullabies, I have never gotten to the end because it always puts me to sleep.

I prepare for tomorrow by… 

Writing to do lists, packing my gym bag and thinking about what I am going to wear. I check the weather forecast – that usually determines my outfit for the next day!


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Read more: Stories from inspiring Irish businesswomen

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