Highly regarded as the most innovative and inspirational Interior Design studio in London; here at Accouter we pride ourselves on creating ultra luxurious interiors for the most discerning clients in the world’s most exclusive residences.
Our Mayfair studio is home to a dedicated and aspiring team of creatives driven in encapsulating the world of interiors and deluxe design.
With skillful, innovative and unexpected thinking, the team deliver first class, ultra luxurious interiors with passion and vision developing all aspects of the interior’s architecture and furnishing specification.
Responding to your individual needs and believing in transparent design we consider the functionality and practicalities of your life to seamlessly deliver you a truly elegant and supreme scheme.
Working with some of the world’s leading Art Galleries we are often ask to source that special piece of Art or Sculpture.
Be it a Banksy, Rembrant or Dylan we can give you access to some of the best pieces and advice for making that major investment.
Accouter presents to you A. London; a specialist property marketing division devoted to delivering supreme interiors with maximum desirability.
With a collective 20 years in the property and design industries, our commercially minded team work alongside London and Surrey’s most influential residential Property Developers, Agents and Landlords creating fast, economical interiors for rental or sale.
We created Accouter as something to be proud of; the best of British creativity and talent, sourcing the finest design the world has to offer.
You may think that’s a bold statement to live up to but understanding that every detail matters from the brief we take, through to the supply chain & product we select, the teams we employ and, of course, how we communicate with our clients means that we are half way there.
Accouter Group, the group of companies that provide real estate services to the prime and super prime real estate market as well as the Private Rented Sector, has reported strong first year results.
Launched last year in a joint venture with James Caan’s venture capital firm Hamilton Bradshaw Real Estate (HBRE), Accouter group is formed of four companies including:
• A. London – a home dressing service aimed at increasing the desirability of prime and super prime residential real estate to end users on a rental or purchase basis;
• Accouter Design – an ultra-luxury interior design house;
• The London Management Company – a high-end property management headed by Rupert Collingwood company that provides residence and related lifestyle services;
• And Boxnine7 – a furnishing solutions business aimed at institutional and overseas investors in the Private Rented Sector.
• Accouter Design achieved a pipeline of just over £10 million worth of projects as demand for super prime property in London continues to grow.
• A.London by Accouter now averages two projects a week as more developers and agents choose to launch properties that are dressed. Contract wins for the year included Grainger PLC, Berkeley Group, Linden Homes, BNP Paribas and Qatari Diar. The company also joined forces with Knight Frank to launch Knight Frank Interiors – a home dressing service for homes sold or let through Knight Frank in London.
• Benefiting from institutional growth in London’s private rented sector, Boxnine7 won contracts from amongst others Scottish Widows, Berkeley Group, Grainger PLC, A2 Dominion, Prime Portfolio, and Boutique London Lets to furnish investment properties across the capital and are advising on some major schemes in the pipeline. The business also grew its private client base benefiting from the surge in overseas investors in London, mainly from Asia with around 34 per cent of enquiries coming from this market.
• Over the course of the year, The London Management Company increased its portfolio under management to over £100 million worth of property as demand for private residence management continued to grow.
Backed by HBRE, Accouter Group was formed in August last year when the newly launched Accouter Design team comprising Alec Watt, Stella Savage and Marc Horn joined forces with Rupert Collingwood, founder of The London Management Company.Set up by Faisal Butt and James Caan to invest in entrepreneurs with property related businesses, HBRE’s ventures include property and construction consultancy L+M, estate agency Ivy Gate, and 90 North Real Estate Partners – an investment advisory firm specialising in Shari’ah compliant real estate investments.Commenting on the results, James Caan, Chairman of HBRE, said: “For a company in its first year of trading the results are exceptional. I remember when Warren Buffet invested in Roomservice by Cort at the start of the buy-to-let boom in the early 2000s and did well and Boxnine7 is well placed to take advantage during an opportunistic period. Overseas investors are choosing London residential as a safe place for their money and institutions are increasing their interest in the private rented sector.“For Accouter Design the likes of Nick and Christian Candy have demonstrated how far it’s possible to take ultra-luxury in super prime real estate.“What Rupert and his team do at The London Management Company was once one of the capitals best kept secrets, but with an impressive and growing membership word is very much getting out there.“We have taken advantage of the market and it is no surprise that through hard work from our team they have performed so well over the last 12 months.”Group CEO Alec Watt said: “Each part of the business has achieved strong growth since launch. We are well ahead of our original plan and are positioned well for our second year of trading having assembled an all-star team across the board.”
