MW: You have a varied background, tell us about your professional evolution.
CH: Since 2006 I have been working in my family’s Lobster processing business, I have worn a lot of hats: product development, sales and marketing, operations, and now VP. It was here that I really understood that, for a business to be successful, they must how to tell your story to someone who may not have the vaguest idea of what you inherently know so well. My favorite part of my job is telling the story of the lobster; from the boat it was caught on all the way to working with chefs and at-home-chefs who will prepare or eat the final product.
In 2016, I went in the complete opposite direction and opened TULA studios in South Portland. It challenged me to use my business acumen in a completely new-to-me industry. I went all in. I learned so much about the wellness industry. This business was about taking something that I love so much (health, wellness and fitness) and turning it into a profitable business. I did this by understanding the market and the clients needs, and creating a solution to what the market didn’t have. I was teaching barre, yoga, aerial yoga, and spin in addition to running the business. So, I really put myself in the middle of things to be able to tell the story of what our business was to both the seasoned athlete and the novice.
MW: With a resume like that, it seems you would be a big thinker when it comes to marketing. Tell us about how your experiences shape your ability to see the big picture for other businesses.
CH: Having a very diverse background professionally and personally, I see stories and opportunities through a multitude of different lenses. This has been particularly helpful as I help others tell their stories and promote and grow their businesses.
MW: You're studio recently closed during the 2020 Pandemic. What did you learn?
CH: So much! Life is full of surprises, we know that, but we never could have seen this coming. I made the decision to close TULA after looking at the big picture; how businesses were adjusting as the world was sheltering in place, what was core to our business, and how to not only keep the business in existence, but profitable as well.
Ultimately, I decided that the business was the physical space and that offering a virtual platform of classes was not going to substitute what we could no longer offer. The big lesson: sometimes you need to eliminate things in order to make space for growth in other places. I look back at TULA and see so many little lessons gained along the way, a lot of branding and marketing, a ton of management, in addition to teaching. As I closed the doors to the studio, it has opened up a lot of time and energy that I can now dedicate to something else I really love.
MW: So, what's next?
CH: Since closing the studio in May, I have been able to re-evaluate where I want to put my time and energy that isn’t spent running the lobster business. I moved back to Stonington, which is where I want to spend every moment that I’m not working and in these days of ‘virtual’ everything, it’s been great to be able to continue working remotely from my little nook of the world. Professionally, I’m really looking forward to taking all the skills I’ve been honing over the past few (or 20?) years and using them to help small businesses tell their story and identify growth opportunities that they may not see because they are so busy keeping their wheels moving forward. I’m excited about helping people see their business through a new set of eyes and work with them to take their business and their digital marketing to the next level. Mindwell has been an amazing opportunity for me and I have loved every business that I’ve had the pleasure of working with!
MW: What do you love most about digital marketing?
CH: Digital is everything - or, everything is digital? Especially during these times. It’s almost like we have this opportunity to present ourselves in parallel to our physical self and we have so many platforms to do this in a calculated and intentional way. We really get to choose how we want to tell our story, in both words and visual aesthetics. That’s why I love digital marketing - we get to tell stories and build something.
MW: Why is a digital marketing strategy so important for a growing brand or business?
CH: In running a business, it is easy to go down a rabbit hole. That is why it is so important to step back and continuously check in with yourself and what you’re doing. Have you been trying so hard to make one thing work because you’re feeling determined? Or, is it time to re-evaluate and re-route? When we have a strategy, ultimately, we’re defining goals and outlining the path to get there. Things will always be a work in process and we must be able to respond to the unexpected, but ultimately, our strategy is getting us to the next targeted goal.
MW: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to brands marketing online?
CH: Clutter. And unnecessary bullshit. There is so much happening in the world, I appreciate clear and concise calls to action for clients and prospective clients, and I love when businesses give answers to questions without having to ask. I joke that the only thing I learned in University was KISS. It might be the cheesiest, but most relevant, thing in business school: keep it simple, stupid.
Yes. There is that grit I was talking about :)
Ready to work with Caitlin? Contact us to begin.
I am a marketing professional with a passion for wellness and community.