Five minutes with… Charlotte Nichols

Brand building boss Charlotte Nichols has been running her PR business, Harvey & Hugo for over 10 years now. The friendly team focuses on telling their clients’ stories across a variety of platforms from traditional press coverage to animated videos to help generate awareness and enhance reputations. They were our first tenant to move into Business Central back in May 2015, so it seems only right that we focus on them for the first feature.

What is your favourite North East building and why?

It has to be Durham Cathedral. The history, the beautiful architecture, the memories of school trips, the spiritual feeling you get when you step inside; I love everything about the place and always enjoy looking out for it when I go through Durham on the train.

What was your first job and how much did you get paid?

I loved my first proper job as a lifeguard at the Dolphin Centre. I can’t remember how much I got paid, but I recall feeling pretty smug that it was more than my friends’ waitressing roles.

What is the worst job you’ve had?

I worked at a hotel where the manager would always forget which shifts you were working and call you at 6am on your days off asking why you weren’t in work! The job itself wasn’t bad, but it shows how the people around you can affect your job.

What would your superpower be?

I used to love watching Captain Planet on TV in the 90s, so I guess I’d like similar powers to him to help clean up our toxic planet. I really worry about the chemicals we use and the effect pollution has on our health and wellbeing.

What is your favourite book or film or both?

‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman gave me a real insight into how the human mind works. I like to apply this psychology to how we build our clients’ brands.

What is your greatest achievement?

My daughter is my greatest achievement. I’m also proud of the fact I’ve been in business for 10 years and the person I’ve become along the way.

What’s the best piece of advice in business you’ve ever been given?

I used to be a perfectionist until I saw a quote on a client’s wall by Mark Twain that said: “Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” Thinking of these wise words helps me drive the business forward on a daily basis by making lots of small changes, rather than holding back in the pursuit of perfection.

What’s your favourite animal and why?

It has to be a dog with my business being named after them. I love how they live in the moment and are always so happy to see you. Their talents never cease to amaze me, with some even able to sniff out tumours and chemical changes in the body that cause seizures.

Have you met anyone famous and if yes who?

I loved meeting Kevin Keegan. I’m a Newcastle United fan so ‘King Kev’ has legendary status in my eyes.

In another life I would be…

A neuroscientist. I’m fascinated by the brain and always reading books about it – there’s still so much we don’t know about it. I’d like to think there’s still time for me to take up this career, perhaps in my 50s.

Who would play you in a film of your life?

I would cast Gwyneth Paltrow. She did pretty well in a PR type job in the film Sliding Doors, so I’ll take that as her audition. I’m also a bit of a health and fitness loving-hippy at heart like her too.

What’s your secret talent?

I can do a marvellous impression of a seal while I’m in a swimming pool. The way I’m able to undulate my body through the water while splashing my ‘fin’ is uncanny.

What’s your passion outside of work?

I enjoy dressing up. I’m particularly fond of two certain characters; 85-year old gin guzzling, party animal, Joy and blonde bombshell and 80s sensation, Charlene.

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