June started off on a real high note, with our design team putting the finishing touches to a particularly grand house in a super-prime London location.
Having to work around an enormous Steinway piano was just one of the challenges, although a life-size cutout we prepared earlier avoided moving the real thing around on arrival, and certainly saved a few slipped discs.
Talking of key pieces, the decision to include two Damian Hirsts in one of our schemes seriously paid off for one of the high-profile art galleries we work with this month. The clients decided they looked so good that they bought them both there and then; not too shabby an investment when you consider the stellar performance of high profile modern art in recent years.
Back at HQ in Mayfair, the Boxnine7 team have been pulling out all the stops to furnish a fifty-unit scheme for the private rental sector. Each apartment is subtly different, so military precision has been required to deliver on time. Interestingly, activity in this particular sector of the market definitely seems to be ramping up as the year goes on. We find ourselves dealing with increasing numbers of institutional investors who have entered the market as the appetite and demand for this type of product increases.
It wouldn’t be June without some good old-fashioned client entertaining, and the Directors hosted over forty of our most-treasured at Royal Ascot a couple of weeks ago. With the sun shining and the champagne flowing, this was a invaluable opportunity to build on some great relationships and to say thankyou for all the support we have received since starting our venture.
Everyone stayed together right til the end, when the band started up with some glorious patriotic numbers. As flags waved and the singing began, we could have been at the Last Night of the Proms. True to form, Rupert Collingwood of The London Management Company gave a one of his rabble-rousing speeches, although the Britain’s Got Talent references may have been overdoing it a tad…
Our sporting summer continued with a trip to watch the fabulous final at Queens, where our heroic Andy Murray won a well fought match. The main event was followed by a hilarious charity match between Richard Branson, Tim Henman, Michael McIntyre, Jimmy Carr and Boris Johnson, who displayed a rather impressive serve despite wielding an old fashioned wooden racket.
Someone told he was making the political point that it’s not what you’ve got, but what you do with it that counts. Or maybe he just found it under the stairs…
Behind the scenes at Google HQ, finishing touches in Mayfair and dealing with the best negotiators at MIPIM - Alec Watt on managing the March madness…
“We are going to have to give it a bit of welly to get it off the runway as it’s a bit icy” said the pilot in an attempt at reassurance, as we departed from what seemed like an apocalyptic Britain, with blizzards raging and roads closing, in what is now regarded as the worst March weather for a lifetime.
Fast forward two hours and we are walking off the plane into glorious sunshine at Nice airport, heading with 20,000 other property people for the mighty MIPIM.
We had managed to secure what seemed to be almost too-good-to-be-true accommodation from a “friend of a friend in the film industry”. I did feel a little apprehensive when we weren’t greeted at the airport and had to make our own way to our destination though. Standing outside with our bags and our sunglasses a passing English lady quipped that it was the “French way” as she walked on, shaking her head and chuckling.
“How do you know this guy?” came the inevitable question from the fellow founders of Accouter, Marc and Stella, who were now starting to show signs of grave concern. I decided to call “our man” who assured me he would be with us in two minutes. Twenty minutes later he arrived, charming, well dressed, self assured and very French; he led us to a wonderful pied-a-terre with a party size terrace, sea view and pool – never doubted him!
MIPIM is what you make it; a great chance to catch up with established contacts in very pleasant surroundings and a perfect chance to make new ones. We had arranged a number of meetings and had booked ourselves in to attend a fair few events whilst we were there, as you do. All in all, a very successful trip and MIPIM has already turned out to be very rewarding for us, resulting in a significant commission to assist a major client who is very active in acquiring prime London property.
