Bellerby Globe Makers
YOU’VE OBVIOUSLY EXPERIENCED A GREAT DEAL OF SUCCESS IN YOUR LIFE. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT, AND WHY?
Creating a business that is able to employ talented local artists to do what they love in a nice environment — and making a product that people love. The response I see when customers walk into our studio feels like an accomplishment every time. From a more personal point of view, being able to work for myself without any business partners is probably my biggest joy and achievement.
LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS SMOOTH. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT A SETBACK OR TRAGEDY YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED, HOW YOU DEALT WITH IT, AND THE IMPACT IT HAS HAD ON YOU?
I had setbacks every step of the way setting up my business from getting the map to be accurate, to creating a sphere that was actually round, to finding the right paper, the right ink, the right watercolours. Everything has required endless trial and error to the point I had to sell my house and car just to give the business a chance to continue. I was very lucky to not have tragedy, in that I started this business in a time when the economy was not great, and my idea could have easily left me with nothing.
I believe in working hard and not giving up, the setbacks just make me appreciate where I am now even more. But I appreciate my good luck compared to most people who started a business based on a crazy idea with no backing. I also don’t make mountains out of molehills, so when I’m down to my last pound I don’t shout about it, I just hunker down and get on with it.
DO YOU SET ASIDE “ME-TIME” IN YOUR CALENDAR, AND WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME TO RELAX?
My partner and I run the backend of the business together, so we never fully step away for more than a few hours at a time, which is okay I think because we’re having fun. The business is still young, and we need to be involved in everything day-to-day.
I love waking up before sunrise on the weekend and riding my bike around London when it is empty. I find that really peaceful. It’s unusual to find such peace in the city. Evenings are spent cooking, and on weekends when we don’t work, we try to take day trips out of London, or you’ll often find us just happily sitting in the backyard with a cold beer and the cats around.
WHAT’S THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE YOU’VE DISCOVERED WHERE YOU CAN GO TO CHILL OUT?
My favourite place is being poolside in Bangkok in a hotel where you have the skyline across and the buzz and motion of the Chao Phraya river within eye sight. The heat and smell and bustle of the city combined with the tranquility of a little garden oasis within. Knowing you have the option of totally relaxing or easily stepping out into a huge busy city full of culture and amazing food. Conversely, I can’t lie on a beach for longer than 5 minutes.
DOES PHILANTHROPY PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR LIFE, TO WHAT EXTENT AND HOW?
Yes and growing. A percentage of all of our profits goes to The Elephant Family which I am an ambassador for. My passion lies with animal conservation and I further work with them on making one-off pieces for auction most years. We’ve done a number of other one-off projects for charities over the years, but The Elephant Family remains my main focus. The Elephant Family is a small dynamic NGO on a mission to help save the Asian Elephant from extinction. Numbers have plummeted 90% in the last 100 years and they fund pioneering solutions such as elephant corridors and empowering locals rather than imposing Western ideas on operations.
WHO IS ON THE GUEST LIST FOR YOUR IDEAL DINNER PARTY?
A collection of my oldest friends who needn’t be named. They each know who’s on my list.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY WORDS OF WISDOM TO YOUR FELLOW THROOMERS?
Be passionate and patient, and work hard at whatever you do. Treat people well and give back wherever you can. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your ideas are bad or stop yourself from doing something you have a good feeling about. And … it’s never too late to re-invent yourself or start a new stage in life. I have a relatively high-risk threshold, I would always suggest taking a chance on something. Life is far more rewarding if you take risks and navigate your own course.