May’s Member in the spotlight
An interview with Pauline Hudson-Evans, Co-founder and Director of Hudson Walker International Ltd.
Tell us about your company.
Hudson Walker International was established in London in 1993 as an executive search business focusing specifically on premium and luxury goods and services. Since then we have built long-term partnerships with some of the world’s most prestigious brands – from large corporates with a global presence to private equity-backed brands and founder-led businesses – across fashion, footwear, accessories, fi ne jewellery and watches, fragrance, beauty, travel, hospitality, interiors and luxury lifestyle services.
What has been your biggest success?
Trading through the financial crisis of 2009 and 2010. Our business fell off a cliff with clients either reluctant to open new files or pulling assignments halfway through. But having your back against the wall like that really galvanizes you. It’s not only about cutting costs and trying to drive sales, you have to think more creatively. For instance, at a time when everyone else was slashing their marketing spend, we hired a PR firm to reinforce that it was business as usual for Hudson Walker International.
What project are you most excited about right now?
We recently started work on searches in two sectors that are far removed from our core client base: international finance and insurance. These clients approached us, having identified that the luxury industry is brilliant at producing individuals who understand and can think super-creatively about branding: delivering the message, confirming credibility, consumer motivation and loyalty, the emotional connection and so on. They felt that they needed to establish and promote strong brand identities across their businesses so briefed us to find the individuals to help them achieve that. For us it is exciting to be broadening our client base whilst continuing to draw on our knowledge of the luxury world.
How has being a member of The Clubhouse contributed to the success of your business?
We were in a leased office in Dover Street for 20 years but in a changing business landscape we no longer needed a dedicated space with all the associated costs and frustrations. I had attended an event at The Clubhouse and saw the benefits of on-demand office space: flexibility, freedom from having to deal with landlords, cleaners, utilities etc. These benefits, combined with much lower running costs, have improved our cash flow and mean that more of my time can now be spent focusing on our core business.
Where can members find you?
The Clubhouse, St James’s is our base and we are nearly always there on Thursdays. We also use Bank and Mayfair for meetings. Each Clubhouse has a different feel and it’s good to ring the changes.
Quick Fire Round
Favourite place to go in London?
Primrose Hill for breathtaking views and Donmar Theatre for breathtaking productions.
Who inspires you and why?
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a punk who wrote sublime music, decades ahead of his time in its intensity of expression, subtlety and beauty. I often start the day with a blast of the Sinfonia Concertante.
Best bit of advice you’ve been given?
Always make sure you’ve got cash in the bank.
If you were on a desert island, what would you bring?
Assuming there would be no electricity, I would take a manual typewriter, Mavis Beacon’s Touch Typing Course and an unlimited supply of A4 paper.
Which super power would you like to have?
Weather control – no more ‘rain stops play’.
What is the worst business ‘faux-pas’ you’ve committed?
Like many I have, alas, fallen foul of the tyranny of ‘Reply All’ but the worst faux-pas, involving an extremely unfavourable description of a candidate’s appearance is, thankfully, far too
long for this piece. It was many years ago now but still makes me cringe with embarrassment.
For more about Hudson Walker International Ltd. visit their website: hudsonwalker.com
This article was originally featured in The Informer. To read the full magazine, please click here.