One of the most impressive examples of business acumen seen at MIPIM was not in the exhibition halls or at the networking events though – it had to be the chaps wandering around La Croisette selling sunglasses when the sun was shining, and umbrellas when it started to rain of course.
Wild stories circled (among the mainly alpha male attendees) of haggling the prices down to half the initial asking price. Our own experience of dealing with these entrepreneurs was slightly different though; on our last day the heavens opened and we needed to get across town with not a taxi in sight. We started our negotiations for the umbrellas and, despite deploying several different tactics to try and “get a deal”, our sales man was in no mood to drop his price. Very much in the stronger position – nice and dry under his umbrella – he knew all too well that the longer we took to reach an agreement, the wetter our suits became.
So a big lesson learnt from Cannes for next year; its always best to negotiate from a position of strength (and if not, pack an umbrella!).
Back to London and it’s straight into a day at Google HQ – who just a few years ago created a truly ground breaking working environment. Having seen the space, you can understand why jobs at Google are so sought after. Having experienced significant growth, however, the search giant is now planning a move across town to an even bigger HQ which will be setting another benchmark in how to get the very best from its most valuable asset – its people.
Meanwhile our very busy Design team are putting the finishing touches to a significant private residence for an international client in Mayfair. The property will be marketed to previously vetted and specially selected buyers who have a taste of the finer things in life. The project is a complete renovation with a sympathetic approach on the history of the building, whilst incorporating state of the art modern living and of course all the luxurious finishing touches that will make this one of the most sought after residences to buy in one of the world’s best locations.
Fresh flowers, scented candles, crisp white shirts and designer bags were out in force as we put the finishing touches to a new super prime property this week.
It’s generally accepted that providing would-be buyers with a complete vision of how they could live in a residence at this level is an absolute must. With plenty of options for renting top-drawer furnishings now available, it makes it a far more attractive proposition for sellers and developers, many of whom are now factoring this into their marketing budget. Lots of the more “switched-on” high end estate and letting agents are also suggesting this to their clients to help attract interest, rather than resorting to a reduction in the asking price.
When we showed this particular property to one of our high profile investors, thankfully there was genuine enthusiasm and excitment at what he saw; at one point he was almost trying to convince us of what a great service we offered. Great feedback for the Design Team team who had worked all weekend to complete the project.
The month’s social whirl started a-pace with invitations to two events on the same night; so as not to miss out on anything, some of us headed off to the opening of a new gallery in Shoreditch and others to an event at a famous private members club in Soho, which very quickly turned into celebrity soup.
Being a school night, we managed to slope off before things got to lively, but on comparing notes the morning after, it appeared that a certain man of the moment had been at both bashes pretty much simultaneously (the celebrity oracle Mail Online confirmed he had been scuttling across town with his entourage all evening).
We were invited by a very well-known Chelsea agent to speak at a property surgery for clients and associates this month. The event offered further confirmation that “like attracts like”; the friendly, informal but professional reputation of this particular agent was replicated by the attendees. What a nice bunch.
A rather interesting game of golf followed with the directors of one of London’s more prolific developers. Rumours of the prestigious golf course “selling out” were confirmed when we were advised that holes 3, 6 and 18 where no longer part of the course, as they had been sold to developers for a reported £40m. We’re not sure we will be going back…
Happily, our next presentation to another major prime London developer fared rather well. Our research told us that the biggest competition they had was probably themselves, and although there had been many new entrants into their particular marketplace, they were still very much seen as the leader.
Our proposal recommended further investment in innovation, to stay ahead of the competition and, most importantly, to remain synonymous with the very values that others can only aspire to achieve.
Faisal Butt is a man on a mission to change the property industry, and, with James Caan by his side, he might just have the vision, backing and financial firepower to do it.
Caan and Butt, who met when Caan gave a talk to Butt’s MBA class at Oxford’s Saïd Business School, launched Hamilton Bradshaw Real Estate with the aim of building a portfolio of 20 “disruptive” start-ups that will challenge the established giants – the Foxtons and Rightmoves – of the UK property industry. From his Mayfair den of equity, Butt has already made a strong start, investing in four new businesses – and their founders – that span the industry.
