Putting myself out there
20th April 2016
I have been off the radar over the last few weeks on Charlie and the Pirates and it wasn’t because I was home eating Easter Eggs. I have been a particularly busy bunny firstly back in my day job as a freelance PR exec, secondly working on a revamp for Charlie and the Pirates (which I hope you will like) and thirdly, on the exciting launch for Charlie Made (my new venture into pirate inspired products for girls and boys that love all colours and styles).
It feels like I have been completely out of my comfort zone with it all. I did my first PR pitch in what seemed like years (it probably is years!) and although it all came back to me, it was strange being a PR exec with 15 years experience and not solely a mum! I was totally struggling with childcare to top it off but thankfully my parents took the girls for a few days last week so I could get somewhere near on top of it all (or maybe not, but I dented my to do list). What I have loved about being a working Mum is that there is a real community of freelance working mums that support eachother, work damn hard but work it around a lot of other things (it certainly isn’t the 9-5).
The most exciting project I have on the go was being invited by the super hot PR company, Alegre Media to showcase Charlie & the Pirates as well as launch Charlie Made at their AW16 press day last week. This got my head really focused on getting Charlie Made out there and making my dream a reality. When I started planning Charlie Made, all I knew was the PR / marketing side of running a business and I would have said this is the bit I have nailed. But now I really understand how difficult it is to do PR when it is your company, your dream of a brand. I am so nervous putting myself out there.
Charlie Made all started when I took my eldest pirate to get her first school uniform. As she has a May birthday so she was only 4 years and a couple of months old when we went shopping. We had been at a huge family summer party the day before and the girls had got to bed really late. The next day on the way to make the big school uniform purchase she fell asleep in my car and she was in such a deep sleep when we arrived I couldn’t wake her up at all. I ended up carrying her fast asleep from the car to her younger sister’s buggy and entering the shop with her fast asleep. I got some strange looks from the assistant when I pointed to a sleeping child in a buggy when they called our name. I then managed to wake her and had to bribe her to stay awake, I looked around and said you can chose some new socks or pants if you stay awake. She immediately pointed at the boys’ pirate pants and said please, I looked around for some girls pants that had something like pirates on them but all they seemed to have was bunny and kitten numbers. I caved in as I could see the assistant losing patience and to this day they are still the most loved pants. It was after this I got thinking – why no pirate, superhero or the like pants, socks or anything for girls. You cant really find any decent ‘Izzy’ from Jake and the Netherland Pirates products and don’t get my started on the Rey merchandise when the latest Star Wars was released at the end of 2015.
This is when I realised I would be the first customer for Charlie Made and this has stuck in my mind throughout. As you can imagine I have major plans for Charlie Made but never the time to put it all into action, especially as I have next to no childcare at the moment – arghhhh! But I have a determination to make it work as I love seeing my kids faces when I say to them, this is what mummy does and the kids get so over excited.
I have loved planning for the launch of Charlie Made, I did a couple of sales before this to gauge people’s preferences and gain feedback. So far I have learnt: 1. Don’t take it all personally and believe in yourself – it is so hard when you put your heart and soul into something, plan it all and then sit there smiling when people walk straight past your stall!! I have to remember that it takes a good few goes to get it right but OMG when you get a sale it feels amazing. 2. It is hard to spend your own money and to work it all out. In my PR roles I have managed massive budgets and I took that all in my stride, but when it is your own hard earned pennies it takes on a completely different meaning and suddenly you feel like all you are doing is hemoraging cash (when in reality it is £12 here and £40 there). That then puts fear in you and then you start doubting your business plan. 3. A business plan is never a finished document. Everything constantly evolves. 4. Believe in yourself 5. Exploit your network, the worst that can happen is people say no but it’s amazing how many people support you. What I have yet to work out is the right childcare balance and work time balance – the long Easter holidays have totally thrown me but I am back on it now and wouldn’t change spending days out at farms, or the like, with the kids.
Please take a look at my Charlie Made shop and share your business start-up tips – I really do need them!!