October 29

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Bootstrapping Your Dream: From Artist to Boutique Hotel Owner to PR Maven

By Mimi Maclean

October 29, 2020


If you have a dream with little funding to make it happen, this is the podcast for you. Sarah Robarts is an artist from London, who moved to California and pooled all of her resources together to refurbish a boutique hotel in Palm Springs.??With grit and learning on the fly, she opened the doors to Ballantines Original Hotel. Then the question was, how do we attract guests to stay without a marketing budget??Listen to this week’s podcast with Sarah Robarts to hear how she bootstrapped her idea and then transformed her PR out of necessity into an award-winning Los Angeles based agency.

Sarah Robarts, who lived worldwide, had the idea to change up her life and start a boutique hotel in Palm Springs, CA. As an artist, Sarah had no background in hotels, but she went for it anyway. Selling everything she had, Sarah bootstrapped the launch of her hotel and learned as she went. She poured all of her resources into refurbishing this hotel, and she did all of the bookings using her sketchbook and cell phone. It was a labor of love. With most young entrepreneurs, she thought once she built the hotel, customers would come. And as we know, that is not the case. However, there was no money left for marketing, so Sarah used her Public Relations experience and got on the phone with her friends in London, New York, and Los Angeles. They were incredible and covered the story, and Sarah continued to pitch to publications worldwide. Before she knew it, Sarah’s hotel was on the cover of Vogue, Conde Nast Traveler, and The LA Times. This coverage caught the attention of the city of Palm Springs, and people started asking Sarah to promote their books, hotels, clothing lines, you name it. And so it began.

Today, Sarah Robarts is the president and founder of the award-winning, woman-owned business, Ballantines Public Relations (BPR). Along with her team of talented PR professionals, Sarah has worked with numerous internationally renowned companies and corporations over the past 20 years in Los Angeles.

Sarah loves long-distance running and compared starting a business to going for a run. “I don’t set off on a run and think, what if I don’t make the run? Who’s going to pick me up? How am I going to get home? It’s just like, this is my plan. I’m going on my run. It’s going to take this long. And I think you just have that faith.” As an entrepreneur, you can’t doubt yourself. You will figure it out along the way.

With the perfect combination of grit and grace, Sarah makes running a PR agency look easy. Her advice: be authentic, confident, humble, grateful, and hard working.

Mimi Maclean

About the author

Entrepreneur and Angel Investor Mimi MacLean brings you business strategies, life experiences, lessons learned, inspiration, and advice for you to be your best Badass Entrepreneur Self.

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