Plant Sumo Interviews

Ramsay Kirkhy

White Lights Media

Ramsay runs a Powerlifting media company, White Lights Media, capturing photos and videos at British and international events alongside his team.

Company Profiles

What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why?

This is Going to Hurt - Adam Kay. Purely because it's the most entertaining book I've read. Hilarious, informative and heart-breaking.

When You Feel Overwhelmed Or Unfocused, Or Have Lost Your Focus Temporarily, What Do You Do?

I have this unique arrangement with a close friend: if we're feeling overwhelmed or there's an issue we're struggling to work through, we'd send a long voicenote about the situation to one another. In the voicenote, I'd explain the issue and list out possible solutions that come to mind. This can range anywhere from 5-45 minutes depending on the issue! Talking out-loud helps de-jumble the issue in your head and present it to yourself in a digestible way. Once I've monologued through the issue, I immediately feel better and have a clearer path of how to resolve it. It has a similar effect to journaling, but is much quicker than writing, and also means that you can get a second opinion from someone you trust if you need it.

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — what would it say and why?

"Go vegan. 75+ billion animals are slaughtered each year. It's the biggest thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. " Something along these lines. I think advocating for veganism is probably the most valuable thing one can do to live more ethically and reduce contributions to the climate crisis - for sure it's the message I'd choose to give across to the world if I could.

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?

In late 2018, we attended one of our first international Powerlifting competitions to photograph/video and sell the media to the competitors (we usually did this domestically in Britain). It costed us £4,000+ to go there (accommodation, travel, fees for permission to attend, etc.). We didn't market our media products in-person, and solely relied on our social media presence. Our social media presence was strong enough in the UK to be our only source of marketing, but given the international competitors didn't know the company, our presence went completely under the radar, and we made almost no sales, so all of that money went down the drain. This was a very hard way to learn the simple lesson of "you need strong face-to-face marketing to make sales to people who may not know your product from social media." A few months later we did our next international event with even more expenditure, but put money into having a sales representative stand at a booth with our company logo to speak to the competitors and make sales. This made all the difference and we finally were able to make money.

Tell us about your business. What does it do and what value do you add?

The main thing we do is attend Powerlifting competitions and photograph/video all competitors with our team of photographers/videographers. There can be anywhere from 50 to 1,000+ lifters depending on the size of the event, and they take place both in the UK and internationally. Given the competitor's are hobbyists, many want photos and videos of their performance to commemorate their day, which we offer for sale. We then go home and edit all of the content and make sure they look fantastic before emailing it off. Seeing people adore their photos/videos and proudly post them online adds so much joy to this job. Knowing the customers find value in our products and love them makes me feel value, which I suppose is the essence of all businesses? You want your customers/clients to find value in your products or service.

What is a 'hack' you have for success that most people don't know about?

Ensuring you have excellent communication. Whether it's with customers, clients, contractors, employers, or friends being able to communicate has been key. Most of the work opportunities I've gotten have come from sending out well worded emails and being kind/professional in-person.

What one song can you listen to every day non-stop?

Dramamine - Modest Mouse. Impossible to get tired of.

What's your favourite colour?

Pink. Runners up include aqua blue and dark green.

What popular celebrity do you admire the most and why?

Warren Buffett, for his philanthropic actions.

What's something exciting you're currently working on/learning that only a few people know about?

I've recently begun working with an establish fitness footwear brand in the U.S., working as a UK/European distributor of their products. It's different to everything I've been doing the last few years, and probably wouldn't be doing so if it weren't for Covid, bug it's exciting embarking on a new venture!

Are you vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or something else entirely?

Vegan! Started for the ethics, but the health and environmental aspects have become more important to me since making the switch three years ago.

If you could only do ONE type of exercise for the all around fitness what would it be?

Squats for sure.

Who do you want to be when you grow up?

Myself but more content!

What Purchase Of $100 Or Less Has Most Positively Impacted Your Life In The Last Six Months?

I purchased 15 metres of Govee RGB LED light strips to put around my home office, and it's had a great impact on my productivity. Getting to choose a different colour to live in each evening really has transformed my workspace and made it fun to be in!

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

In photography/videography, you hear a lot about working for free (or very cheap) to develop your portfolio so you can get paid jobs. Although I think doing a bit of this is useful, it's recommended for far longer than necessary, and eventually means you just de-value your service, and don't put in the effort you would for a paid job.

What's your favourite vegan meal?

I'm a sucker for fast food, so it's got to be a good vegan burger with chips and a chocolate milkshake.

What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?

I'm a bit biased given I work in media, but it's got to be my camera. It's wild how I've been able to grow my business and how many work/travel/life opportunities I've gotten just by being able to use a camera well. Not only have I been directly selling images to make money, but since embarking on other business ventures, I've been able to produce my own media to advertise the products/services we offer. With good content on social platforms being essential these days, this is a massive cost saver as I'd otherwise need to hire someone to do the same work.

When did you first become a rebel?

Honestly, when I started pursuing my own business after university instead of seeking a normal job, apart from the odd, "you should still look for normal jobs in case it doesn't work out" from my mother, my parents and friends were always very supportive of my business venture, which was a blessing. The only danger is that it's almost trendy to do the "rebellious" thing and start your own business rather than take the sensible job approach, but I think some who do it don't realise it requires a tonne of work and smart choices (plus a bit of luck).

What careers advice would you give to your 21-year old self?

Think about all possible caveats for any business or work project, and mitigate them.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I'd love to open a gym in the long term.

Tell us about someone you admire and why you admire them?

Going back to veganism again (sorry), someone I really love is activist Earthling Ed. This guy does talks about veganism at universities/colleges, and produces online content on the topic to promote his message. He's got incredible knowledge on the subject and is so great at articulating it. Some of his online content involves debating meat-eaters on the ethics of eating meat/veganism which often gets heated, but he always remains extremely calm and rational, focussing on science backed points. I think he's the best ambassador for veganism around.

How has Covid-19 changed your company?

Due to lockdowns, no competitions have been hosted in the last 10 months in the UK, which stopped the business in it's tracks completely. Fortunately I've been able to adapt, being more of a traditional photographer doing client work, as well as some other business ventures. Hopefully this is temporary though!

What's your favourite holiday destination?

Favourite place I've been has to be Indonesia, it's incredible beautiful and unique.

What one thing in life do you consider to be overrated?

Corn on the cob. I don't get the hype and it gets all stuck in your teeth.

What's your favourite vegetable?

Do potatoes count? If not, it's gotta be peas.

What's your favourite sport?

To compete in: Powerlifting. To watch: Tennis. To play: Ping Pong.

What's your favourite type of exercise?

Can't get any better than lifting weights.

What's a myth about fitness that you most people believe to be true that's actually false

That certain foods help you lose weight. It's all about the calories!

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Weetabix protein chocolate chip with oat milk and chopped strawberries on top. Over 23g of plant protein in 4 pieces!

About the Author

Heather-PS

Heather Wilkinson is a globe-trotting content creator and PR enthusiast who’s finally put down roots in her native UK. When she isn’t working, you’ll find her pretending to care about Minecraft for her son’s sake, while secretly reading the latest Ace Atkins novel (or sleeping – her second favourite past-time).