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Creative & Marketing

Nicole Piesse Turner

Chatty Hatter

I’m born and bred Tunbridge Wells. I’ve lived here my whole life and know the town inside out. When I left school at the ripe old age of 17, the London College of Print and Design beckoned me and I was going to start a course in fashion and design. However, along the way I got an amazing job in a local menswear shop, which I loved. I was quickly promoted to manager and my dreams of the big smoke and fashion took a back burner once I enjoyed the freedom and independence working so young gave me! I went on to set up a few shops in Tunbridge Wells; I really enjoyed it. So, I became a fashion buyer. I spent a long time doing that until I realised I was tired of working weekends. Sunday trading had started, and I didn’t want to work bank holidays and Sundays if I could help it. I went to an agency and after a good bit of chatting, they said they were confident I had a future in sales and asked if I had thought about advertising sales. So, I went for a couple of jobs and fortunately got the first one I applied for.

I did advertising sales for quite a long time, mostly locally in some Kent based publishing houses. I then went to London and worked for I.D Magazine, BMW, FHM Magazine and finished off working for a financial publisher. It was great, a very lucrative time but I needed a more stable lifestyle with my family. I couldn’t keep going to London and burning out both in the office and throughout the evenings (The social life associated with my chosen careers was certainly 110%). So I went back to my roots and got a job back in a local publishing house in Tonbridge.

It took a fair bit of adjustment, after a city lifestyle for eight years, but I really loved the people and the place. I then went on a few years later to have my two children, Elodie and Ruben, who are now seven and nine. I carried on in advertising sales and I did pretty well! I was always good at figuring out people’s needs, loved meeting new people and I could certainly talk! I like interacting and helping people, so I find it really easy to tune in to what their main ‘thing’ is which potentially helps in understanding someone’s need.

After I had my daughter, I went part-time and I was spending the majority of my monthly wages on childcare; a common problem for many people who go back to work after starting a family. I wasn’t spending any quality with them, but I wasn’t ready to totally give up work. I really do like working. I spoke to my employers and some of my favourite clients and literally said, “Look, I’ve been telling you what you should be spending your money on for years, how about I actually, really tell you what to spend your money on!” And that was it. That was how my first company started.

At the beginning, all I really wanted was to match my previous monthly salary, work from home around my kids and walk them to nursery. I was fortunate enough to achieve that very quickly. It was then just like turning the tap on. People heard I was available, and it grew and grew. We are now a full service agency, looking after ad bookings, ad spend, ad placement, branding, creative, campaigns, some social media, website builds, some sales, event management and planning; absolutely everything and anything you can think of. For a small agency we have a huge capacity for what we can offer.

Three years ago, we moved into our office here in Tunbridge Wells, which we love and it’s perfect for us. Most of my team are like minded dynamic mothers with busy lives and young children. There’s a substantial amount of women like myself, who had really high positions in companies and then have had children and their full skill set are no longer being utilsed.

We’ve been going for six years now at Chatty Hatter. I’m incredibly lucky. I have a ridiculously awesome team! Chatty Hatter now services local and international clients and we have around 12 major clients currently on our books and are always looking to expand. We love helping small to medium size businesses to grow with a passion.

We then launched Crazy Jeans events just under two years ago, and we are already planning more events alongside the Crazy Jeans Soapbox race. It’s taken us into a totally different industry, that we are increasingly expanding into, which is mainstream and charitable events. Interestingly when I look back on my career, it has always been communication, cars and fashion! Our first Soapbox event in 2018 had 6500 people come along and we raised £25,000 for charity! With the latest event with Taylor Made Dreams and Hospice in The Weald we raised just under £31,000. Next year’s Soapbox is due to be even bigger and better, as we are now rolling the event into schools and will have the Year 9s from the WK ISSP schools racing with us on the day! Our major aim is of course to work in more areas of the Tunbridge Wells community alongside local businesses. There’s so many Brilliant Businesses in Tunbridge Wells!

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