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Katie Dunsworth-Reiach is Co-founder and Partner of Talk Shop Media, a full-service integrated communications agency with expertise in public relations, social media, digital marketing, influencer relations, branding, and creative execution. She is also Co-founder of Smart Cookies, a personal finance brand featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal, which has attracted global partnerships with the likes of American Express and Procter & Gamble.

As a serial entrepreneur, Katie is Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of If Communications, a full-service communication agency providing strategy, branding, advertising, design, packaging, and digital ideas. She has co-hosted a W Network series, co-authored two best-sellers with Random House, and contributed regularly to CTV and Global News.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [03:28] Katie Dunsworth-Reiach talks about Talk Shop Media and If Communications and their services 
  • [05:42] Agency growth through acquisition and strategies
  • [16:27] Katie explains how they integrated with a new company after an acquisition
  • [18:30] How to retain and motivate talent 
  • [20:11] Talk Shop’s core values
  • [23:22] The InResidence program
  • [26:54] Katie’s involvement with 1-800-Got-Junk
  • [32:44] The experience of being featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show
  • [37:49] How Talk Shop attracted clients and evolved
  • [44:30] Talk Shop’s customer success stories

In this episode…

In today’s highly competitive digital world, building and growing a successful brand requires diverse skills, including public relations, social media management, digital marketing, influencer relations, creative execution, and branding. However, it can be challenging for entrepreneurs to handle them all while effectively managing their businesses.

One solution serial entrepreneur Katie Dunsworth-Reiach recommends is to work with a communications agency. These professionals can provide you with strategic guidance, branding expertise, advertising solutions, design services, packaging recommendations, and digital marketing ideas to help you achieve success. She shares her journey of growing a full-service communications agency through acquisition, highlighting the challenges and benefits of buying other businesses.

In this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz chats with Katie Dunsworth-Reiach, Co-founder and Partner of Talk Shop Media, to discuss how she grew her agencies through acquisitions. Katie talks about Talk Shop Media and If Communications and their services, how she grew them through acquisition, acquisition strategies for small businesses, how they integrated with a new company, and their core values.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Special Mention(s):

Related episode(s):

Quotable Moments: 

  • “It’s important to be surrounded by the right conversations and the right people.”
  • “The people piece is the most important piece, they hold the relationships and they hold a lot of key information that you bought.”
  • “How you do anything, is how you do everything.”

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:01 

You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.

Jeremy Weisz 0:22 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here founder of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today is no different. I have Katie Dunsworth-Reiach of And Katie before I formally introduce, Katie has a very, very impressive background. We’re gonna get into it. Before I formally introduce you. I always like to point out other episodes, people should check out of the podcast. We’ll talk about what you learned at 1-800-GOT-JUNK. Right. And Cameron Herold has some amazing books. He’s been on the podcast a few times. And Katie will talk a little bit about that because she has a personal relationship with Cameron throughout the years. And another one since as part of the top agency series. I did one with Todd Taskey. Todd Taskey, has the Second Bite Podcast where he actually helps pair private equity with agencies and help sell agencies. So that was a really interesting one, where he talked about valuations and the landscape. And what’s interesting is he found that sometimes people make more on the second bite than the first especially in private equity worlds. So that was really interesting. And Kevin Hourigan was another good one of Spinutech, Kevin has had an agency since 1995. And he just talked about the evolution of the agency and KatieI know we’ll talk about Talk Shop Media, because Talk Shop Media has gone through an evolution from the start till now to that anymore, check out on and this episode is brought to you by Rise25. At Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships. And how do we do that? We actually do that by helping you run your podcast, we’re an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast, we do the accountability, the strategy and the full execution. Katie, we call ourselves the magic elves, that we’re working in the background to make it look easy for the hosts in the company so they can run their business and create great content. So, you know, for me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. And I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships, and I found no better way over the past decade to profile the people and companies I most admire and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should have questions, go to and I’m excited to introduce Katie Dunsworth-Reiach. She gained recognition after co-founding Smart Cookies at the ripe young age of 23 years old and Katie was featured on Oprah. I think Good Morning America, and multitude of other channels and Smart Cookies was a money mentoring program. This led to her doing regular work in the media she included co-hosting a W Network series, she co-authored two best sellers with Random House and contributed regularly to CTV and global news. She now owns multiple marketing and communication agencies, including Talk Shop Media, and if and her past clients, like I was mentioning, go far and wide Bath & Body Works, Starbucks, Ford, SoulCycle and many, many more. And Katie, thanks for joining me.

Katie Dunsworth-Reiach 3:23 

Thanks for having me, Jeremy.

Jeremy Weisz 3:24 

So just start off talking about Talk Shop Media. And what you do.

Katie Dunsworth-Reiach 3:28 

Yeah, Talk Shop. We’re a full service communications agency and marketing shop. And we really consider ourselves in the business of redefining how companies get known and understood. And that’s any sort of mix of services from digital marketing and social media through to earned media PR. Yeah, I was mentioning earlier, we do issues management. And so it’s just yeah, full suite of comms services.

