An expert writer and commentator on all matters real estate, property investment, architecture and interior design, Penelope Barker fell into journalism by accident fresh out of Sydney University and into a job as a sub-editor on a yet-to-be launched a television magazine owned by The New York Times. “Starting my career with the launch of a new publication was really being thrown in the deep end,” says Penelope. “I had to learn the ropes very, very quickly and loved every minute.”
With a passion to learn more, Penelope subsequently worked at the Women’s Weekly, People and Woman’s Day, followed by an appointment as Feature Writer for Cosmopolitan. “Writing 3000 word profiles of international celebrities was challenging and fun,” says Penelope, “and when I started getting fan letters from readers I realised just what a powerful medium good writing is and the importance of writing in a style that fully engages a target readership. It’s a skill I have built on and honed ever since, whether I am writing editorial, sales copy, press releases or brand content.”
Offered a job as Copy Editor of Vogue Living magazine, Penelope found her metier. “I found interviewing architects, interior designers and influential tastemakers truly fascinating and discovered a love of the visual aspects of producing a beautiful publication. A decade-long stint as Deputy Editor of Belle magazine followed, before launching into a period as a freelance writer and stylist. “Many of the advertisers from Belle approached me to write for them and I soon had a successful business as a copywriter for luxury brands, including five years as the copywriter for the Jaguar Awards for Excellence in Food and Travel,” says Penelope, who was lured back into full-time publishing when offered the position of Editor of Indesign magazine.
“Working at Indesign really honed my business and industry networking knowledge, so when it came time to go it alone again and start my own boutique marketing and communications agency, SoCo Communications, I decided to focus on industries compatible with my knowledge base. Having specialist knowledge is much more crucial these days to attract and keep a core client base. It’s also allowed me to expand internationally, with clients in the UK and US as well as Australia. Any day I could be writing up brochure copy for the sale of a luxury country property, advising on commercial real estate investment or filing an article for Private Air Luxury Homes magazine, which is exclusively for private jet owners!”