Vachon, who served as Wagstaff’s executive director, said they instantly bonded as both were from the South and each owned a pet Chihuahua.
But Vachon moved to Austin to get back to her home state of Texas and Ayotte joined public relations firm Weber Shandwick’s L.A. office.
Ayotte would leave Weber Shandwick and work as a freelance publicist for clients such as Warner Ebbink and Brandon Boudet, co-owners of Dominick’s, Little Dom’s and 101 Coffee Shop in Los Angeles, all now Bread & Butter clients.
Vachon was also working as a freelance publicist in Austin. Both were working out of their living rooms. So they started Bread & Butter in 2007 with a little more than $1,000.
“I remember texting her and saying, ‘I think we just started a company,’ ” said Vachon, who realized it after ordering company business cards and creating a website.
Since then, they have built a network of more than 50 clients across all six offices with a total staff size of 25. The majority of their clients are on a monthly retainer, but some hire the firm for projects such as the Wine Riot festival in Los Angeles next month.
The L.A. office handles 20 clients and pulls in more than $1 million in annual revenue, said Ayotte.
She supervises the L.A. headquarters, San Francisco and will handle the Las Vegas office when it opens. Vachon oversees the three offices in Texas. They share management duties for New York.
They said their colleagues advised against them going into business together, saying that opening a business with a friend is risky, but Ayotte and Vachon believe it was the best decision.
“It’s really scary to (start) a business by yourself,” Ayotte said. “You want someone else’s opinions and thoughts but … as much as you value (advice from) your mom, your husband, if they don’t understand what you’re going through on a day-to-day basis, it’s not as meaningful as someone who is right there in the thick of it with you.”
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