"I've always loved animals. There's something nice about coming home to a waggy tail after a tough day! My work has taken me around the world; Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. I have given up counting how many house-moves that my wife and I have made, however, our cats and dogs have always come with us. It started 20-odd years ago, in Holland, with a Bernese Mountain Dog. Then, of course, we needed another to keep that one company... and so it went on.
"Now we are back in the UK, dogs, cats and all, for something new, with La Perla Beauty. It's different because our team is predominantly women. I find this feminine culture and energy inspiring. With a natural affinity for the mother brand and love for perfection, they represent the most dedicated, innovative and hard working team I have ever worked with. They bring a culture of “can do” and “mutual respect”. “Respect” is key as it fosters a collaborative approach.
"I love that at La Perla Beauty, we all share a common vision: to create something of incredible quality, that reflects the values of modern women. To me, luxury is more than just a beautiful product, and how it looks and feels. It's also about having the freedom to be true to your values and use the best, most sustainable materials. That luxury comes from time – time to create something beautifully unique. Take our perfumes: the luxury is in the time it has taken for our perfumers to perfect the fragrance and our packaging designers to perfect the unique and beautiful flacons. I'm incredibly proud of what we've achieved together."
Why is sustainability important to La Perla Beauty?
It all comes back to our value of respect – respect for the planet. We recognise that sustainability and cruelty-free, clean beauty is key to the modern woman's concerns. This guides us, meaning we minimise our environmental impact, whether that's our carbon footprint or making things recyclable wherever we can. We are realistic, though: we’re not going to be perfect. But that doesn't mean we can't work towards perfection.
What does craftsmanship mean to you?
I instantly think of La Perla's lingerie. I travelled to La Perla’s Bologna studio and the attention to detail was inspiring. For someone like me, who’s completely impractical, to see somebody cutting this very fine, expensive material, pinning, sewing and creating a unique beautiful garment… I can’t even darn a sock! It's extraordinary.
What is luxury?
I think of the work of Ada Masotti, our founder. Two things stood out for me: the quality, and the presentation. That’s what I love about all the beauty products we make. We’ve taken the time to make every aspect beautiful, including the packaging. The same attention to detail is there.
If you could invite a historical figure to lunch, who would it be?
Nelson Mandela. I learned more about him when I visited Robben Island in South Africa. That he came out of that experience without hatred is a wonderful human value, to me.
Where would you go with him?
I’d treat him to a steak and kidney pie at Rules, the oldest restaurant in London. It's relaxed, one of those old pubs where the beer is still severed in pewter tankards.
What's your favourite genre of music?
It varies. Sometimes it's classical, or singing along (a loose definition of the art) to Motown in the car. My father would listen to country music every Saturday morning – I like its storytelling, and Johnny Cash can be particularly funny. I love live music, so I will have to treat the team when we can – but not karaoke!