HBRE’s first investment, 90 North Real Estate Partners, is a property investment advisory firm and fund specialising in Shari’ah-compliant investments. The company, which is run by founding partners Philip Churchill and Nicholas Judd alongside Butt and Caan, has done £90m worth of UK deals in last 18 months, with another £100m in the pipeline and big plans to the breach the £1bn mark within five years. After 90 North came Accouter Design, an interior design business run by PrimeResi columnist Alec Watt, which turned over more than £500,000 in its first three months’ of trading, and The London Management Company, a property management company run by Rupert Collingwood (also a PrimeResi columnist). HBRE’s latest venture, Jason Tebb’s London estate agency Ivy Gate, launches in May with the idea of bringing a US-style realtor approach to selling homes to West and Central London.
PrimeResi caught up with Faisal Butt to find out more about his designs on the UK’s property industry.
You’ve mentioned that you are looking to invest in disruptive property start-ups: what makes a business “disruptive”?
I think I may be the first one to use the words “disruptive” and “property” in the same sentence! “Disruptive” is a term usually used to describe ground-breaking technology companies that go against the grain and create, for example, a new business model, and we rarely hear it in the context of property. In an industry like property that is starved for innovation, a disruptive property start-up, in my view, is one that has innovated on existing models and is offering something improved, new, and future proof. My latest venture, Ivy Gate, which introduces the American personally-branded “realtor” model into London estate agency (a market that I believe is ripe for disruption), is a good recent example of this.
What do you think makes a successful entrepreneur; are there certain traits that you look for in an individual that makes them more invest-able than the next person?
Absolutely. James Caan and I invest together in our ventures based on his time-tested mantra of “investing in people with passion”. My investment strategy is people driven, and I place the “human capital” of the new venture on the top of my priority list. I spend quite a bit of time getting to know the Founders of a venture and understanding some of the “soft” characteristics of the team. In addition to a stellar track record, which is my starting point, I look for soft skills like ambition, resilience, and personal charm. To put simply, ambitious individuals are likely to set their targets higher and will look to scale up faster; resilient individuals are more likely to bounce back as they navigate the often treacherous journey of entrepreneurship, and charming individuals can attract talent and clients, and people gravitate toward them because they have positive energy.
Why the property industry, why London, and why now?
In my view, the property industry has been going through quite a bit of churn, in terms of restructurings, key people moves, and team moves. These difficult times have inspired many talented individuals to get out there and create something new and fresh. From where I’m sitting (I see a lot of business plans!), there has definitely been a spike in the number of start-ups in the property sector in the past year or so – it is a time when people are relooking at existing models and creating new ones – so a great time to be investing. Why London? We all know there has been an unprecedented international “flight of capital” into London, and this has created opportunities for a number of new players in the market. My ventures 90 North, Accouter Design, The London Management Company, and now Ivy Gate, are great examples of new businesses starting up in a recession to capitalize on new market opportunities.
At what stage do you invest in a business?
Since human capital is my main driver, and I am a firm believer that strong individuals and teams will go on to do great things regardless of idea and sector, I invest at the team formation stage – when an all-star team has come together. This could be pre-revenue and pre-pilot. I also invest in already formed early-stage companies looking for the “rocket fuel” to scale up their business.
What was the first business you invested in?
I invested in and actively ran a tech start-up back in 2003, and that’s when I first made the plunge from corporate to entrepreneurship and learned the ropes of start-up life. But I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so evaluating, investing in, and launching new ventures is definitely in my DNA!
Since co-founding HB Real Estate with James Caan, the first business we co-invested in together was 90 North Real Estate Partners, which remains today one of our shining stars and is a great case study for future ventures we aim to invest in.
Are there any specific areas in the property sector that you are looking to invest in?
