Charlotte Belle Tobin, recently turned 27, is one of the youngest Senior PR Consultants in the UK. An entrepreneur in her own right, Charlotte runs her own PR agency, Belle PR, which is a highly regarded public relations agency based in the heart of London. Specialising in lifestyle brands, personal profile PR and social media management, Charlotte and the team at Belle PR are passionate about unrivalled PR that really works. Tobin has extensive PR experience and has handled some of the UK’s most renowned celebrity and brand names. Some of Charlotte’s brand experience includes SPANX, Taking Shape, Mamas & Papas, The Vintage Cosmetic Company, Nouveau Beauty Group, Fake Bake, Sleep-In Rollers, Cocoa Brown, The Hospital Group, Jeans for Genes Day, Fashiola, Alexis Smith Lingerie, Bourgee and Bubbleology to name but a few. Charlotte set up Belle PR in January 2015 after years of heading up PR departments at other agencies, notably the award-winning PR agency EdenCancan.
Over six years Charlotte has worked her way up from an intern juggling three jobs to make ends-meet to businesswoman becoming PR Director and Brand Consultant for some of the World’s biggest brands. She has also been fortunate enough to work with some of the most recognisable faces in the celebrity and entertainment sector managing some incredibly successful PR campaigns. After leaving the University of Sheffield with a History degree and numerous awards, Charlotte wanted to re-create her educational success in the business sector. Charlotte explained: “I feel incredibly passionate about the PR industry as a whole. It’s an incredible industry and I only want to encourage more graduates from all backgrounds coming through the University system to consider this as a career.”
How did you get into PR from originally studying to become a barrister?
Whilst at University studying History, the obvious and natural career choice for me was law. I had completed internships with solicitors and barristers and enjoyed it. That said, the ‘spark’ wasn’t there for me and I had a gut feeling that there was something else out there for me career wise. Whilst at University I was heavily involved in extracurricular activities – from being President of the History Society, to Sporting Councillor of the Union Council to Publicity Representative for the Volunteering Committee. I was passionate about changing things for the good, and got involved in these activities because I knew I could reform them and turn them into functioning mini-businesses. I won awards because of my efforts and achievements with the above so I wanted to find a career which could re-create this in the business sector, this was PR. After doing research upon graduating, I composed a list of the top PR and Management companies in the UK – I rang the very first one at the top of my list, begged for an internship and the rest is history! My 2 week internship turned into a 4 month internship, which turned into a 2 year commitment until I become Head of PR. I worked crazy hours and learnt my trade in these years – I loved every minute and knew PR and the Entertainment Management world was for me!
What made you decide that it was finally time to start your own PR agency?
It wasn’t an easy decision for me – in fact, far from it. I was incredibly loyal and happy at the agency I was at so I had a lot to consider. I think the main reason is timing, for whatever reason. I had numerous previous clients asking to sign with me, and only me which was a big reason for me to make the jump. It’s also something I’ve wanted to do since I started – I’ve always been incredibly ambitious so running my own agency was always going to be a natural progression for me. Timing has to be right though – you need to ensure you’re ready mentally to take the risk and commitment, you also need to ensure you have clients and a good business model to go with, and of course back to front knowledge of the industry.
Now that you are running your own agency, what do your day to day duties and schedules look like?
To be really honest – every day is different (which I love!) but I do every role in my business because it is still in the early stages. I do emails, make calls, go to shoots, go to strategy and creative meetings, look after social media – you name it! I do what I need to do to ensure my clients are happy and get maximum results from me every day.
What do you love most about working in PR?
I love how diverse and liberal it is – in that I mean that anyone can make it and be successful if they have the correct talent, work ethic and skills. That does however also have its downside because it does mean the wrong type of individuals do get into PR as a career without the necessary knowledge or skills. It is one of the most exciting careers to have and I absolutely love going to work every day.
What are the biggest struggles in PR?
I think a lot of people can struggle with the fact that it’s a lifestyle choice as well as a career choice. If you go into this profession you really do need to realise what you’re getting in to. The media is non-stop and people are non-stop hence why you have to be ‘on it’ 24/7. This is not a 9-5 career, at all – but the rewards are there if you’re willing to put the effort, time and love into it.
What is your biggest piece of advice for young entrepreneurs?
For young PR’s I’d say to be the best you need to work harder than your peers, have attention to detail, have excellent writing skills and a charismatic infectious personality.
For young entrepreneurs in general I’d say, if you have an idea or a dream then do it! Be intelligent about the risk, learn your field and be passionate, then do it! Yes you can fail but that’s nothing compared to not trying. However to succeed you have to work hard, you have to work harder than anyone in the room. And remember the quote I live my life by ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get’…never a truer sentence said!
Are there any goals you’re hoping to achieve?
My main goal is to have a successful, medium sized PR and Management agency which is recognised for its unrivalled professionalism, performance and personality. For me success is having happy clients, a happy team, and overall a happy me!