May 14, 2020
Our guest on today's episode is Jo Malone CBE — the nation’s favourite perfumer. She founded Jo Malone London, her first fragrance brand, when she was just 21 from a tiny flat in London, before selling it just a few years later to Estée Lauder for undisclosed millions. She now runs Jo Loves, a more experimental and personal perfume brand that takes its inspiration from her own life and memories.
Today, Jo tells us about synesthesia, the incredibly rare neurological condition that gives her a “super powered nose”; how she had to learn to sell as a seven year old to put food on her family’s table; and why setting up her second business was in fact so much harder than the first.
(We recorded this episode via Zoom, and we were at the mercy of my provincial internet connection, so I hope you don’t mind if I sometimes sound a little muffled. I think Jo’s stories and wit more than make up for it.)
March 20, 2020
Our guest on today’s episode is Simon Woodroffe, the founder of YO! Sushi. Simon had never opened a restaurant before when he launched YO! Sushi in Soho in 1997 — and at first, it seemed like the robot waiters, smoke-extracting ashtrays and raw fish served off conveyor belts might be too much for Londoners to get their heads around.
But they soon fell in love with it, of course — and it was Simon’s gung-ho spirit and experimental ideas, in fact, that made the brand such a colossal hit. We recorded this episode on Simon’s beautiful house boat on Cheyne Walk on the Thames — and the conversation bobbed along nicely from Simon’s early days as a set designer for rock and roll acts, to the reasons why he decide to leave Dragons Den, and even his dream to bring private islands to the masses. Enjoy!
March 6, 2020
Our guest on today’s episode is Bill Browder, the American financier, author and activist — and Vladimir Putin’s public enemy number one.
This is one of the most eye opening and poignant episodes we’ve ever recorded. Bill is, like all of our guests, an incredible entrepreneur and business person — in fact, he set up and ran perhaps the most successful hedge fund of all time. But it’s what Bill did after this initial success that really places him in a category of one — and, as you’ll hear, his incredible story takes in crooked plutocrats, exorbitant wealth, international intrigue, torture, imprisonment, tragedy and, in the end, a bold and ingenious bid for justice.
Our thanks to Mark's Club for playing host
February 21, 2020
Our guest today is Tej Lalvani, the formidable CEO of Vitabiotics. Vitabiotics is a brilliant British success story — it was set up by Tej’s father in 1971, and has since grown to be the biggest vitamin company in the United Kingdom. You’ll probably know it because it keeps David Gandy looking so handsome on all those billboards and tube adverts across the capital — but Vitabiotics and their marquee products have millions of daily advocates who aren't underwear models, too.
Tej is also a Dragon on Dragon’s Den, which is a first for us and is incredibly exciting — not least because he reveals some of the most intimate secrets of the Den during our conversation. We also talk about his first job at McDonalds and his love of Fillet'o'Fish; the success of Vitabiotics' innovative new gummy products; and Tej's secret life as a house music producer — if you don’t believe me, just search Tej Lalvani on Spotify and thank me later. Enjoy the episode.
February 7, 2020
Our guest on today’s episode is John Caudwell, the founder of Phones 4u and super philanthropist. John is an incredible entrepreneur, and he was at the cutting edge of telecoms throughout its earliest, wildest days. Some of his war stories from the first years of Phones 4u are incredible — like the time Motorola tried to destroy his entire business with a single dastardly deal. But John survived, of course, and built Phones 4u into a high street staple, before selling it in 2006 for just under $1.5 billion. Today, most of his efforts are spent on Philanthropy, and this, as you’ll hear, gives him more satisfaction than anything else. Enjoy.
January 24, 2020
Emma Sayle is the founder of Killing Kittens, and one of the world’s leading “sex-entrepreneurs”. You might know Killing Kittens as the brand behind a world of high-end sex parties that put female empowerment at their core — perhaps you've even been to one of their events.
The company turns 15-years-old this year, has more than 80,000 active members, and turns over many multiples of millions, as you’ll find out — so it’s heartening to learn it was born out of a three day party with no sleep on the island of Ibiza.
In a brilliant episode of the podcast, we spoke about the importance of having a thick skin; the reactions of Emma’s friends and family when they first learned of the idea; and the incredible cross-section of powerful people who attend these remarkable events. Enjoy.
January 3, 2020
Professor Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE might best be described as a serial entrepreneur — though that doesn’t really cut it. Stefan has been a policeman, an advertising agency founder, a film producer, a stock broker, the director of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s charities, an arch philanthropist, and an advisor and investor to countless successful start ups. He's also the first Professor of the Practice of Entrepreneurship at King's College London.
In a lively recording, we spoke about Stefan's Harlem Globetrotter-like approach to rugby union; the reason he used to keep a tank of piranhas by his desk; and the giant blag he pulled off at the age of 19 that kick started his business career.
December 20, 2019
Our guest on today's show is Will Butler-Adams, the CEO of Brompton Bicycle. We recorded this one at Brompton’s factory in West London, and it's a fascinating episode that tells the story of one of Britain's most singular brands and the man behind its quiet revolution. In it, we spoke about Will’s two trips to the amazon (one of which very nearly killed him); his visions for a truly bike friendly London; and why it's what we do in the five-to-nine really defines us. Enjoy.
December 13, 2019
On today’s episode we sit down with two men from the top of the property game: Liam Bailey, the Global Head of Research at Knight Frank and Tim Hyatt, the Head of London Residential at Knight Frank. The property market can sometimes seem like an opaque and mysterious business. But in this episode, Tim and Liam lift the lid on its inner workings, revealing how they got into the game, the challenges that will face London in the year’s ahead, and where to put your cash in 2020.
Our thanks to Mark's Club for playing host.
November 26, 2019
Our guest on today’s episode is Luca Faloni, the founder of the Italian menswear brand that bears his name. Luca’s business is a classic style start-up success story — one excellent hero product, a little artisan craftsmanship, a successful online store, a loyal and discerning following… and then the slow steady climb to start competing with the big boys. Today, the brand has four major stores across the world (with seven more on the way next year) and has an adoring following wherever it appears — their linen shirts, in particular, come highly prized.
In this episode, Luca tells us why 28 is the ideal age to start a business; why the restaurant owner next door can teach you just as much about business as Elon Musk; and why there’s no such thing as being over prepared.