This exclusive interview with James Henry Sykes-Hagen of Black Palace Group by Nicola Linza of Manner of Man and Cristoffer Neljesjö of Welldressed was conducted in London April 2010.
1. How would you describe the style of your business?
I would describe my style as innovative, fun, and dynamic. The most important thing to me is inspiring those involved within the company to achieve the sometimes impossible. Our clients first port of call is our ambassadors and representatives. If they do not love the brand or what they do how can they communicate this passion to our members and clients. The most important things is to have fun.
2. What is the most significant factor to you in selecting a restaurant?
Firstly it is all about the company. Another very important fact to me is the quality of food and ambiance. I am a trained head chef so it is all about finding new flavours and dishes that I cold not easily replicate. I just like to relax at a restaurant so as long as the company and the ambiance is good and the food and service is okay I am a happy puppy. One thing that I really do not tolerate however is rudeness to staff. If anyone is horrible or rude to a waiter or waitress I usually have a quick word with them.
3. In planning events what is your largest concern?
As an entrepreneur concerns are a big part of my life. Creating everything from nothing is sometimes a very long road and it takes dedication and creativity. I have now learnt to keep concerns confined to my diary. My biggest consideration is always the client and making sure that we maintain the same vibrant and adventuresome atmosphere that we created the club and our companies with.
4. What kind of suit do you wear for big meetings?
Most of my meetings even on board level involve my old pair of jeans and a good shirt & jacket. I think it is very important in business to be yourself and wear what makes you comfortable. However when called for I reach for my 2 button Mohair grey suit tailored by Barons of Picadilly. I am also a big fan or Norton & Sons Savile Row, Yves Saint Laurent, and Gieves & Hawkes.
5. What was the motivation behind starting the Black Palace Group?
My motivation was built on more of a dream than a business venture. I wanted to create a vibrant brand that brought people together, had a conscience, and really shook the tree. It has not always been a smooth ride but I wouldn't change my experience for the world. As an entrepreneur you can never regret anything as everything you create is unique and comes from the heart. It has never been or never will be about the money. The dream is still very much alive and we now have Black Palace Capital, The Black Palace International Club, and our charity fund Guardian International sailing under the Black Palace Group brand.
Black Palace Group,
4th Floor 100 New Bond St,
(0044) 0207 504 1235
The above interview with James Henry Sykes-Hagen 2010 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.