Interview: A flat white and a biscotti with William Asprey from William & Son

We’re delighted to see the stunning collection of handbags, jewellery and watches by William & Son at ACHICA this week. Founder William Asprey, who’s a seventh generation member of the Asprey family, set up his luxury goods store in Mayfair’s Mount Street in 1999. Featuring the ‘special and the surprising, the eclectic and sometimes the extravagant’, the William & Son range is created by British craftspeople wherever possible. ACHICA Living got chatting to William over a coffee or two to find out more about his beautiful brand…

What was it like growing up in a well-known family and how did your father’s business influence your career path, if at all? Having a renowned name can be difficult because people make assumptions about you without actually knowing you. With regard to my father’s influence, I was more influenced by the knowledge of my family history and heritage than by just my father. I also believe that retail is in the blood and I have always enjoyed it. I did however spend four years in the British Army before working with my father as I didn’t want to go into the business without having achieved something else.

How do you go about choosing and designing your ranges of handbags, watches and jewellery? The products that we have are designed by selected designers or by our in house team of designers. With the department heads leading the process we discuss the options and give our opinions. I do however have the final say and a right to veto, but the process is very democratic!

What product in your collection is the most popular? We have huge success with our leather goods, but we are also becoming better known for our collection of watch brands, that are unique to us in the UK, and so therefore cannot be found elsewhere.

[Below: William & Son handbag]

What has been the most exciting project you’ve worked on? Every project that we carry out is exciting as I really enjoy giving the client what they want and seeing the pleasure they get from receiving items that they have developed with us.

Who or what inspires you daily? I am inspired by tales of other people’s successes, in all fields, and this pushes me to try and be as successful as they are. I am also inspired by nature and beautiful things that I encounter every day and try and find ways of incorporating them into our products.

What designers do you admire? Designers in my world are not your usual fashion designers! The designers I admire, and in my world, are people like Fred Rich, who makes the most beautiful enameled objet, F P Journe for his creativity in his watch making, Anna Torfs for her beautiful glassware, and David Linley for his wonderful furniture.  And there are many more I could add as well!

[Below: Fred Rich vase]

What three products do you covet? These can be anything. A Bentley car, as my Grandfather had one that I still remember and I think they are beautiful!  A racehorse to be as successful as Frankel, and anyone who knows horses will understand why!  An F P Journe “Repetition Souveraine”, which is an ultra light minute repeater.  This amazing mechanism is fitted into a 40mm case, which is an amazing achievement.

[Below: Anna Torf's vase and FP Journe watch]

What’s your top style tip? It is always best to over dress than under dress.

Describe your home’s style? Comfortable and functional with an eclectic mix of old and new!

How do you spend your weekends? Hopefully quietly and with my family, but invariably busy seeing friends or entertaining at home, which gives my wife and I great pleasure.

Check out the William & Son promotion at ACHICA, which is on now, here

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor