THE Asprey name is undoubtedly familiar to you. The British luxury brand has been around since the time of Queen Victoria. For 200 years the family sold luxury goods to the world’s well-heeled before being bought out by a devoted customer.
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.”