Inkerman reaching it’s 25th anniversary has made us feel very proud and nicely established. To put 25 years into context some of the events you may remember from 1996 are the first ever Red Nose Day, Kylie & Jason’s wedding in Neighbours, Dolly the Sheep, Edwina Currie’s ‘Salmonella-in-eggs’ controversy, John Major as PM and it was the girls who dominated the charts with Belinda Carlisle and Kylie!
Re-reading our 1995 business plan is astounding; a document that we confidently raised money against to start the business with private investors. No mention of website design, social media, internet connection or SEO, no laser printers or glass etching machines, no financial crashes, no sustainability and recycling, no global pandemics. Who knew that when starting a corporate gift company we would organically morph into a highly regarded trophy maker and luxury gift business with connections with fabulous charities and established private members clubs.
We know so much more now than we did then - how important quality is, what makes a perfect present, how personalising and wrapping a present with a hand written gift card adds that little bit more luxury, about engraving silver, embossing leather, how pewter is spun, how glass is etched and coloured glass made, what a British Hallmark on silver means and how a corporate logo or family crest will look on a product. We have learnt so much from our craftsmen and suppliers and they are as important to us as our corporate and private customers. Our ethos still remains very much as it did at the beginning focussing on quality products delivered with excellent customer service, whether it’s for personalised birthday presents or prestigious trophies for famous events.
Some highlights over the years have been organising over 2000 pieces for the Dubai 2003 International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual Meeting which meant numerous visits to Dubai, hearing that Her Majesty The Queen loved one of our Inkerman bowls she had won as a trophy, working with an important LA Film Producer to design personalised Champagne Coolers to celebrate the end of filming of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, meeting Ed Chamberlain in the paddock at Cheltenham last year and working with the team at Aintree for the Grand National for over 12 years. One of the most memorable days, and in hindsight shocking, was arriving to give a gift presentation to the Events Team at Lehman Brothers in Canary Wharf in September 2008 to find people walking out and leaving the building with all their belongings, signifying the beginning of the Financial Crash of 2008. Nearly as stressful as surviving the crash of 2008 was moving our office from Notting Hill Gate in London to The Abergavenny Estate in East Sussex in 2014; just one long month of aggro but sorted by some wonderful staff and IT Consultants.
I dare say if we weren’t in the middle of a global pandemic we would be celebrating our 25 years with a party but we will have to wait until we are allowed. We are however celebrating with a full order book and lots of exciting opportunities ahead of us.