The Team

Rowena Holland

Managing Director
Rowena (Row) Holland has more than 35 years experience of publishing and public relations. As a journalist she worked on a broad range of publications in the agricultural, catering, food, inflight and travel retail sectors including International Tax Free Trader and DFNI. From 1988 to 1996 she acted as a consultant within UK PR company, The PM Partnership, specialising in food and catering accounts.In 1996 Rowena saw a niche for an agency that would specialise in duty free/travel retail and Essential Communications was born. 

Ben Holland

Media Coordinator & Social Media Manager
Ben joined Essential Communications in 2010 after taking both PR and social media marketing courses in London. Ben’s role is wide-ranging and includes monitoring press coverage, writing and issuing releases, managing our social media presence, and providing general assistance to clients and the media.

Tilly Holland

Marketing & New Business Development Manager
Officially joining the team in 2015, Tilly is already well known in the travel retail industry having attended TFWA World Exhibition & Conference since 2006, along with visits to the Duty Free Show of the Americas, TFWA Asia Pacific, MEADFA and ARC. With an MA in marketing, Tilly began her career with design and marketing agency, EMG, focussing on B2C PR & marketing as well as travel retail. More recently, she has worked in the marketing department of top ranked Professional Services company Grant Thornton in its London office.With a broad based marketing skill-set including branding, product design, designing and producing marketing materials, event planning, account management, social media, advertising and PR, Tilly enables Essential Communications to broaden its offer to both existing and new clients within the travel retail sector.

Chris Madden

Account Manager

Chris has more than a decade's experience as a journalist across news, business, brands and leisure. He spent three years writing about duty free and travel retail with Frontier and DFNI as Business Editor, Brands Editor and Tobacco Editor, he also helped organise and presented the annual Frontier Awards in Cannes. Prior to that he worked for six years on newspapers with Trinity Mirror and Northcliffe as a reporter, editor and Leisure Editor.​


Jayne Cooper

Events Manager
Jayne has some 20 years experience of the travel retail industry having first joined Tax Free World Association (TFWA) as PA to Sarah Branquinho, then Commercial Director, in 1995. Since then, she has served in various roles for TFWA, including the assistance and management of conferences and the organisation of TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes and TFWA Asia Pacific in Singapore.  Jayne also has experience working as a freelance events organiser and venue finder for various companies including London-based agency, Financial Marketing. Jayne continues to provide editorial texts for TFWA.

Florence de Margerie

Events Organiser - France
Florence (Flo) brings a wealth of events organisation experience and contacts to Essential Events. She has over 20 years experience orchestrating operations for Exhibitions, Conferences and Fairs in various industries, including TFWA World Exhibition & Conference for ten years. Project management is her forte from taking an initial brief to venue finding to temporary recruitment, invitations, onsite coordination, logistics, security and meet-and-greet. From a lunch for four to a conference for 400, Flo takes it all in her stride. Bi-lingual in French and English, Flo’s contacts are second to none. Apart from Travel Retail she has also worked extensively in the Luxury, Nautical and Pharmaceutical industries. 

Tom Aspel

Creative Consultant
Tom is Essential Communication’s Creative Guru. For the last six years, he was the creative director for a design agency where he provided creative leadership, ran the team of designers and controlled the creative output of the studio. He has masses of experience in all types of creative work including web and digital projects such as designing interactive brochures and bespoke websites and microsites. Clients he has worked with include; Toyota, Greenpeace, Savills, WaterAid, Deutsche Bank, Lotus, Caffé Nero, Save The Children, British Land, NHS, Seiko and King’s College London. Prior to this,Tom worked for PPS Publications where his brief included the TFWA Dailies in both Singapore and Cannes.

"Since engaging Essential Communications they have delivered everything in the brief.  They have kept PR front of mind for the Accolade Wines Travel Retail team, ensuring that we are delivering regular stories to the Trade Press and bringing some discipline to what had previously been a rather ad hoc process.  They have helped keep a balance of investment between Trade PR and investing with our customers at the point of sale.   I feel that the profile of Accolade Wines is strong in the trade as a result."
Rupert Firbank, Commercial Director Accolade Wines