Robin Tolkan-Doyle, Owner of Charmed PR
With an editorial background and writing for major magazines the owner of Charmed PR shares her experience on how she entered into the PR business. Before Robin began Charmed PR she was working on her own fashion and accessory business. In doing so, she became good at it and decided to start her own company.
Location: Woodland Hills, CA
Education: Bachelor of Arts in English from UC Irvine
Favorite quote: “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Social media handles:
Please share how you formed Charmed PR from the ground up.
Charmed PR has an interesting evolution and I pretty much stumbled into creating it on a whim. I was doing the PR for a couple of fashion and accessory businesses I started and realized that I was pretty good at it…better at the PR than running a business ;-). When I decided to stop playing fashion entrepreneur and focus, some friends of mine with new businesses of their own asked me to help promote their companies. I gave it a shot and ended up landing some key media placements for them. Word spread and I have had a full roster of clients ever since. That was more than eight years ago.
What surprised you about the process?
Initially, I was surprised at how easy it was to receive media placements for my clients, but maybe that was because I had great clients to pitch. That or I was just lucky!
Was there anything that was more difficult or easier than you expected in the process?
When I started in public relations eight years ago, the online media was only a sliver of what it is now. These days it’s a never-ending job keeping up with all the online outlets from bloggers to online magazines.
What were you doing before your launched your company?
Upon graduating college with an English degree, I started off in the editorial world as a magazine writer and editor. I did a lot of freelance writing work for publications such as Entertainment Weekly, US Weekly and Shape, worked as an editorial assistant at the Los Angeles bureau of People magazine, and as a staff writer at Bop magazine where I interviewed Brittany Spears and the BackStreet Boys. I eventually moved over to a national teen publication called JUMP as their beauty editor. I would interview lots of young entrepreneurial girls for a column I wrote and when the magazine folded in 2001, I decided to take an idea I had for a hair accessory’s business and make it real. It was called Wrap Star and it was surprisingly successful. It was sold in more than 200 boutiques across the country including Fred Segal and Henri Bendel and featured in lots of magazines such as InStyle and Glamour. I was still freelance writing at the time and interviewing lots of celebrities, so I was literally handing them my headbands in my interviews. It was great for landing press.
What prompted you to take the leap and start your own business?
After realizing that I enjoyed the PR responsibilities of Wrap Star (and Innies ‘n Outies, a children’s clothing line I also created and ran for a couple years) more than the actual day to day tasks of running a fashion business, I decided to focus my efforts on promoting and helping other people’s fashion and beauty businesses.
Based on your experience for someone just starting their own company. Is marketing and PR services something you would advise to outsource or keep in-house?
That depends on the type of business that it is. I’ve actually worked as an in-house PR Director as well so I see the pros and cons of both sides. However, if you have a small company on a tight budget and your only real initial goals for hiring a publicist is to promote your products to the media and gain some brand recognition, you’re best to outsource a PR agency.
What does your job involve on a daily basis, and what types of responsibilities do you have in your position?
My days typically juggle a lot of responsibilities. They can involve everything from communicating back and forth with editors and bloggers about my clients and their products, writing press releases, shipping products to editors, sending images and product to stylists, having client meetings, keeping track of media placements, updating social media outlets, following certain news outlets and blogs, and making sure I pick my kids up from school on time!
What advice or inspiration can you offer someone just starting out in the PR field?
PR can be an incredibly rewarding field to be in if you find gratification in helping other businesses succeed. If you enjoy working with entrepreneurs, if you enjoy the media world, and if you enjoy writing and thinking creatively and strategically, than PR can be for you. It is a stressful and never-ending task to be a great publicist. It’s not a 9-5 gig. You are basically on-call all the time because if an editor or producer is on deadline and you’re not available, they’ll just go to someone else. Also, if PR is truly in your blood, than you’re thinking about how to get your clients in the news all the time.
What would you say are the three main ingredients to a successful business?
Passion, reliability and strategy
What can we look for from your company in the coming years?
Charmed PR has grown a lot in the last 6 months in terms of clients and employees and we are enjoying every minute of it. It’s all been through word of mouth, too. We hope that word will continue to spread about how passionate we are about the clients we represent and that we become one of the top fashion, beauty and lifestyle boutique PR firms in Los Angeles.
What productivity tools do you use to get tasks/assignments done? (This can be an app, software, book, etc.)
I am a huge list maker. I actually have five Apple Mail Yellow Note Tabs open on my desktop right now! I have a white board that I keep track of my clients and their projects on. I also have a huge cork board in my office that I pin my monthly client activity reports on to track our progress. I do strive to be better with Google Docs, however, I honestly can’t say I love them.
Random fun fact about yourself/company or what’s been the best moment of your career so far?
I have two dogs that hang out with me in my office; Mickey, a Chihuahua/Beagle/Jack Russell mutt who sits on my feet all day, and Harlow, a six-lb Chihuahua who barks really loudly every time I try making a phone call. She’s a nightmare, but I love her!
Be sure to check out Charmed PR’s website and follow on their social channels.