In 2002 I founded and created the bridal brand Charlotte Balbier bridal after identifying a gap in the UK market.
For more than 15 years I grew the brand into an award-winning and leading UK designer bridal label with a stockist list over 60 bridal boutiques, plus I had the pleasure of dressing thousands of brides. The brand was hugely successful under my leadership and in 2013 I was named British Designer of the Year at the British Wedding Awards. In early 2017 I sold the bridal brand and shortly afterwards, I left the new company.
As a creative, and a woman who believes we should follow our dreams, and also as an entrepreneur it was not long before I was working on plans for my new brand and business All The Pretty by Charlotte Balbier. Combining my love for fashion, lifestyle and weddings through my blog and social media alongside my growing business coaching that I will be rolling out in 2019.
When I am not sat at my desk I am spending time with my son Harry and husband Teddy in Cheshire where we live. I love to keep fit so fit in as many classes as possible into my working schedule, I find it not only keeps my body healthy but my mind too. I love to cook, to spend time with friends and the ultimate treat is a luxury spa day somewhere fabulous.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Not the bridal brand, no – that was a natural step because my mother is also a multi award winning bridal designer Amanda Wyatt who also had her own bridal brand for over 30 years and previous to that my Grandparents were in bridal from 1960. With my new brand All The Pretty I have a more strategic plan in place because I have very big plans for it, I am going to be taking it to a higher level than the bridal brand so it requires more planning.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Yes so many prior to this new direction I am taking. I have weathered many a storm. As part of my role in my previous career I also was in charge of a huge re-brand within in the company for our established core brand that was really successful but had started to see a decline in sales because it needed to re-brand and re-position itself in the market. I took this on and with the re-brand that I created and with some new creative direction from me sales were back on track and better than ever. I also worked incredibly hard to take the CB bridal brand from literally nothing to having a very high turnover and profit and I kept it at this throughout my leadership and at times this was very, very challenging.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I really enjoy mentoring individuals. I currently have a handful of clients because I am keeping my business coaching side to the business small while I continue my training and build on my skillset so when I launch this part of my brand I have not only my 20 years of knowledge, experience and success to share but a very comprehensive package to offer my clients. I am so excited about this.
What do you want to see happen within the next five years when it comes to diversity?
Something I have really noticed and have experienced first hand is how women are treated differently once they become a mother. Sadly, still, in the workplace women are not equal to men when it comes to job role and salary and I knew this, what I was not so aware was how quickly people are to label a new mother as ‘full time Mum’ or just ‘a Mum’ and how we are seen to now be somehow less capable at our job. I strongly disagree with this because not only are we still the same person we were before we had our children, we are now even more stronger and capable because we have a new motivation and inspiration in our lives to want to further our career. Yes, new mums need and should have time off to spend with their new baby but when they are ready to go back into the workplace they should not have to worry and also need to have the option of flexible working. Or in some cases a job to even go back to! Anna Whitehouse AKA Mother Pukka is championing this with her fantastic work with flex appeal and is really starting to make changes.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Aside from of course my beautiful son Harry who is and will always be my biggest achievement in life, my new brand All The Pretty by Charlotte Balbier already feels a huge achievement. I of course had many over the years I had my bridal brand but this is my past and I am very much about my next chapter. I have very big plans for the future and some really exciting things to come.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
2019 is all about building the new brand, raising its profile and in return the success and financial rewards will follow. Alongside this around Spring time I will be launching phase two the brand and business coaching. I also have plans for more phases to be rolled out of the brand, but for now these are top secret!