Sadly, when William Asprey, the seventh line of the family, came to start up a new venture, which specialises in jewellery as well as guns and rifles, in 1999 he was unable to take his name with him, settling instead for William & Son. “My son’s sisters don’t like it much,” he jokes.
“Ultimately I’d love to recreate the family business, but I wouldn’t compel my children to take it on. There has to be a reason they want to. My current plans are simply to grow the business.”
Asprey hopes to open new stores across the world in the coming years. “It’s a difficult thing to do,” he confesses.
Despite its global ambitions, William & Son will always be an iconic British brand. “Lots of people in England rather pooh-pooh British craftsmanship. They fail to realise that it is actually very highly regarded internationally.” Indeed, a lot of William & Son’s business is generated from the international community.
THE NEW FAMILY BUSINESS
Asprey really understands this trade. He has literally grown up with the business. “I used to be a porter and packer in the Asprey shop in the school holidays.” Now his children do the same, but at William & Son. “My daughters have lots of fun putting out the jewellery in the morning in the shop.”
CV | WILLIAM ASPREY
Company name: William & Son
Company turnover: £31,851,033, ending March 2010
Number of staff: 26
Job title: Chairman
Lives: South West London
Background: The army for four years
Drinking: French wine
Reading: John Fowles novels
Idols: “I admire my wife Lucy and my three children.”
Awards: Royal warrant for goldsmiths and silversmiths given to William & Son by the Queen in 2009
Motto: “Do as you would be done by.”
First ambition: “To be independently successful.”