I am quite open and opportunistic in terms of sector – my people focus, however, is the common thread in all my ventures. I back experienced and ambitious super stars – the future movers and shakers of the property industry. I do gravitate towards sectors that have a “tail wind” behind them, so for example, when James and I backed Accouter Design, we understood that the projected growth of the private rented sector would be a key source of demand for interior design services. Importantly, I need to be convinced on how the venture will scale up over a five-year period.
Are there any property sectors that you would not invest in?
I’ll answer this question indirectly! By not being from the property sector, I’ve been able to take a “helicopter view” of the sector as a whole. My investments to date cover prime London residential, Shar’iah investment management, residential interior design, property management, and estate agency. That is a pretty broad spectrum, and the only way I’ve been able to do that is because I look at the sectors with no preconceived notions. I’ll be as bold as to say because of my sector-agnostic approach, I’ve been able to establish myself as one of the most active property focused VC investors in London over the past year, both in terms of volume and diversity of new ventures launched and in the pipeline.
How involved are you and James Caan in the day-to-day running of 90 North and your other businesses?
When you back experienced Founders who know their space and have that “switched on”, go-getter attitude I look for, you don’t have to be involved in the day-to-day. I want to let my all-star founders get on with creating and building the businesses, while James and I keep our heads above the parapet and focus on strategy and scale.
James acts as Chairman of the company, and he is involved as a mentor, advisor, strategist, business coach, and importantly, as a co-investor in our deals. James’s role in building the profile of 90 North, and in acting as a figurehead has been instrumental in enabling us to achieve the traction we have in such a short time span. His ability to inspire the Founders to “think big” and “outside the box” has allowed us to create a truly scalable platform.
Has the nature of 90 North changed significantly from when you first pitched it to James Caan?
Yes, and all new businesses need to be nimble and fleet-of-foot and should have the flexibility to “pivot” to respond to market forces. When James and I first set up 90 North with Founders Philip Churchill and Nick Judd, the investment focus was predominantly going to be commercial property and student accommodation. I am proud to say we have broadened our investment spectrum and have closed our first residential development deal earlier this year where we are developing 21 luxury flats in the heart of London. This is the first of many development deals for us in prime London, so watch this space!
Is there a particular property business that you wish you had been involved in at the start?
I think there is a lot to be said about the way Foxtons innovated, leveraged technology, created a unique culture, and rapidly gained market share in the early naughties leading up to the eventual exit of its Founder for £375m at the peak of the market.
Rightmove is a great example of a technology-enabled property services business that has achieved exceptional commercial success and scale.
I am now looking for the innovators within the sector who will launch the next “challenger brands” in the market – the founders of the future Foxtons or Rightmove.
Which investment are you most proud of so far, and why?
90 North. My fellow co-founders have been exceptional in their commitment to the overall goal, in keeping their eye on the ball, and achieving enviable traction in a short time span. We have completed £90m of UK real estate transactions in just 18 months, and have an active pipeline of another £100m on the go right now. 90 North is an investment management business with a nimble business model – our partnerships with several Gulf based institutions have allowed us to deploy capital quickly and invest across a far broader spectrum than conventional fund management businesses.
Do you anticipate better returns from property service investments, or from bricks-and-mortar property investments?
The two feed into each other in many ways. Some of our property service companies have the opportunity to service our property investments. My strategy in building the platform is one where inter-group networking and cross-pollination is encouraged. To answer your question more directly, venture capital (i.e. investing into property services ventures) and property are very different asset classes, in terms of risk/return profile. Because of the higher risk associated with VC investments, I would expect higher returns.
What is the five-year plan for 90 North?
Each business James and I back has a focused five year plan. The five year plan for 90 North is to grow our investment portfolio from £90m up to £1bn of assets under management, across multiple property sectors and geographies.
My overall five year plan for the HBRE platform as a whole is to have around 20 businesses that span the property sector, including investment management, property services, development management, technology, consultancy, etc. The common thread across all of these will be innovation, scalability, and most importantly, an all-star founder team.
What is the best way for entrepreneurs to get in touch / pitch to you?
