Girl Boss, Charlotte Hale

If you've ever heard our owner Charlotte Hale at a speaking engagement, it goes something like this:

CHARLOTTE'S SPEECH (copied from a very well-shuffled grouping of index cards). You can find Charlotte directly online @charlottejaynehale.



Hi! I’m Charlotte Hale. I’m the Owner, Founder and Creative Director at Plum Pretty Sugar. I started the brand nearly nine years ago.

I’m going to keep it casual and interactive.

            -Who here sells something? A physical consumer product?

            -Who here created, founded or invented something?

            -Who here is starting something?

Glad you're here guys!


-I have always wanted the brand to stand for itself. But as the brand grows and develops, we realize our clients want to know more about the story. And this story comes from a very personal place.

-But before I go there, let me backup and tell you a quick bit about me.


-I have a love for consumer products. At school, I focused there and have ever since. Fresh out of school, I was recruited by a consumer product company and for many years grew large consumer product brands in large corporate organizations.

-Now here’s where its gets interesting… I got married. The man I married didn’t live in an area conducive to a large marketing job. It left me little choice but to start my own company. Not this company, another, then another, then another…

-And then, I got divorced and I sold, dissolved and ended those companies. So there I am in pieces, coming out of a marriage full of abuse, turmoil, terror and truly and stories you’d find hard to believe… and I needed to make a living. My life was filled with deep sadness, it was broken and truly dark.

-One of the side-businesses of one of my businesses prior was a small retail shop. It sold all kinds of pretty things. Some of the fastest-moving were robes, dresses, pretty cotton wearables (this was in a tiny ski town in Colorado) that I created just for fun. And I thought to myself, ah! I’ll do that… create more of those pretty things while I figure out what I’ll really do. It was to be a seasonal in/out gift business to get me through. And so I gave it a fun, whimsical, not fully thought through name and went ahead.

-Unexpectedly those items sold and kept selling and I quickly realized it could be more… and that maybe this was THE business, not just a "tide me over until I think of it business."

-And... thinking and creating the business helped me through some of the darkest times in my life. And did I think! I spent a ton of time analyzing the marketplace, looking at consumer categories and ultimately developing production.


-Most of you know, well gosh… maybe you don’t… the “getting ready” bridal category did not exist. Nope, not a single brand, nada, nothing. So how did I create it? I went back to business school basics and looked at “usage;” platforms wherein consumers might use the product.

          -Every day morning and night. Okay boring, been done, nah.    

-Getting ready for an event. Who gets ready for events? Celebrities, socialites, ah! Brides!

-And so I began the outreach, the marketing to the wedding industry. Keep in mind this was nine years ago and the marketing and wedding landscape was very different. I would actually pick up the phone and call editors, planners, influencers and... leave voicemails!

-I would save up enough money to buy an ad (still do!) but the point is, there wasn’t any social networking! No organic, “free” tagging or loving. NOTHING.

-Eventually I had called enough people and sold enough pieces that the word of mouth began and then the photos.The photos were huge!

-The first real deal, real wedding, was featured on Style Me Pretty. It was early days for them as well and via an up and coming Planner. To this day we still see that wedding and those photos pinned and Abby (SMP’s Founder although now owned by Yahoo) still talks about it. (Only last year did we phase out that collection. It stood the test of time for many, many years. It was our Signature collection.)

-From there, I just kept going. There were thousands and thousands of hours of work done. Keep in mind I was single, I didn’t have kids and was selfishly focused on healing my heart and my soul. Work was just what it needed.

-This went on for years and year over year we exceeded goals, numbers and dreams. And THEN I met my now husband… who at last, brought me joy. With that joy came a new confidence and a new power to go and grow forward even more. Also at that time, a former employee and childhood friend knocked off the brand (beginning the current knock-off spiral,) giving me further incentive and frankly a kindly kick-ass reason to go forward and really bring it!


Today we’re focused on:

1.     Maintaining our leadership in the Getting Ready space we created.

2.     XXX (leaving this out on paper)

3.     XXX (leaving this out on paper)

4.     XXX (leaving this out on paper)

5.     Lots, lots more here we're leaving out on paper. Lesson: be inspired, not a copycat. Be your own authentic!

We’re also dedicated to doing it on a very tight and self-funded budget. Note to everyone: don’t go into debt for your business… no, no, no.


Which leads me into some of my topline tips for branding… my favorite thing.

-What is branding? Does anyone here have a quick answer? Branding is by definition the name, brand, symbol or design that differentiates a product from its competition.

-Branding to me:

          -A process of creating emotional connection from product to a customer.

-So within that “branding process,” for me at PPS there are two key things we think about:

1. XXX (leaving this out on paper) But fill in your own.

2. XXX (leaving this out on paper) But fill in your own.

And then we ALWAYS think about:

1. XXX (leaving this out on paper) But fill in your own.




2.  XXX (leaving this out on paper) But fill in your own.





-Know how much and know where to spend it.

-Know your sales numbers. And know your YOY (Year Over Year) comparison by day, by month… always.

-I wake up every single day knowing my number! I know exactly what this days number was last year and the sales we need to create each day to create 10% growth, 20% growth and so on. And if all goes wrong, I know it immediately and I can side-step and adjust. That’s key you guys! Know what you’re making and know what you’re spending.


            -Monitor trends in your industry and related industries.

            -Know when to pull the plug.

            -We see some trends right now. Can anyone tell us one?


            -Glance but don’t stare.

            -Just because something is working for them doesn’t mean it will for you.

                               -Be authentic. Don’t copy. For real.

  -Social media followings and comments don’t necessarily equate sales. Don’t get too caught up.


            LISTEN TO YOUR GUT.

I have made mistakes. 99% of the time I knew it when I made them. I chose not to listen. Listen you guys. Give yourself space and feel through a decision, a friendship, a new person in your life… always.  

So... Thank you! Thank you for listening and supporting this brand.


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