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“5 things I wish someone told me before I became a CEO”, With Charlotte Hale of Plum Pretty Sugar

Good leadership means listening and understanding all the points of views. However, if that POV is different than your own, at the end of the day, go with your own. Intuition is an important quality. Leading to go forward with it even when it is the choice of others is what defines a leader. I had […]


Good leadership means listening and understanding all the points of views. However, if that POV is different than your own, at the end of the day, go with your own. Intuition is an important quality. Leading to go forward with it even when it is the choice of others is what defines a leader.


I had the pleasure to interview Charlotte Hale. Charlotte founded Plum Pretty Sugar a decade ago, taking inspiration from a West Coast backdrop of easy living chic. From Southern California (by way of the UK), Charlotte is the originator and pioneer of the now global multi-million dollar bridal ‘getting ready’ category and her brand, Plum Pretty Sugar holds steadfast as its leader. Now much more than ‘getting ready,’ her innovative and against the grain thinking has created a product mix and visual identity well-known for it’s effortless, fresh and feminine lifestyle. Charlotte holds several advanced degrees in Business, Communication and separately, a degree in Fashion. She is an experienced entrepreneur in both luxury beauty and consumer product industries having both founded and developed several companies and brands prior to Plum Pretty Sugar. In addition, Charlotte has held several positions in Marketing for consumer product companies including Kraft Foods and Balance Bar prior to becoming an entrepreneur. She is committed to two causes; anti-domestic violence and environmental sustainability. These purposes align closely with her personal story. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children (Richard, age 5 and Delphine, age 2) and is more than likely wearing PJ pants and a white tee cuddled up on the master bed.


Thank you so much for joining us Charlotte! What is it about the position of CEO the most attracted you to it?

I’m an entrepreneur versus a CEO. It’s my title and what I do but it’s the entrepreneur and marketer in me that got me there.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

I think for me, it’s been in starting a product category… bridesmaid robes… a decade ago. It’s been interesting to see the progression of the category and to understand Plum Pretty Sugar’s role in it. The stories, the naysayers, the believers, everything… it’s a cool story without an end.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I think for me it was in the follow-up and the details. I can remember the second production run we did on prints, I assumed they would match the original. Not the case! We ended up with fabric yardage that in no way matched the originals. These days, all the details, all the nuances, all the follow-up on everything… those are the pieces of the business that make it successful.

Specifically, what is the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?

The glamour! It’s hard work and it begins and ends with you. The perceived glamour is far outweighed by the details, the everyday and all the other pieces it takes to run and lead a business.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Good leaders understand and recognize not just their strengths, but their own blind spots. Additionally, they recognize the different types of leaders that surround them. Working to their own and other’s strengths is vital.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Good leadership means listening and understanding all the points of views. However, if that POV is different than your own, at the end of the day, go with your own. Intuition is an important quality. Leading to go forward with it even when it is the choice of others is what defines a leader.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Take your time to observe and learn. Don’t be in a hurry.
  2. Don’t be afraid to fail. The biggest learnings come from the greatest failures.
  3. Don’t just embrace change, lead it, get involved.
  4. Be confident.
  5. Patience is necessary. Learn it.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Kindness. I think it goes a long way.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

This quote:Charlotte Hale on Instagram: “Everything.”
162 Likes, 5 Comments – Charlotte Hale (@charlottejaynehale) on Instagram: “Everything.”www.instagram.com

“You are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in. You are what you take from these. you are the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner. You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life. You are every single day. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence. Let the words run through your veins and let the colours fill your mind.”

I think we often forget that everything and everyone shapes who we are as humans, as leaders, as parents and role models. The smallest things as well as the bigger, the quiet moments and the larger than life moments. It all feeds us. And we are fed, we model out to others. Everything, everything has meaning.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I love Marco Bizzarri over at Gucci. I’d also love to sit down with Imran Amed at Business of Fashion and Michael Landau of Drybar.


About the author:

Phil La Duke is a popular speaker & writer with more than 350 works in print. He is the author of two books, I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business, and Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. Follow Phil on Twitter @philladuke

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