As the founder and head publicist at WildflowerPR.co, Catherine Cuello-Fuente finds herself juggling calls and emails for one of her clients, Bobbie, an organic formula startup supported by celebrities like Naomi Osaka, Gabrielle Union, Meghan Trainor, and France Tan. She then gifts her attention to another lead client, Plezi Nutrition, cofounded by former First Lady Michelle Obama.
At the age of 22, Cuello-Fuente went raw vegan to heal her immune system after she lost her left ovary in emergency surgery and declined “preventive” chemo. Her food journey led her to care about how to improve the food system to the benefit of farmers, local economies, and the environment. She found herself working in public policy, including serving as assistant press secretary for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in South Florida. Her skills earned the campaign media coverage on a weekly basis, contributing to the Democratic victory of the state and Miami’s Little Havana congressional district, the first democratic win since 1996.
After stints in government as well as tech, Cuello-Fuente followed her heart and launched her own public relations agency in 2015. She describes WLDFLWR as a “do-good communications firm for the eco-friendly, conscientious, and courageous.”
Most of her clients are disrupting outdated industries that have long overlooked the needs of women. In addition to Bobbie and Plezi Nutrition, her portfolio also includes Oula, a maternal healthcare startup backed by Chelsea Clinton; and Chiyo, a meal delivery service for postpartum mothers. Managing these innovative and mission-driven platforms, she says, requires an entirely new approach to PR. Here, Cuello-Fuente details her career as the sole operator of WildflowerPR.co.
What led you to launch WildflowerPR.co?
After spending time working in social corporate responsibility, political communications, and then a brief stint as a tech entrepreneur – WLDFLWR is a result of wanting to do things differently. Our roster includes innovation and advocacy in the make-better space.
How did you land on this lovely company name?
I wanted the name and branding to be the total antithesis of a traditional agency. WLDFLWR is meant to only attract the right clients, and so far, it’s worked!
Tell me about how you went about designing the website to convey that your agency is different from the rest.
My good friend Andreas De Camps, who’s known me since I was 13, designed the site. There are only a handful of people who can decipher what’s in my head and I am lucky that some of those people today are my colleagues at work.
When did you launch the website and why did you choose .co?
Tricky! The traditional .com extension wasn’t available. But my company isn’t a traditional firm. Also, .co added another layer of originality to the name. I advise other startups to consider .co because I think it sets you apart.
What’s the biggest challenge or obstacle you’ve overcome?
Going from a solo practitioner to a collaborative team had its challenges. Finding the right people you can trust and rely on was also a learning experience. But it ultimately pushed me to grow. I think back on the days when I was a tech founder and how those moments led me to some of my first clients at WLDFLWR. Everything is truly intertwined!
How many people work for you? How do you go about picking your staffers and collaborators?
Mission and heart need to be at the forefront of everything we do and that includes the wonderful group of collaborators that I am lucky to work with. We are five total including myself.
What’s the biggest milestone so far?
I love the work that we do and I am fueled by the mission of my clients. It’s a happy medium between serving a higher purpose and not being the creator.
Milestones are tricky because it’s sometimes hard to stop and celebrate the small wins as much as the big wins. Both are equally important. From pitching and seeing stories go live to landing on a joyful cadence with coworkers and clients alike, every day is a milestone.
But I can think of proud moments. I am proud of sticking to my gut. For example, choosing a non-traditional company name (WLDFLWR!) has helped me attract the right clients. Women’s healthcare and the future of food are two big areas that drive me. From advocating for better standards in the infant formula industry, to reshaping our national conversation on postpartum support, to championing the idea that “food is medicine,” to pushing for better maternal care standards; I find fulfillment in knowing that I am driving change. I am also proud to work with remarkable founders who inspire me every day. It’s a collaborative journey and it brings me joy.