Dr Tessa Hartmann, Founder, Hartmann House
Dr Tessa Hartmann, Jersey based entrepreneur
What makes you spring out of bed in the morning?
The ability to wake up and see the sunshine. Add a dash of adrenaline fuelled excitement for what each day brings – it’s always different. Ideas, creativity and a ‘can-do’ attitude for all that the day holds is imperative. I’m a news junkie so I’m always anxious to check out the global news feeds as soon as my alarm goes off too.
What does your normal day look like?
Alarm goes off at 6.45am – get kids up and breakfast done by 7.30am. Walking shoes go on and the obligatory hike #walkbeforework is key to my day. Back by 8.15am, desk at 9am and the diary unfolds. Usually, a series of skype calls, always a few brand strategy documents to work on. Afternoons are kept for creative meetings, recording studio time and brainstorming. We work across fashion, lifestyle, beauty and entertainment. From a fashion brand launching a new collection, to international events, music talent walking red carpet and celebrity chefs doing TV shows – our days are never dull. Most of what we do involves instigating digital conversations across multi platforms, whether that’s in the UK or USA. Quite often our Skype calls / meetings are at night time so we can begin at anything from 8pm – 10pm as we have media and clients in California. So, life never really stops when you run your own business – nor should it!
How did you get to where you are today?
Being an eternal hustler! My father who is a self-made man, told me to ‘learn to listen and listen to learn’. In this fast paced, multi-platform world, everything is fast, consumers wanting immediate satisfaction, their desires needing to be instantly fulfilled. So, the key for me is understanding and always learning what that markets want ‘today’, not yesterday or tomorrow.
Academically I studied Marketing and Business law at university, but got some great internships during that time. Good luck and perseverance got me a job with the Kennedy Foundation in Washington DC early In my career. I worked on their VIP events and media department during a summer stint. They ended up offering me a job at the London ad agency. After 3 years in London, crafting my career and learning the trade I returned to Scotland to set up a brand and PR agency.
I get the biggest kick out of turning a creative idea into a reality. Seeing a vision hit the market place is such a driving force and never gets boring. We have created many leading events, such as the Scottish Fashion Awards that was set up 12 years ago. I was honoured with a CBE for my contribution to fashion and textiles. The nurturing of the next generation of talent is key for any industry. The legacy of these events is to watch the evolution of brands, designers and creatives along their journey. Providing a platform that showcases their greatness is very rewarding. It’s as much about giving back than anything – I think that’s key in any industry.
What couldn’t you live your life without?
My family of course. my iPhone and the internet. I must say that life is Jersey is especially good with the fast speed fibre so that has changed our entire creative process so it’s even more addictive. Finally, I couldn’t live without my red lipstick and heels. As the saying goes, ‘I close deals in heels’.
Which outsiders (professional services, investors, mentors, family etc.) have been most important to the success of your business?
My father is one of my biggest mentors. Attitude, ambition, hustle and perseverance is key. I have learnt everything from him. My late mother taught me how to handle life with a dash of panache. I work with my husband which some people find strange, but we are co-conspirators, fire starters, digital adventurers and we’re relentless. It really helps being a duo!
I’m a huge fan of female power players like Isabel Guichot, Francesca Bellentini, Maureen Chiquet, Grita Loebsack and Michele Huiban to name but a few.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Resilience is key to being a female entrepreneur. That combined with confidence and good communication skills. Setbacks will be part of your everyday world but it’s how you handle them that counts. Women definitely need to jump through more hoops than men to get things done or actioned. You will be hit on, frowned upon but you must fight on! Sexism should roll off your back and long term personal strategy is all that matters. There is nothing we can’t overcome as women and if we can’t get to the top of the mountain we will darn well sneak through the side door with a lift to the top and serve it with a smile on our face!
What advice would you give to your younger self before embarking on your business journey?
Fake it till you make it! No seriously, if I were 16 again, I would learn coding. The future of the world is digital and coding is imperative – what a skill to have! Imagine a coder coming in to your office with red lipstick and heels. That would rattle a few feathers eh!
Jersey Style Awards
Scottish Fashion Awards