Networking. Such a general term for probably the most important aspect of business. While I may be in the office most of my day, my real job starts in the evenings when I attend events or go to my favourite members club, the Arts Club on Dover Street, which is in the heart of Mayfair. Safeer, my business partner, and I always seem to find ourselves networking at least once or twice a week. It usually starts off with a few drinks and by the end of the evening we have connected with people we would not have expected to meet. I will never forget the day when James Henderson, CEO of Bell Pottinger, overheard Safeer and I discussing The Longest Stay in the Arts Club. James popped over and said "I have heard of you, you're like Net A Porter but for home. I love your website and I think I can help you with a few introductions."
A week later Safeer and I were in Buckingham Palace meeting the Duke of York due to James' introduction. Last Friday we visited the Arts Club again to meet Rajiv Parekh and along came Clive Goddard, serial entrepreneur and one of the owners of Derby Football Club. After briefly speaking to Clive, he called his friend, Sir Eric Peacock, another well established entrepreneur, who happens to have access to amazing upcycled furniture. I am meeting Eric in a few weeks.
I had to leave the club but left Safeer to continue his evening with Clive and the others. Safeer got an invite to Derby's match against Hull earlier this week and, as a result of networking, sat in the VIP box with Clive and Rajiv. The highlight of Safeer's night was winning his bet. No one thought Derby would win, and he bet 50 to 1. Derby won 4-0. Safeer won £1020. Safeer shares the same philosophy I do and we all do at The Longest Stay, give back. So he split his proceeds with Rajiv, "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you" he said to Rajiv, and bought the rest of the VIP box 3 bottles of champagne. Safeer returned back to London in a black Mercedes compliments of Clive. We find that we attract the right people around us if we have a positive energy and somehow the universe seems to look after us. I will be connecting with Clive again to explore more business opportunities. Safeer will be attending the next game of course.
My friend Sarah Singh, filmmaker and also the Princess of Patalia invited me to dinner at the High Sheriff Lady Ghazala's house this week. I had no idea what to expect and neither did she. I literally had 20 seconds to change from my Hogan trainers to heels as I ran out the door. That was the day I had a gas leak, no hot water, my front door lock was broken, my toilet didn't flush and my dog Donut decided it was time to not use the garden for her business.
I ended up meeting her and her husband Lord Hameed who were both delightful and about another 40 very accomplished people. Dr. Kartar Lalvani was my favourite, Chairman and founder of Vitabiotics. He told me about his amazing wrinkle cream that will be on the market in July. He happened to have a box and whether it was a compliment or an insult he gave me one and told me how this is going to change everything for me. I will be wrinkle free. When I asked him what happens when I run out, he said you can have another. He went and got me another box. What a generous kind soul or else he thought I really needed it:-). I will be supporting Lady Ghazala's charity Concern for Mental Health as well and support her walk on July 11th this year. A gain of a few kilos happened this week as a result of her dinner.
The importance of evening networking after office hours is one way I am building The Longest Stay. This is of course equally as important as what my team does during the day. Each day I know there is a great surprise and the best part of this adventure who will I meet next. Next week I will be in Milan at Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Italy's primary furniture show, and will be posting lots about it. Enjoy your weekend.