Business Brainstorm

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Monday 28th September saw The Fellowship’s Business Brainstorm event held at the Wella World Studios in London. Edward Hemmings welcomed everyone to this new business event concept, which he described as, “a series of business events with a different approach that promises to be very exciting”, before introducing Chairman Hellen Ward to the stage for her interview with designer Cath Kidston MBE.

Cath Kidston began by talking about why in 1999 the lack of effective internet had led her to use her own name as a way of her existing clients being able to find her. Hellen prompted her to discuss how she came about opening her first shop in Notting Hill, which she owed to seeing a gap in the market - suggesting that at that time she saw the opportunity to offer what she described as, “cheerful, practical things for the home”.

After a fascinating interview, Edward Hemmings welcomed the second guest interviewee, Des Gunwardena, CEO of D and D London. After a video demonstrating the success of his restaurant chain, Edward was able to question Des Gunwardena on how his background led him to where he is now. Des talked about how he had moved from Sri Lanka to London at an early age, with him providing personal anecdotes throughout. Speaking fondly of those he had initially worked with and those he still works alongside, Des related to his development within both property and design to where he is now. From an early age he wanted to be involved in business, and in the tough recession of the 80s he turned his attention to restaurants and fine dining.

Both interviews were incredibly well received with both providing expertise and knowledge in an open and entertaining interview format. After a short coffee break Edward Hemmings returned to the stage to welcome a panel of industry experts - Clive Collins from HOB Salons; Patricia Buller from Ciente and Sean Hanna from Sean Hanna Hairdressing - for a question and answer session with the audience.

The session discussed various topics with the entire panel providing open and honest responses to individual questions. Topics included the change to the minimum wage; creating your own salon product range and establishing and maintaining a strong working team. It was an incredibly interactive session and the information available was phenomenal and the expertise was very apparent throughout. Speaking on the event, Edward Hemmings said,

What a truly brilliant event! It was incredible to meet and get to know Cath Kidston MBE and Des Gunewardena in such a fantastic interview format. Listening to the real stories of adversity and triumph was inspiring. Adding to the whole event was the question session to our panel, which was really interactive and such a great opportunity for the audience.

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