March 2024

Blog | International Women's Day spotlight – Charlie Hobbis

By Carrie Mok

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Read time: approx 5 mins

When Charlie Hobbis started her Instagram page @overatcharlies during the pandemic, it was originally an account just for her to document the changes she was making to her house.

But what started as a home interior and lifestyle page turned into an account with thousands of followers, and changed the course of Charlie’s career, leading her to start her own social media agency OAC Marketing. “At the time we had just moved into a new build that had no personality and felt lifeless. I started an Instagram page, just for me at the time, to document the changes that we've made, the journey of doing it all ourselves, while still in lockdown.”

“I grew quite a substantial following off the back of it and pairing that with the work I was doing at a social media agency, I was getting a lot of enquiries for me to support other people with their social media on a direct freelance basis. At the end of 2022, I took the decision to give it a go, see how I could do on my own and here we are.”

The now multi-6 figure business boasts a wide array of clients. These include well-known household names like Tefal, Snug Sofas and Marks & Spencer, as well as emerging celebrity start-ups and international businesses, extending as far as Toronto, Canada. Her work has amassed in excess of an impressive 48 million in reach. 

Naturally, there has often been an affiliation with marketing throughout her career, even during her degree. While Charlie studied Events Management at University College Birmingham, she always took an interest in the marketing modules. After getting a job at a wedding venue between her second and third year on the degree, Charlie moved up through the company from a temporary summer role to wedding planner, and eventually general manager, always managing the businesses marketing activities, before working in sales and marketing for Messe Dusseldorf – a world renowned events venue in Germany who are now a client of the agency. 

Across her career, Charlie has worked with some incredible clients, as well as on some of the biggest trade fairs across Europe, including the biggest indoor Super Yacht Show in the world. But starting her own business was a new adventure entirely, “Of course I was really lucky to have a great network behind me through my Instagram page, but the personal connections I’ve built and the individuals I’ve encountered throughout my career have also been invaluable. This is the biggest attribute to the success of OAC Marketing, the business has grown entirely through word-of-mouth, I’ve not put a penny into advertising spend and the business grows through the amazing connections I’ve made over the years.”

Her network has been crucial to the success of her business, not just in terms of professional relationships she’s made over the years but also her friends who have supported her throughout, “I have a strong network of female friends around me who have supported me since I made the decision to start my own business, not just on a professional level, but on a personal level as well.

“I'm very lucky to be in a position where I’ve made a lot of amazing friends through Instagram, and I feel really lucky to be able to give back to them now through a new division of OAC Marketing which provides representation and training for aspiring content creators. I am now able to support them with their own business journeys, helping them secure paid brand partnerships - I feel really passionate about giving back and supporting others.”

Above: Behind the scenes on a shoot (left) and the team at OAC Marketing (right)

Finally, Charlie gave these tips for any budding female business owners, “I think your personal brand is really important, I would argue more so than your business’ brand in the early days. It's really important for building credibility and trust, but also as an amazing networking opportunity. My Instagram channel has been integral for us to gain new business, but there are so many other ways to grow a personal brand such as LinkedIn and local networking events. 

“People buy from people. That’s my go-to mantra when coaching other businesses and mentoring  other entrepreneurs. Get your name out there; connect with as many people as you possibly can do and focus on building relationships. Give others your time, get involved in the conversation, share your network with other people. Trust me, the network you build in the early days will become the future champions for your brand and your greatest asset.

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