Phil, 47, is Design Director at Junior Design Award winning pram, accessory and nursery brand, Silver Cross. Phil lives in Skipton with his wife, Susan, and children, Harry, 14, and Edie, 12.
How has your morning routine changed as your family has grown?
As my kids have got older they are more independent in the morning, so I can do my own thing and be less involved in keeping them happy and entertained. I am usually in the office by 8am.
How has the Silver Cross working environment changed over the ten years you have been working there?
Around four years ago, Silver Cross moved to a detached barn that was specifically converted for us. We were totally involved in the renovation of this barn and were able to specify interior design and finishes and furniture layout. I’m a big believer that the better and more inspiring the work environment, the better the resulting product designs.
Do you have such a thing as a typical day?
Each day will start the same: TV conference meetings with our offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai and with other distributors around the world. After that it can be very varied and not really typical. We always have so much on that the days go very quickly, which is brilliant. Working with the design and development team is great fun and creating new products is really exciting.
How did you work with Aston Martin to create the limited edition Silver Cross?
We worked closely with Miles Nurnberger, Head of Design, and his team at Aston Martin and had several meetings at Aston Martin’s Head Office and Design Studio in Gaydon, Warwickshire. We had the official Aston Martin tour which was invaluable in truly understanding the essence of the brand – such a great fit with the Silver Cross brand. We were lucky enough to see the Aston Martin One 77 super car up close, and the wheel design from this amazing £1.2 Million car was adapted for the alloy wheels that we use on the limited edition pram. We also spent time in the materials library where the fabrics, leathers, plastics and metal materials used on the cars were made available for us to use on the development of the Surf Aston Martin Edition.
Why did you decide to design a dolls pram?
The Dolls Pram is a smaller child size exact replica of our iconic Balmoral Baby Carriage. We wanted little girls to enjoy the experience of pushing their dolls in the most magnificent carriage in the world!
Why do you think it is important to retain the Silver Cross heritage?
We have something that is totally unique throughout the world. Founded in 1877, Silver Cross is the most established and, we feel, the most loved and respected name in the nursery business. This reputation and history is priceless to us and we will work tirelessly to preserve our heritage. We still manufacture the Heritage range of prams and dolls prams in the UK, and we are very proud of that fact.
What was the first thing you wanted to be ‘when you grew up’?
An Artist. But then I realised that there was probably not much money in it; unless you’re Damien Hirst!
What is the best thing about your job?
Seeing a product we have designed looking great and being pushed along the street with a happy baby and a proud parent.
Are there any downsides to your job?
The main thing is that because we are a global brand I travel a lot which means I’m away from my family quite often but it’s not too bad. We make up for it when I’m home, though, and they love hearing stories from my travels.
How do you come up with creative, original ideas?
In the Design Team we all make sure that get out to inspirational cities and exhibitions like Paris and New York and, of course, things like London Design Festival. We have created a work environment that encourages creativity and we encourage our designers to challenge convention. We also like to experiment with new ideas and inventions. Some of the things we work on don’t make it to market but they are crucial to us in our approach to foster innovation.
What achievement, at work, are you most proud of?
The Junior Design Award 2011 winning Silver Cross Surf is my favourite product and the achievement I’m most proud of. We set out to represent all the values of suspension and ride quality that we have in our Balmoral but in a contemporary design that is convenient for a modern lifestyle. I think that we have achieved that.
What do you do outside of work, with your family?
Because of where we live in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, I love to get out on the mountain bike with the family. We have brilliant mountain biking country on our doorstep. Gisburn Forest and Sharphaw are our favourite rides.
Are you as meticulous at home as you have to be at work?
No not really. I try to keep things reasonably tidy at home but with one teenager and another one not far off it is totally impossible to be too meticulous!
What is coming up, work-wise, for you and your business? Any new ventures?
We have lots of new designs and developments in the pipeline. The latest will be launched in Cologne in September at tradeshow, Kind und Jugend. We have also recently launched Silver Cross China at the Shanghai Baby Show in July.
Do you want your children to follow in your footsteps?
I want my children to find something that they love and really enjoy, something that they’re passionate about and just do it. If that’s design, then great, if not, then that’s also great.
To shop the Silver Cross collections, visit www.silvercrossbaby.com
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