Meet one of the Marketing and Public Relations gurus of Dubai, Natasha Hatherall-Shawe. After a few career changes, dressing as a teddy bear, and a lot of hard work, she recognised her expertise that pushed her to take a leap of faith and found her own company, Tish Tash. Now with all our favourite beauty brands on her books, she tells us what it took to get where she is now.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted a “proper job”, so I was determined to be a lawyer! I was very talented at art and design and had so much creativity in me that my teachers begged my parents to send me to art school. However, even as a teen I was determined that I did not want to be a “poor artist” and was set on going the academic route and becoming a lawyer. To give myself a taster of what I would be in for I chose to study for an A level in Law and I hated it so much as there was no room for any creativity, that I ended up turning down all my university places to study law and swapped to psychology instead. I have never regretted this decision for a day – a legal career was not for me!
What is the worst job you have ever had?
I’m not going to lie, dressing up as a teddy bear to promote a teddy bear fair in the UK during my student days is up there with one of the worst experiences of my life – especially when we got beaten up on the streets by kids. At least when I hit the floor my costume was padded!
The hardest thing is definitely finding a work/life balance. As a business owner I find it very hard to ever switch off
What was your journey like to get to the position you are in now?
The long way and very accidentally! They say the average person will have 5 different careers in their life and I do believe this is true and definitely of myself. I studied psychology at university and my plan was to be a clinical psychologist until I realised it involved spending many nights sleeping in a hospital as part of the training and I wasn’t really up for that! I changed my plans a little and ended up studying for a Masters in Marketing, followed by a PhD in Management (Consumer Behaviour). My area of research was addictive consumption – Yes you read that right, shopaholicism! It’s definitely something that is not lost on me as someone who likes to shop. I was all set to follow the academic path, lecturing and tutoring at Exeter University, whilst researching online shopaholicsm and then one day sitting in my University office I had that epiphany moment where I knew I’d still be sitting in that same spot, wearing the same jeans in 20 years time doing pretty much the same thing, so I decided to make the change and I accepted a graduate role with an agency that is today part of the global agency network Havas. After a number of years in media planning and buying, I moved into PR and marketing roles, including those with L’Oreal and Diageo and have enjoyed life agency and client side. I was working heading up corporate communications for Euro RSCG (also part of Havas) for 5 years in the UK before I moved to Dubai and I would probably still be there today if the opportunity to move overseas had not arisen, but living overseas was always a dream of mine so I jumped at it. I worked 2 years for the UAE government in marketing, before taking the leap and setting up my own PR and Marketing agency TishTash 5 years ago and haven’t really looked back since as we are now the biggest beauty, health and wellness PR hub in the GCC!
Describe your typical work day?
My day starts early, as I am a morning person! I like to get up around 5am to get a good start on the day and I really do get my best work done at this time. I usually try and do an hour of exercise in so it’s done and I can feel good for the day ahead. I then work on outstanding emails and my to-do list until 9am when often my day of meetings begins, be this with my team checking all is in progress and under control, or meeting with clients, journalists, bloggers and influencers to pitch ideas and discuss upcoming campaigns and launches. My working day is never the same and this is what I love about my job the most. Some days I have media events to host, other days I could be on photo shoots with clients/brands and the majority of days are spent running around the city attending a variety of meetings. I usually reach home by 6pm and have no idea how the day went so fast and I then usually have a couple of hours on my laptop as I always aim to have every email answered and my inbox clear by 8pm before the next busy day begins.
What are the best and hardest thing about your job now?
The best thing is definitely all the people I get to meet. Every day I interact with so many amazing and different people – clients, potential clients, journalists, bloggers, influencers, suppliers and all from different countries, cultures and with such different stories to tell. I’m a people person and I love spending time with others.
The hardest thing is definitely finding a work/life balance. As a business owner, I find it very hard to ever switch off and being honestly I have struggled a lot with stress and some health issues as a result. For the first 4 years running my business, I worked 20 hour days, 7 days a week. Now, I am down to 6 days a week and I always take Friday off as it’s the only day my husband and I both have off together. I am working on being able to take the whole weekend off soon too, which will be further good progress and also just taking better care of myself generally.
What advice would you give to any women who wanted to work in your industry?
I’d tell them two things…
Firstly, work hard – I know it may sound obvious, but I see so many graduates and people starting out who are just not prepared to work hard and to show they really want to be there. I firmly believe that whilst aptitude is important, hard work does pay off and it goes a long way in getting you there in any field, but especially in marketing and communications which are a competitive field which many want to work in.
Secondly, love what you do! Passion and a love for what you to really go a long way in marketing/public relations. It’s a sales job really, so you need to love what you do, the brands and people you represent and if you do this always shines through and is obvious to media and all those you engage with. This is my personal policy for my agency – I only take on brands and clients that I 100% believe in and know have an amazing product or offer, as this makes my job so much easier.
Is there another dream role you would still like?
It’s my dream to write fiction and to be a published author. It is something that I have wanted to do for a long time. When I lived in London 10 years ago I took a 6 month break to write and I actually finished a whole novel, but after 3 rejections I lost confidence and gave up. I always remind myself that J K Rowling was rejected 12 times before she was finally published and look at her. So I need to pick myself up and try again! It is my dream to be a published author and so I’m making it my New Year’s resolution for 2017 to make it happen. I have so many ideas and lots of inspiration working in PR!
What would be your back up career and why?
If I wasn’t doing what I am doing, I’d love to be an interior designer. I am really creative and enjoy putting personality and life into a space and sourcing unique furniture, art and decorative items. I have spent a lot of time working on my own home and also the TishTash offices, which everyone comments on when they visit is all my own work too. I think I’d be pretty good at it. I do joke, TishTash Interiors is coming soon…
We will be waiting for TishTash Interiors. If you would like to inspire women in Dubai like Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, then get in touch here>>>
-Love The Working Bees