Jessica Thomas Cooke, 29
Co-founder, INF Influencer Agency
Evaan KherajLife Story: Jessica Thomas Cooke started her career as an account executive at a public relations firm in Sydney, Australia. After moving back to Vancouver in July 2013, she kept thinking about a former boss who had started an agency that represented bloggers. She shared her idea with a good friend, Hilary Chan-Kent, and they decided to give it a go. They launched their company, INF Influencer Agency, in July 2014 with three “influencers,” bloggers with thousands of followers on Instagram or other social networks. They approached marketing agencies to negotiate deals through which the bloggers would get paid for promoting products. Defining a new category with standards such as how much a post is worth, they soon started working with major brands including Yves Saint Laurent Beauty and lingerie chain La Senza Corp.
The Bottom Line: In October 2015, Sam Feldman, who represents clients such as singers Carly Rae Jepsen and Gord Downie, asked Cooke and Chan-Kent to join him in a partnership. They moved into the offices of the Feldman Agency in February 2016, and that year their company’s revenue grew 650 per cent. Cooke and Chan-Kent employ three people and are opening a second office, in Toronto.