Business Q&A: Graeme Ellisdon
PUBLISHED: 19:51 07 May 2014
The Herts entrepreneur behind lifestyle brand OSPREY, discusses his success in the month the company opens a flagship London store
How did you get started in business?
Back in 1980, I began making leather belts by hand in a barn in Kimpton. I had £500, a pocket full of dreams and a conviction that people will always love and appreciate well-designed, well-crafted things. While the product range now includes bags, silks, gifts, art, furniture, home wares and food, that original belief still holds true today.
What’s your motivation?
My motivation comes from an inherent belief that life is about trying to be as good as you can be. It’s about working hard and respecting the people around you. It’s about looking for new opportunities and trusting your instincts. If you can do something you love, that’s motivation in itself.
What are the biggest challenges?
Opening a huge flagship store on one of London’s busiest shopping streets (St James’s) would be a challenge for anyone and it’s a world away from the idyllic rural setting of OSPREY St Albans. We’re a home-grown, independent, family-owned British brand standing alongside huge multinational conglomerates with enormous budgets, but actually, we’re planning to offer something quite different that’s personal and from the heart. We hope readers of Hertfordshire Life will make the trip to town to explore it for themselves.
What are the most valuable business lessons you have learned?
The most valuable lessons in business – as in life – are probably those you learn the hard way, and no doubt there are plenty still ahead! But for now: assume nothing, avoid repetition, treat those around you as you wish to be treated yourself and work only with people you like.