Pernille moved from Copenhagen almost five year ago to start from scratch in LA building up a network, a client base, and gallery connections. Today she has her dream job working with creative people, traveling all over the world for art fairs, gallery shows, and collaborations.

Q: What's your background, and what are you working on?

I have a Master’s in communication and leadership from Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. I always knew I wanted to work with PR as I love the whole networking part of it and how strategic it is, but I had no idea back then that I would end up working in the art world. PR is basically a form of selling - in an indirect way and just in a more refined way if you ask me. You’re selling a product, a story, or a person to the media and hopefully, it will lead to sales in the long run.

I used to work at an ad agency back in Denmark while I was studying and got the opportunity to do an internship at this fancy New Yorker gallery ‘The Hole’. I didn’t think twice before I had packed my suitcase and was ready to leave. I love New York and also love to try new things out and challenge myself. It became the turning point in my life. The more I got to know about the art world the more obsessed I got with it.

I work as the PR & Partnership Director for an artist located here in Los Angeles and we just recently had a big solo show at the internationally acknowledged Maddox Gallery. We’re working on various different projects right now, some short time and some long-term. One thing is guaranteed, there’s never a dull moment when you work in art.

Pernille Kjeldsen

Q: How have you attracted clients and grown your firm?

I’ve been very fortunate that people in my network recommend me to people in their network. Word of mouth is the best sort of marketing you can get and this is the way I have been able to grow my network and contacts.

I never close any doors and I always strive to make a good impression - even though you might not feel it’s important in the moment, but you never know if you one day will cross paths with that certain person again at some point. I’m my own brand and it’s so important how I present myself in social gatherings. I make sure to always be open to new connections and one thing I’ve learned since moving to LA (which I, by the way, love about living here), is that you often are met by people that want to be of service to others. This is something I’ve inhabited myself and practice daily. If you show that you’re willing to help others, they most likely want to help you back - times ten! In Denmark, it was quite the opposite. People were not eager to help each other with, for example, introductions. It was more a sort of ‘lack mentality, like why should I give you this connection for free that has taken me years to obtain myself. I’m all in for helping each other, I highly believe in abundance and I guess that’s a part of what has brought me this far in my career and moreover a reason I thrive in Los Angeles.

Q: What are your goals for the future?

My goals for the future is first and foremost never to stop developing myself both when it comes to my career and in my private life. I have a lot of goals when it comes to who I’d like to work with someday both in terms of artists, galleries, and brands to collaborate with. I want to create a name for myself in the industry and be a person that is respected for my work and has a good reputation. I always get so grateful and honored when someone tells me how others perceive me, and I always think to myself ‘wow, is that really me they’re referring to?’. I’m very humbled by nature and still struggle with believing in myself, so hearing that from others really puts things into perspective. It forces me to see myself from the outside which I believe is a healthy thing. I hope I will continue to love what I’m doing and see it as my passion more than work. I feel very grateful that I work with something that is my passion and that I get to live in the most amazing place (if you ask me). I still pinch myself every morning when I wake up and walk down to the ocean. My goal and hope are to continue to feel this gratitude for life and for the choices I’ve made.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you've faced so far?

That’s a good question. I frankly can say that there have been quite a lot of challenges especially since I moved to LA five years ago. I feel my life has been a crazy rollercoaster ever since and I have grown more in the last five years than the rest of my life while I lived in Denmark. Moving here without knowing anyone and starting up from scratch building a life, a career, and network, friendships, etc has been the biggest challenge of my life. But for every bump on the way, you always get on your feet again stronger and wiser.

There are many differences between Danish and American culture and a lot of things I have had to get used to by living here. Los Angeles is both the most amazing and hardest place to live. You have to hustle non-stop if you want to make it here. There’s no safety net helping you out. It’s a city where you easily can feel alone, even though you’re surrounded by great people. It has been one long tough journey, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Q: What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?

I’ve pretty much learned everything by trying things out and seeing if it works or not. Don’t be afraid to fail, I will almost emphasize that you have to fail to get better. You always learn from failures and hopefully won’t do the same thing again. When you realize that failures aren’t that bad you are more willing to take risks and that’s the way you’ll see progress.

Another good piece of advice is don’t be afraid to ask your network for help. It has been something I’ve struggled with and still do. But every time I ask someone for help I realize that people are so willing to help you in any way you need. And I know I’m the same way myself. I just don’t want to be a burden for anyone, but I realize that it’s only in my head I see it as a burden.

Integrity is a keyword in all business I do. If you’re genuine and real people want to work with you and it gives you a huge advantage. Always keep your word, don’t be flaky, and show true interest in the people you work with, then you have a great foundation for success.