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Engaging the right minds: Inside the Business of Design Summit 2018

Engaging the right minds: Inside the Business of Design Summit 2018

The Business of Design network was set up to bring together likeminded people from the design industry and beyond – and its inaugural summit did just that.

The first Business of Design Summit saw leading figures from the worlds of design, luxury, property and beyond, come together for a day of discussion and debate on the current state of the design industry.

Held at The Gladstone Library in the heart of London last month, the summit offered a fascinating insight into the world of luxury and design, and provided a unique opportunity for guests to share their knowledge and form important connections.

The Business of Design was founded by Karen Howes, chief executive of the Taylor Howes design studio, as a networking space for those working with high-net-worth clients. She said: “We all have crazy diaries and never have time to really connect. We realised we needed to get everyone together in one room. The summit is a day of coming together to learn to network”.

The one-day event consisted of a number of talks and panel discussions offering a deep dive into the design industry, addressing topics such as the power of millennial consumers, the resurgence of handcraftsmanship and growing trends. Masterclasses also ran throughout the day with experts offering top tips on growing your business, how to master the art of networking, and how to pitch to the most discerning of clients.

Kicking off the summit, Winston Chesterfield from Wealth X spoke about marketing to the ultra-high-net-worth, and provided an overview of where the world’s wealth is coming from. This was followed by Liaigre’s Christophe Caillaud who offered his insight on how even the best-known brands need to keep innovating and evolving. He argued a successful brand should fulfil three key conditions: "it should be recognisable, visible, and consistent."

A panel moderated by Boat International editor Stewart Campbell entitled "My Space" discussed current and future trends and the increasing importance of a more human experience in design. Featuring speakers from Ocean Independence, Knight Frank, The Dorchester Collection, and Mossessian Architecture, the panel identified three bourgeoning trends that have taken off across the property, hospitality and superyacht sectors. The first was sustainability and the move towards eco-friendly design, the second was the increasing demand for security, and the third was wellness, with more and more space being dedicated to home gyms and superyacht spas.

The afternoon continued with a panel discussion entitled "Talking about my generation'" which looked at high-net-worth next-gen consumers and their ability to shape the face of luxury design. Bremont Watches, Lodha, Rokstone Entertainment & Rokstone Property, and Princess Yachts featured on the panel.

They agreed it was becoming increasingly important for luxury brands to tap into emerging markets, whether that meant changing their advertising approach and exploring digital marketing avenues such as social media, or adapting the product itself.

Guests were then treated to a masterclass on the dos and don'ts of networking from actor and communication coach Robin Kermode, before putting their newly learnt skills to the test during afternoon tea.

The day ended with the summit reception where guests could make their last connections and exchange business cards over a glass of Champagne.

Founder Karen Howes said this was just the start of the Business of Design. “Next year we’re going to be launching our global networking platform The Business of Design club, and we're already in discussions to take the summit to Shanghai and Dubai. This is just the beginning of something really exciting.”

For information on how to get involved with The Business of Design network, visit businessofdesign.co.uk

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