You have such an interesting and inspiring career; a respected designer of both events and homes and a gin distiller. We see a creative entrepreneur before us. Tell us a little about your career philosophy.
My philosophy has always been to listen, understand my client’s needs, then create an incredible event. I then deliver more than they could possibly expect. I also believe one has to be endlessly creative and at the same time be realistic about budgetsYou have described yourself as a “party architect”, and having seen your amazing events, we couldn’t agree more. Tell us what this means to you when compared to the common understanding of a party planner?
I think the difference is that often the skills of a party planner are bought in. At Johnny Roxburgh Designs, myself and my inhouse team create the design concept. We are also there at the event to ensure that everything is delivered perfectly. You have worked in some of the most exotic and beautiful places in the world including the deserts of Jordan, great palaces of Russia and the colourful back streets of Rio. What are some elements that work in every event, regardless of location?
Good lighting. For dinners I like tables that are long and narrow so that guests can talk easily. Its important that there is good heating/aircon - a party will die if it’s too hot or cold. Great music. Spaces that are tight. The best parties are crammed. Fun guests are key - indeed without them every gizmo in the world won't make for a good party. It's also important to have a sense of the place.What is the most exciting part of your job? The most challenging?
The most exciting part is dreaming up new concepts for new venues in exotic parts of the world - I love the travelling and meeting new people and trying different food - finding wonderful new decoration, fabrics, flowers. The most challenging is that there are never enough hours in the day to do everything I need to achieve. What is your advice for new planners and vendors looking to stand out in what has become a saturated market?
Be different. It’s not enough to be enthusiastic, you also need connections. You need a track record. As spends get ever greater people need to feel reassured before they part with their money. The nightmare is Pinterest where everyone thinks they are a planner and develop ideas that are often outside their budget.What are three things you have on you at all times during an event?
My phone, a walkie talkie and my lucky nail - I found this in Madrid while organising a wedding - it’s too long a story but I never travel without it.Have you ever turned down a client?
Why? Yes, I really didn't feel that we were a good fit - it's a two-way street - clients need to like you but equally you need to feel comfortable working with themWhat is the biggest myth you'd like to bust about luxury planning?
It has to cost a fortune. Creativity can produce style without millions of dollars. Any fool can check into a five-star hotel, the detail is what matters and makes all the difference.Who is someone you really look up to in this industry and why?
Lady Elizabeth Anson. Without her none of us would have a job.You're a headlining speaker at the Bridelux Symposium in October. Why did you sign on to be a part of this event?
Because I like James Lord. I have spoken there before, and it was a huge success. I also like the fact that Bridelux feels real and doesn't have speakers trying to prove how great they are. Their job is to inform not impress. I always meet interesting people there and learn new things.