Jeremy Weisz 4:00 

So I mean, Talk Shop Media is over 12 years old at this point, talk about starting If.

Katie Dunsworth-Reiach 4:08 

Yeah, well, it was actually an acquisition. It was interesting. It was an acquisition of a really talented group that was retiring. We were actually looking at it through Talk Shop. Talk Shop, we’ve grown a lot via acquisition and have kind of like, on and off debated like where’s the line for us with marketing and communications? Are we going to go into creative services and or do we sort of live more on the other side of the line digital that side of things. So I opted to go in with another colleague of mine and purchase If and it’s been yeah, it’s a different it’s a different animal. And we really are a creative agency, sort of true advertising, which is in a lot of ways, working with artists, illustrators, creative directors, a completely diff print business cycle that’s actually been, it’s more of a passion project for me. I am a creative in an entrepreneur’s body. And so I love the creative process. And I just think it’s the most talented group of people. So it’s been a lot of fun. Yeah. And then on the Talk Shop side, we really are that shop, so If is sort of a smaller boutique agency, Talk Shop, we’re independent, but we’re about 60 people just opened our office in California and Los Angeles and have offices across Canada as well.

Jeremy Weisz 5:36 

Is that still a part of the strategy? Do you still want to do more acquisitions with Talk Shop?

Katie Dunsworth-Reiach 5:42 

Yeah, it’s really about, for us, we’re always looking is really about the talent that comes along with it. I’m not super into buying just like a book of business to buy it. It works for some people — for us, we really liked to bring along great people that level us up. And often we bring a lot to the table too. And we’ve had a lot of success with that. And we’ve had some failures, and I could talk about that.

Jeremy Weisz 6:09 

What do you look for in an acquisition?

Katie Dunsworth-Reiach 6:11 

Yeah, it just depends. So like, for market entry. So going into the state school, when we went into Toronto, it just helps us, it expedites growth, right. So it sort of takes a known entity and just like gives you a jumping-off point. When we acquired in Toronto, we really were looking for talent acquisition, it was a super tough time in the market. So we felt like, hey, we’re getting there to awesome founders who were getting out more because they had a different another business that they wanted to pursue. So we didn’t feel like, so yeah, we looked for talent, we looked for that it doesn’t fill a hole that we don’t have. So at that time, we didn’t have a ton of consumer brands, they were only consumer brands. So that was really good. I like to like the founders, like I think that, if you like them, you’re usually going to like the culture that they have built. So that matters. And it really matters to me that their legacy is looked after. So, Sam, who was one of the founders that we purchased from her, it was called ROI at the time, our agency, I still we’ve stayed in close touch, I am so proud of the business that she’s now doing. We’ve supported her in that. So yeah, that matters. And another shop we bought, was an old friend of mine, actually through camera, and we know each other, but yeah, we’ve remained incredibly close. So that matters.

Jeremy Weisz 7:39 

What about do you want them to be at a certain revenue level?

Katie Dunsworth-Reiach 7:43 

We tend to have, I don’t know that this is going to be a strategy that we’ll continue to pursue. It was sort of that like, hey, got to start somewhere, we were really looking like sub-$2 million, because that was not a market that was very, just there wasn’t a lot of action there. And more often than not, we were looking for founders who were just like, they didn’t want to stay on they were, it was a healthy business. Yeah, so that was sort of the now as we’ve matured, I have less, and we end up the acquisition, like the amounts were not the transactions were not big transactions, like one of them. My lawyer was like, my time is gonna cost more than this acquisitions. So they weren’t massive, but they sort of made some waves. And we learned something. But yeah, now we would be looking more at were…

Jeremy Weisz 8:41 

Maybe a little larger.

Katie Dunsworth-Reiach 8:42 

Yeah, profitable, in a different segment. There maybe there’s some, like, technology or proprietary, that we’re interested in that kind of stuff.

Jeremy Weisz 8:53 

What about funding acquisitions? As far as I know there’s a lot of different ways to structure it using obviously your capital or alone, or how’d you look at structuring?

Katie Dunsworth-Reiach 9:08 

You’re gonna get me on my soapbox because I actually think there’s a lot less conversations with female-owned businesses about how to structure acquisitions. I really felt like we ran up against more. I don’t it’s hard to know if it’s like you go. I think women in general go into things more timid. We still funded all of our acquisitions. Up until recently, we owned our building. So we have a massive asset that we could secure loans against. We were not getting like and we were not a huge business until I mean, we’re not even a huge business now. We’re about $10 million. But yeah, we just weren’t getting I don’t know if we weren’t asking the right people. So I feel very passionately to do a lotta work with the forum, which is formed from women entrepreneurs, which really tries to just create more connection points to access to capital mentorship. But if I had had more people I could have gone to to ask these questions, I think I also felt like a bit embarrassed. We had done a couple of sessions. It was like, I think people assumed we knew what we were doing. And yeah, so now we’ve got like, a yeah, I’ve got an advisory board. I think we have more relationships in the right places, and I’m not are very bullish about borrowing money, but you know, yeah.

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