I am quite good with emails. People can get in touch with me email@example.com, look me up on LinkedIn, or follow me on twitter at @FaisalButt_
After a month of high-end hobnobbing in London, it’s time to put those networking skills into action across the Channel, says Alec Watt…
First up – an interior designer on Dragons Den! Who’d of thought it? Our congratulations to Kelly Hoppen, who has has made a magnificent contribution to the industry.
To be honest we haven’t been watching Dragons Den since James Caan left, but we might take a look at the new series and see Kelly in action. I’m sure it will make great television and you have to respect who has built a brand solely on her name and reputation. Some might say it’s a very brave approach to build a business around one person, but Kelly has a great team behind her and, as we know, the most important part of any business is the people within it.
This month, it seems that most of the real estate world will be descending on Cannes. Our team are putting the final touches to our preparations for MIPIM – a key event for us as word of mouth is so vitally important. MIPIM provides a great platform to network with a good number of our clients who are like a mini army of “accouteretts”; making introductions, singing our praises, getting us onto the yachts or into the cocktail parties and generally helping us spread the good word in some very pleasant surroundings – what’s not to like?
We are pleased to note that Boris Johnson will be in attendance again this year, promoting the great city of London. We have sent word that if he wants a wiff waff re-match with us, then he should get some practice in. As Oscar Wilde once said; “To lose at wiff waff once is unfortunate but to lose twice is careless” or something like that…
We have also arranged a private dinner for one of the evenings in a secret location that provides us and our guests the chance to get away from the throng, enjoy some quality time and then, maybe once recharged, finish up with a cocktail or two at the Carlton – or with the celebrities at Baolti for the more adventurous.
Whilst we are sure that many attendees do have a brilliant time (along with a few regrets for the minority), MIPIM is a world class event with world class attendees, playing a crucial part in the world’s real estate industry and economy. As with any such event, however, it is of course what you make it.
One of our key projects this month has involved carrying out some detailed research for a very high profile luxury developer with a number of major schemes in London. With an impressive track record for attracting international buyers to their developments, they also appeal to a good chunk of owner-occupiers from the UK.
The stand out impression to hit us on visiting each location was the meticulous attention to detail – even when construction was still being carried out onsite and far from obvious to visitors. Great care was taken to ensure the approachto the development was looking its best and the greeting from the people in the marketing suites was like being welcomed to your favourite restaurant; polite, friendly, professional and knowledgable.
A real credit to the a top brand and a far cry from a previous experience of having to wait for the marketing consultant to finish her sausage roll before taking the time to acknowledge our presence (but that’s another story).
All in all we were able to provide senior management with some great feedback that any firm would be proud of, affirming the reason why this company has been a major worldwide success story this millennium.
The atmosphere earlier this month at a splendid lunch with a favourite clients of ours at – some might say – Mayfair’s finest private members club, went up a couple of notches when one half of a very famous British couple joined us, fresh back from a very successful few years in the Americas…
House rules say that we can’t reveal more, other than to say that a number of high end estate agencies have been busy trying to find them something in prime London recently with good commuter links to Paris.
They are also reported to have appointed an interior designer to help them make their chosen home their own. We think it’s a splendid idea…
Putting aside the, some may say, unfair image of interior designers being ladies of a certain age passing between the flower arranging course and art class, we are very encouraged by the amount of really talented people in London, many of whom have a great attitude and are excited about being part of the journey.
2013 has started with a real buzz – the calls into the offices and design studio have been coming in thick and fast with more than a new project enquiry every day. This is set against a background of many developers and estate agencies also reporting a strong beginning to the year. We attended the launch of Battersea Power Station earlier in the month and couldn’t believe the board showing each apartment with all the little red dots next to them indicating that virtually all that had been released had been reserved; it really was all very exciting and we were nearly tempted to buy one or two for investment but just about managed to restrain ourselves.
For most businesses, and in particular interior design, word of mouth is the most powerful marketing we have; we enjoy many good relationships with prime real estate people and many we consider as friends. From our experience, the “one hit wonder” guys who run around town looking to make a quick buck and don’t mind how they do it, never last; some hang around longer than others but in the end it’s your reputation that will stand the test of time. So to that end, a big chunk of our marketing spend and effort is around networking, attending events and encouraging recommendations.
