Charlotte Nichols of Harvey & Hugo talks to us about her entrepreneurial streak, building the brand and the hard work required to make a business work.
What is it the company does?
We build our clients’ brands by telling their stories. In today’s world of attention overload, it can be hard for your story to be heard above all the noise. We help make sure your story is seen, shared, watched and most importantly felt through creative traditional and digital campaigns. Ultimately, we help our clients’ messages reach the hearts and minds of their target audiences.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
I drive the business forward. I do this by leading the team, bringing in new business, and managing overall operations. I also direct some of our larger accounts by attending meetings and providing creative direction. I also make cups of tea and pick crumbs off the floor!
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I grew up absorbed in the family retail business and from a young age I was ‘helping’ my Dad count the change in the tills and going out in the van around the shops during the school holidays. I then got into the leisure industry, working as a lifeguard at the local swimming pool during college and university. From there, I was supervisor of a small hotel leisure club, before getting into the PR industry where I cut my teeth at an agency in Newcastle before setting up Harvey & Hugo.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Honesty and integrity go without saying and you also have to be incredibly passionate about what you do, as this energy is contagious and will transpire to the team. You also need to be a great communicator and it helps if you have a dash of charisma too.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
I’m really creative and have big ideas for the business but not always the finances to budget them. This has been frustrating over the years but has made me work harder to ensure the business still stands out.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I like to watch programmes about space. When you see the scale of how large the universe (and beyond) is and the planet we live on is just a mere grain of sand, it really does make my problems seem rather insignificant. When I’m not being humbled by the size of the cosmos, keeping fit, family time and cuddles with my co-founding border terrier business partner also help.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a vet until I saw where they put the thermometer! After that, all I knew was that I wanted my own business, I just didn’t know what in. Growing up, Mum and Dad tried to put me off running my own business as they knew how stressful it could be, but I think I inherited my Grandad’s entrepreneurial streak.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
It goes with the territory that there’s a pitching process for what we do involving travelling to meetings, coming up with creative and pulling together a proposal. A pet hate of mine is when the prospect never gets back to you after you’ve put all of that work in. To combat this, we’re good at carefully choosing who we’d like to work with and are not afraid to say no if the opportunity doesn’t fit. Also, lateness, apathy and lack of organisation frustrate me.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
I’m more interested in building brands than balance sheets, so as long as we’re still delivering an excellent service for our clients and have an even better reputation, the company will grow organically.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
There’s no substitute for hard work. You can have all the dreams and big ideas in the world, but you have to take action to make things happen. Also, not to let the time it will take you to accomplish your goals put you off, as the time will pass anyway!
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
I wish someone had told me that I’d be taxed so much! Although maybe I’d have never set up if I’d known that…
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement