Written by Judy Daghestani, Founder, Curated ME
“I started TishTash 8 and a half years ago after moving to the Middle East and seeing a gap in the market for high quality, gold standard communications,” prides Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, Founder of TishTash Marketing & Public Relations.
A stellar example of adapting to the current environment, Tish Tash is the largest agency in GCC that specializes in PR and marketing for beauty, health and wellness. While the agency could have expanded to different realms, The Founder purposely wanted to remain loyal to the beauty-wellness industry within retail, in order to master content and provide top-tier services within the niche.
The boutique agency delivers more than the standard Marketing & PR services for its clients. During the Dubai lockdown, TishTash wanted to find a way to not only support local businesses but also cater to her client’ current needs via a series of virtual and complimentary masterclasses, workshops & activities called #StayHomewithTishTash, following a customer-first approach when it comes to tending to our current needs.
Below, read more below from the founder on her inspiration to offer such motivational activities for her followers and why.
1. Briefly tell us about TishTash and why you started the agency. How the company has evolved its offerings and brand ethos over time to reflect changes in tech, industry landscape, environment and more?
I started TishTash 8 and a half years ago after moving to the Middle East and seeing a gap in the market for high quality, gold standard communications. We started small (just me at first) focusing on lifestyle clients but very quickly evolved to become a specialist agency for Beauty, Health and Wellness. When I started TishTash the media landscape felt very simplified compared to other western markets like the UK. Digital hadn’t really taken off yet and there was still a huge reliance on pure print. However, the delay in traditional media outlets moving their content online and offering brands an online platform, created a meteoric rise of influencers and beauty bloggers, an area that has grown far quicker in this region than anywhere else. The INSTAgirls became the beauty queens and celebrities of the region and quickly proved to be a successful marketing channel for many brands. The demise of many print titles over the last 12-18 months has meant that traditional print has now invested in their online prescience and digital is finally sitting at the top of the media pyramid, but with influencers a very close second.
2. What makes TishTash unique from other similar service agencies?
When I started TishTash I don’t think I really knew what it would become, but as I welcomed more and more beauty clients onto the roster, and looked at my own experience through the years working with clients such as L’Oréal back in the UK, I quickly realised that we had the credentials and the passion to become a specialist beauty, health and wellness agency. Staying true to this specialism has allowed TishTash to cultivate a reputation with the media as the ‘go to’ for any of their beauty content needs. I like to think TishTash is considered a true expert in this area of PR and communications and are therefore trusted by clients and media alike. Many have questioned my decision to be a specialist agency and if it makes commercial sense, as we do decline a lot of amazing brands and opportunities, but I honestly believe it is the best decision we ever made and that it sets us apart from the rest.
3. Do you consider TishTash to be a customer-centric/customer-focused agency? How so?
Absolutely. The customer is at the heart of what we do every day, not just on behalf of our clients but for the community in general. From a client perspective we truly believe that people buy people and therefore it is our role to bring true, authentic customer experiences and to show the human side of the brands we represent. Aside from the work we do with clients every day, we also have our own database of consumers that rely on us to provide the best in beauty news and offers. The PR landscape is always evolving and getting to our core customers quickly has never been more important. We are constantly innovating across social and on ground to bring communities the best in product launches, community events, offers and updates.
4. Please tell us more about #TishTashTalks and how you partnered with local organizations to provide tailored content for the public to benefit from during COVID-19.
TishTashTalks is our social media channel across Instagram and Facebook that has more than 50,000 followers. We are experts in beauty and our social media channels have become such a wonderful platform for us to share our knowledge and give support to brands we love. When Covid hit we saw a massive spike in social media engagement within the first few weeks, and quickly realised how rapid the reliance on digital and social was becoming in order to support and inspire people during this time. That’s when we decided to set up #StayHomeWithTishTash, our own webinar series which we have been pushing across our social channels. It is a monthly schedule of talks and workshops spanning beauty hacks to mental wellness, fitness and crafting – literally every topic you can think, to teach and inspire people during this difficult time. We have been inundated with requests to lead sessions and participate and we have learnt some amazing new skills and met some incredible people along the way.
5. How can PR firms in general help their clients navigate through an uncertain and challenging time?
There are so many ways. The most important I think is to ensure their clients keep communicating. Silence is not the way to handle these times if you want to come out stronger on the other side. Work with your clients to review marketing plans and budgets to reflect how their customers are feeling. It is important to continue communication, but the messaging may need to be different. I truly believe now is the time to stand for something and navigating what the something is may take time and conversation.
6. What advice do you have for aspiring founders, innovators or entrepreneurs looking to create something new in the region?
Well, the journey will not be easy and I always say it is the highest highs and lowest lows, but it will be worth it. Surround yourself with people that help you think creatively and never stop asking questions or trying new things. The thing I love the most about owning my own agency is the ability to be agile. Some of my best initiatives and client solutions have been borne from crazy ideas but the structure of my business allows me the freedom to develop these ideas quickly, often with amazing results. I started my initiative to support SMEs during Covid times called #SMERiseCollective less than two months ago and we are already helping more than 40 SMEs in the market by providing sponsored marketing packages. It only took me two weeks to turn it from an idea to a living, breathing, working initiative that really is helping the community and making a difference.
7. What is in TishTash’s future?
Wow what a big question. I have never wanted to grow into a big agency asI love the personal touch we offer, but I would like to diversify into more markets. Before Covid-19 we had big on ground plans across Saudi and Kuwait to further grow our physical presence and there were talks of TishTash UK, so I guess we will have to wait and see. For 2020 though I plan on continuing to support my communities and use my experience to support businesses that need it most.
TishTash Marketing & Public Relations is a Dubai-based independent marketing and communications agency. Founded in January 2012 by Founder and CEO Natasha Hatherall, TishTash offers marketing strategy and planning, public relations, digital and social media marketing, CRM and events, as well as copywriting and content development. In less than 8 years TishTash has become the largest beauty, health and wellness PR hub in the GCC representing over 60 brands in this space and is now home to an amazing team of 18 PR and marketing professionals who are smart, creative and always thinking outside of the box. In 2016, TishTash launched their little sister TishTash Tots, a specialist division focusing on kids and family focused brands. The TishTash client portfolio is the perfect blend of homegrown clients and global brands, which all share the same values and passions. Current clients include The Body Shop, FACES Middle East, Filorga, NuFace, PMD Beauty, Grown Alchemist, Rodial, Skin Republic and Sukin to name but a few.