Not many people go from interning for a senator on the Hill to working behind the scenes at an artisan ramen pop-up concept within the space of a few years. Alex Huber is not most people.
On track to become a lawyer or public servant, Huber’s life took an unexpected turn when she moved to Nashville. She was studying the bar and working part-time for Otaku South when she discovered her gift for the field of media relations that showcases her first love: food. So she moved to New York and started work at a restaurant and hospitality-focused PR firm.
Now, Alex is back in her hometown of Lexington, and she’s starting her own public relations firm. It’s called Kindling.
We’re partnering with Alex. Kindling’s visual identity derives its primary inspiration from the idea of storytelling – telling a truly great story that gets told and retold, elaborated and altered – making a ripple effect. Combining a handmade aesthetic with a tree ring/fingerprint motif, this identity reflects Kindling’s personal touch.
I sat down with Alex to find out more about her journey back home and what inspires her.
Why did you decide to move from working with food to working for food?
If I was going to cook, I wanted to be in a fast-paced restaurant environment. But I realized early on that the lifestyle was challenging – physically and mentally. My academic background in philosophy [ed. note: first at the University of Kentucky, then at the University of Virginia] and law [ed. note: at the University of South Carolina] hints at a passion for writing. When I discovered that hospitality public relations allowed me to be surrounded by the people and things I felt passionate about, write and talk about them, there didn’t seem to be any other career path for me.
What was your experience like starting out in PR?
An adventure to say the least. I landed in NYC with two suitcases and no idea what I was doing. But luckily, success in PR depends in large part on your ability to cultivate relationships and compel people with your writing and speech. I honed those skills in life and in law school.
What were your clients like?
Operating within the world of restaurants and hospitality pretty much guarantees a roster of interesting clients and experiences. I worked with NYC’s first Cat Café, Meow Parlour, where patrons pay hourly to hang out in a space filled with adoptable pets. I also worked with a family that owned an oyster farm and several restaurants in Virginia; the legendary ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center; and an online art gallery amongst others.
When did you start thinking about coming back to Lexington?
I always knew New York wasn’t permanent; I was envisioning a return to Nashville. But I lost a lifelong friend unexpectedly last fall, and I immediately got on a plane back home. My journey back here started on that plane ride.
At home that weekend with my family and friends, I realized that my life in NYC wasn’t an accurate reflection of my priorities. In a letter to a friend, Hunter S. Thompson wrote, “Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living within that way of life.” This really resonated with me and informed my decision to start Kindling.
What inspired you to start your own business?
Most Lexingtonians who move elsewhere serve as unofficial ambassadors, extolling the virtues of this incredible, beautiful place where we grew up. In the media realm in New York, I realized that there are a lot of incredible stories that aren’t being told. I was excited about the opportunity to share the stories of the people and businesses that are emerging from this region. And I realized that if I wanted to do what I loved, then I would have to create the opportunity on my own.
Why the name Kindling?
When I think about telling stories, I often think about times around a bonfire with my friends. How do you start a fire? When you talk about success in public relations, you are really talking about starting a conversation with someone in the media, guiding that conversation towards something bigger, feeding that story with information, and eventually seeing the story result in publication for people to see and respond to.
What sets Kindling apart in Lexington and beyond?
Sometimes public relations can feel really forced. I truly look forward to working with great clients, telling the stories that come naturally to me, and putting the right information in front of the right people at the right time. 95% of the time I am simply sharing the good news about my clients.
Plans for the future?
Perfect my carnitas recipe, tell great stories, move out of my Mom’s house, grow Kindling into a respected resource for businesses here.
Follow Kindling on Instagram @kindlingpr.
Get to know them on Facebook.
Read our last case study on the newest steps in Good Foods Co-op’s brand evolution.