CHALK PR is a ‘hands-on’ PR, communications and brand building consultancy specialising in wellness, lifestyle, and beauty brands.
Sister company CHALK PR D.I.Y is a consultancy service that helps you create and develop your PR strategy for in-house execution.
How did it all begin?
In 2000 we decided to set up a PR Agency that was Director-led at every stage of the PR process. All too often brands start an agency relationship with Director input, and that gets diluted downwards. Our directors remain fully involved with every client at all times. This means we keep our client list tight and our relationships with those clients close. We work with Brand Founders and with organisations that put relationships first.
What sets your business apart?
We are proud to be a diverse agency and in 2019 we set up our rolling internship programme to help Women of Colour enter the Beauty PR marketplace.
What is the concept behind your business or the problem you’re solving?
Emma Elliot is the original Founder of Chalk PR with a background in Business Studies. She transferred her organizational and people skills to the PR arena in 1990 and has worked with some extraordinary businesses, within other agencies and Chalk PR. Her drive and passion for the industry have grown alongside her experience. Emma is a champion of women in business and diversity within the Beauty PR Industry. She proudly supports the #AgeWithoutApology pledge, helping to change the dialogue around age within her industry.
Where to next/What is your brand vision?
In 2022 we launched Chalk PR D.I.Y a consultancy option for brands that want to understand the principles of PR better, and have help to develop a strategy and framework but retain control of the execution. We will be looking to develop this further alongside our full-service option. We have also recently up weighted our Social space capabilities with a dedicated team of social specialists.
CHALK PR & CHALK PR D.I.Y
What do you feel passionate about/what drives you?
Storytelling, sharing brands unique stories with media, influencers and ultimately customers and problem-solving, finding the fastest and most effective solutions to communications issues.
Share an example of early life that has shaped you?
I was fortunate to spend my early years on multiple continents whilst being schooled in the UK. These experiences made me inquisitive, resilient, and intuitive. My parents are both optimists and kindly shared this character trait with my brothers and I, it has been invaluable to my career.
Highlights of your business journey so far?
Reaching the 20-year milestone in 2022 has made me reflect on all the incredible brands and women we have worked with and supported along the journey so far. Surviving recessions and then a pandemic whilst keeping a business thriving is a pretty good recent highlight too!
Key lessons you have learned along the way?
PR only works if brands have the time and dedication to feed the storytelling. Also, not every brand is a good fit for every agency, be prepared to bow out when the time is right from a client relationship and to not take it personally when the reverse happens to you.
Best piece of advice you have received?
Kindness is a non-negotiable, something my mother taught me early on and family comes first.
Advice to an aspiring entrepreneur or woman just starting her career?
Be confident enough to believe in your own capabilities but never afraid to ask others for help, remaining curious is essential to business growth.
What funding route have you chosen for your business and why?
Self-funded, we have always wanted to remain boutique in size to ensure we can deliver on our founding promise – Founder Director involvement at every stage.
Some of the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?
There have been team members who have left large holes in their wake both personally and professionally. Learning to accept that and keep the door open has been a really hard lesson to learn. Seeing them come back when the time is right in other capacities has been especially rewarding. Small businesses are tightly run communities, keeping the team feeling connected and supported is incredibly important to me.
Why is it important to support women-led business?
My business has always been women-led and women-run. We are fortunate that this is not unusual within our industry for smaller businesses. It is one of the reasons I chose this sector.
My inspiration is...
I am inspired by women who manage a work and life balance – it is hard to do but essential in the long run.
My greatest fear is...
not delivering on hopes and promises for brands despite my best efforts.
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is...
leaving a well-paid job and launching two businesses at once: Chalk PR and Dogmad. I quickly realised that is Chalk PR is my focus although I still have some fans for Dogmad.
tricky one, dark chocolate or Margarita…
Mantra you live by?
glass half full or overflowing – never glass half-empty.
Female role model?
all those who are lifters-up of women, we need many more in positions of seniority to help address the gender imbalance in many industries.
Women-led brand you love?
all those I represent, Tonya Kidd-Beggs STORIES Parfums, Jenni Retourne Willowberry, Ekwy Nene Equi Botanics, Anne Onwusowulu Skin Hair Manufacturing Hub.
Top productivity tool?
Morning Meetings, Google docs and Mondays.
CHALK PR & CHALK PR D.I.Y has created a SPECIAL OFFER exclusively for Women's Chapter Members