It was about 15 years ago when Aneisha McMillan had an idea for a product she wanted to launch and needed a public relations firm to give her plan a boost. The problem was, she couldn’t afford to hire someone. So, she did the next best thing. She taught herself how to do it.
That self-training launched a new career for the Michigan-born McMillan, and now she’s bringing her business to a new storefront location on Trade Street in Hope Mills.
Her business, Oink Agency, will share space with her husband, Shaun McMillan’s, Drama Lab, a video audition business geared toward aspiring actors. Shaun, a retired Army ranger, is an actor with multiple film and TV credits on his resume.
Aneisha said her career in public relations snowballed after she was able to land products she was promoting on “Good Morning America” and other outlets.
“I started getting calls from other entrepreneurs who said, ‘Hey, how did you do that?’ she said. “They started asking, ‘can you do it for me?’ It turned into an actual career.’’
The flying pig logo that adorns the door of her new location on Trade Street is a symbol of McMillan’s attitude toward life.
“My entire family has an affinity for flying pigs,’’ she said. “For us, the meaning is anything imaginable is possible if you believe in yourself, believe in your dreams. The flying pig is the embodiment of that notion. Impossible things happen every day.’’
McMillan said her favorite clients are what she calls mom and pop shops. “They are fiercely driven and so passionate,’’ she said.
Her biggest client for now is the Halloween and Costume Association, a group of merchants who specialize in Halloween-related products including costumes and candy.
Last fall, McMillan collaborated with the HCA on a promotion with supermodel Heidi Klum, who was proclaimed the queen of Halloween.
McMillan also helped promote a national push of a petition on change.org to get people to support a permanent move of the celebration of Halloween annually to the final Saturday in October.
McMillan lives in the Gray’s Creek area and decided to open a storefront for her business in Hope Mills. “I love Hope Mills and love the lake,’’ she said. “I’m really excited it’s back in action.
“This area is amazing, and Trade Street is very nostalgic. The history behind it is pretty rich. The building itself is a great building, over 100 years old.’’
Married with six children, the 44-year-old said she found solitude at home something tough to come by, so she came up with the idea of opening an office to get a little privacy.
“It’s definitely hard to grow as a one-person show,’’ she said. “Here, I hope I can expand, bring on some more clients and some employees.’’
McMillan said the basic offerings of her business are public relations and marketing. “I’m the person to come to for big ideas,’’ she said.
Even companies with in-house public relations staff have called on her, she said, looking for bigger ideas or things they’ve never thought of.
“My kids say I make folks famous for a living,’’ she said. “I don’t know if that’s quite true, but it’s a pretty good explanation of what it is, marketing to put together multi-faceted campaigns to help people get the message out about their product via social media or direct to the media.’’
To find out specifics about what McMillan’s business has to offer, visit www.oinkagency.com.
McMillan said while she will have an office open to the public at her new place of business, it won’t have 9-to-5 operating hours.
“We’re not a traditional retail storefront,’’ she said. She will use the space as needed to meet clients in person, and her husband will also use it for videotaping auditions for his Drama Lab business.
“Clients that want to talk should shoot me an email or call,’’ McMillan said.
Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Her phone number is 910-849-9003.
Photo: Aneisha McMillan