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Video transcript

- I was born in Germany. I grew up in Hong Kong. I went to school in Scotland. So I had a global outlook. And I also had parents who were unbelievably enthusiastic about everybody having a value. And I know for a fact that my passionate belief in everybody has something to offer, everybody can grow can be infectious. My dad went bankrupt, so I had to get a job when I was 18. Two weeks after finishing, if you like, my formal education, I had to start paying my parents rent. And my job was selling premiums and giveaways. I'm shamelessly proud of selling everything from umbrellas and key chains to stuff you put in a cereal packet, McDonald's promotion items, I'll sell anything. It was a small business, and we grew it pretty quickly. I guess from that was my foundation of building my first company, which was Pacific Direct. I started that when I was 23 in UK. The guys that had owned the premium company, had just bought into a manufacturer of sewing kits and shower caps, so it's not a terribly glamorous or glorious start. But I needed a job. I needed to make money. So I started and my grandmother was my strategic advisor, genuinely, and she said, darling if you're gonna sell this stuff go to the Dorchester. One of London's loveliest properties. The business graduated from shower caps and sewing kits into toiletries and branded, licensed goods for leading luxury brands and we sold them in 110 countries, which was pretty cool. So I traveled to 92 different countries in the development of my business. They are brand luxury goods at the five star end of the market. And, on a global platform, if you're working with some of the major hotel groups like Intercontinental or Sofitel, you'll be delivering to 57 countries, just to meet their needs. Simplistically, I would buy a product at 14 pence, sell it at 21 to the Dorchester, it's a pre-threaded sewing kit. As we grew the business, you're starting to deal in much bigger volume, must bigger contracted goods. And again, you might be buying at 6p and delivering at 9p, but you're selling 2 million units. I started Pacific Direct with a 99% shareholding. My mother was the other shareholder. And I sold Pacific in 2008, and I'm still retaining 99% when I sold it. So the business went from startup nil to 23 and a half million sterling turnover. That was also about me progressively growing up and learning to communicate, and this is really valuable, about finance, and about understanding mechanisms of money, and interest, and where I could continue to grow the business by really milking every penny out of the way finance works. I like to learn about stuff I don't know about. I'm currently invested in a platform called sodash.com, which is a social media platform. I know nothing about social media, but I see it as sales channel. So I just have to see whether I can make some money out of that. If you have that ambition to learn and grow, it's about asking the dumb questions and not being afraid to ask. And I certainly ask, still, masses of dumb questions, and I know a bit more, but not much. And so the answer is, is I learned by asking. I think if you go in with a very open mind about learning and a humility about wanting to learn, actually the world is a very generous place. People are unbelievably generous with their time. I can't really think of someone I know who grew a business to just make money. I think it's about wanting to be the best, the most admired, or the most outstanding in your field. But you know, it's a combination of lots of things, being in the right place at the time, working really hard.