“If you’re the smartest guy in the room, you’re in the wrong room” — Steve Varsano

June 7, 2018

My guest on today's episode is Steve Varsano, founder and CEO of the Jet Business, the world’s first private aviation showroom.

Steve’s career started up in the clouds when he trained to become a pilot in the 1970s. He's scarcely come down to earth since. Today, the New Jersey boy has sold more jets than almost anyone in the world, and his remarkable showroom on Park Lane continues to use breathtaking technology and insight to win over its clients. 

In one of the most entertaining episodes we've ever recorded, Steve tells us how a chance encounter at a night club led to his first job in sales; how a good network is one of the most valuable things one can own; and how his first sale — at the hands of some mysterious Venezuelans — was almost his very last.

 

Our thanks, once again, to Mark's Club for playing host.

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“I woke up one day and decided to start a bank” — Vernon Hill

May 24, 2018

Our guest on today's episode of the Gentleman's Journal podcast is Vernon Hill — serial entrepreneur, master retailer and, most recently, the founder of Metro Bank.

Vernon founded his first business when he was just a teenager, and had set up his first bank by the age of 26. As you’ll find out, he’s not much interested in sticking to conventions — at the time he set up Metro, it was the first bank to be established in the United Kingdom since 1840.

Today, Vernon describes his early career with Ray Kroc, the man behind McDonald’s; how his dog Duffy is at the centre of his business model; and why you should probably abandon your high street bank immediately, if not before.

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British Manufacturing special — Crockett & Jones, Ettinger, Turnbull & Asser

March 6, 2018

In a special episode of the Gentleman's Journal podcast, we're joined by three towering figures in British craftsmanship and manufacturing — Robert Ettinger of Ettinger; Jonathan Baker of Turnbull & Asser; and James Fox of Crockett & Jones. What these three don’t know about the art of manufacturing — and the science of selling — isn’t worth knowing. And as you’ll see, they present this ancient, deep-rooted industry in a refreshing new light. For any entrepreneurs interested in making beautiful products, and building brands from the ground up, this episode will be 45 minutes very well spent.

Our thanks once again to Mark's Club for playing hosts.

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Style and substance — Henry Hales

January 25, 2018

Henry Hales is the founder of Sir Plus, a men’s fashion start up that uses surplus material to build distinctive British garments and accessories. From his humble beginnings selling boxer shorts on a stall in East London, Henry has grown the business to a formidable size, and built a brand that stands all on its own in a particularly crowded marketplace. 

In today’s episode, Henry shows us the power of growing slowly, the tricks to building an incredibly loyal following, and the importance of doing one thing extremely well.

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Will Dean – “The Mark Zuckerberg of Extreme Sports”

December 28, 2017

Will Dean is the founder and CEO of Tough Mudder, the world's most successful endurance event. Will first came up with the idea for the race while studying for an MBA at Harvard, and despite the protestations of his professors, he decided to put his dream to the test. He’d hoped to get 500 participants to his first ever event — in the end, he got more than 5000.

In just the seven short years since, Tough Mudder has gone from strength to strength, and today has put more than 2 million people through their paces at 150 events worldwide.

In this episode, Will tells us how close he came to tear gassing his participants, why he imported mud into the desert, and how his flash of inspiration came at the hands of an ill-fitting wetsuit. 

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Fifth Anniversary Special – Harry Jarman

December 8, 2017

Fifth Anniversary Special – In a twist on our usual format, we ask Harry Jarman, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Gentleman's Journal, about his own entrepreneurial journey as the publication celebrates its fifth birthday.

In today’s episode, Harry discusses how the company first got started; the dramatic changes in the world of luxury in the past five years; and why it pays to ask for forgiveness, not permission.

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The unstoppable Paul Smith

November 23, 2017

Paul Smith is one of the most successful mens’ fashion designers in the world, and a titan of British industry. After a bike crash as a teenager, Paul's rise in the world of fashion was slow and steady but ultimately unstoppable. From a tiny shop in Nottingham, Paul now operates over 300 stores worldwide, and still oversees every single area of the business himself.

In today's episode, Paul tells us about his Bespoke by Appointment service; why the most dangerous thing you can do is follow trends; and what to do if you ever receive a live pigeon in the post.

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The 25-Year-Old CEO – Ross Bailey

November 8, 2017

Our guest on today's podcast is Ross Bailey, the founder and CEO of Appear Here. 

Ross left school at 16, and soon found that his infectious enthusiasm lent itself perfectly to the world of business. His first true entrepreneurial venture, founded when he was just 19, is the one that he still heads up today. Appear Here is now the world’s largest online marketplace for short-term retail spaces – a kind of Air BnB for commercial property. A major driving force in the pop-up sector, the company works with thousands of established brands and fledgling businesses every year, and has just overseen a very successful expansion to Paris and the US.

Today, Ross tells us how a Jubilee-themed party accidentally kicked off the entire business, what it’s like to be a CEO of a multinational company at the age of 25, and why he never wants to hear about another clean-eating start up ever again.

Our thanks once again to Mark's Club for playing hosts.

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Print is dead, long live print – Nicholas Coleridge

October 26, 2017

Our guest this afternoon is Nicholas Coleridge, the Chairman of both Condé Nast and the Victoria & Albert Museum. For many years, Nicholas has been the figurehead of the international magazine industry, acting as both an adoring cheerleader and a hardnosed innnovator.

As a former editor of several high-profile titles, and the departing managing director of one of the world's most influential publishers, Nicholas knows the industry from cover to cover – and might just be able to predict the next installment in its turbulent modern history.

In today’s episode, Nicholas discusses his greatest journalistic scoops and stunts; what not to do if you want a job at Condé Nast; and why magazines are best enjoyed in the bath.

Our thanks to Mark's Club for their hospitality.

 

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Time is Money – Wilhelm Schmid

October 12, 2017

In this week's episode, we talk to Wilhelm Schmid, the CEO of German watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne.

Though Wilhelm’s background is in the automobile industry, he has, since a very young age, been obsessed with watches. He’s in the right place, then – based in the famous watchmaking town of Glashütte in Germany, A. Lange & Söhne is perhaps one of the most celebrated and venerated watch brands in the world.

Today, the CEO tells us how a watch can possibly cost 2 million euros, why smart watches are doomed by their very nature to fail, and why gentlemen are still so in thrall to measuring time.

Our thanks, once again, to Mark's Club for playing hosts.

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