When we are recommended by someone, quite often that person will then check out our website. Stella has the enviable task of constantly reviewing and updating our marketing so that it reflects our values and position in the market place, for the website, the images, layout and experience are all key to creating the right impression. When we first launched our website, we loved it and had some great feedback, but already, as we get involved in more high profile projects and clients, we are re-evolving our brand and website to reflect this.
The top event attended this month has to be the small gathering with, amongst others, the charming Boris Johnson, Bruce Ritchie and James Caan at Lance Formans’ wonderful Formans Fish Island Smoke House and Gallery right next to the Olympic Stadium. The evening started with a very civilised discussion about the success of the Government’s Start Up Loans Initiative (which James chairs) – a framework to help the Private Rental Sector meet the demands of Londoners who want to live and work in the city. The need for investment is in infrastructure, and in particular runways (a subject close to Boris’s heart), to help grow the economy and encourage and further the flourishing scene in and around the East of London.
Soon after, the evening took a completely different tack, however, and turned into a hotly contested game of wiff-waff, with the Mayor of London rolling up his sleeves, taking on (and beating) all challengers including Accouter, who, despite considerable effort, were no match for his wicked forehand smash…honest.
The month ended with a pitch for one of prime London’s major landmark schemes. We went in “all guns blazing” with extensive market research identifying the demographic of the likely resident; international, sophisticated and enjoying the finer things in life.
We introduced our designs with a very cool short film demonstrating our understanding of the target market and vision for the scheme, with detailed layouts of the furnishing schemes in each residence to show how people can live in and use the space. We also went through examples of the fabrics and finishes we have put together to help them visualize, feel and understand how the scheme is put together. At each pitch, the aim is not just to say it but to demonstrate it.
We did however forget to mention a tricky little situation when we first visited the scheme – we picked a day when the lift was only going up (unbeknown to us at the time) which meant a considerable amount of time wandering round the building desperately looking for some kind of escape route, making us late for our meeting with the nice people at Prime Resi.
Mayfair-based investment firm Hamilton Bradshaw Real Estate (HBRE) has stepped in as financial and strategic backers to Accouter Design, a luxury interior design company with an all-star management team led by Managing Director Alec Watt. Alec is accompanied by fellow founders Stella Savage and Marc Horn, both well known in the London residential interior design scene. The joint venture with HBRE is to establish and scale up Accouter Design, an international interior design business focusing on high end luxury residential interiors.
Faisal Butt, Managing Partner and fellow investor at HBRE, led the deal and reconfirms his decision to invest in Accouter;”The business has been operational for 3 months and has turned over in excess of £500,000, an impressive achievement for a business still in its infancy, firmly reinforcing our mantra of partnering with “best-in-class” real estate entrepreneurs and high calibre management teams”
Butt projects that with the support of HBRE, the business will grow revenue to £10 million within five years, by targeting both the multi-unit private rented sector (PRS) market and more bespoke high end projects for specific private clients. By leveraging the PE firm’s exclusive network, the team has already been able to get onto the bidding table for a number of landmark residential schemes, including one with over 1,500 new build apartments in London.
The Founders are the former management team of an award winning furnishing and luxury interior design company. With a collective 20 years of experience in the industry, Alec and his team are in the privileged position of being one of the only players in the sector backed by a private equity house, giving them the firepower, profile, and network to grow market share in 2013 and onwards.
James Caan, Entrepreneur, investor and Chairman of Hamilton Bradshaw Real Estate said;”Our partnership with Alec Watt and fellow founders reflects our focus on backing best-in-class management teams in key growth sectors in the real estate industry. This is part of our long-term plan to build a significant real estate platform by backing tomorrow’s movers and shakers.”
Accouter’s founding Managing Director, Alec Watt shares his thoughts on the joint venture:”Partnering with James and the HBRE platform is the beginning of a new and exciting stage for us. The know-how and capital provided by our new partners will give us a superior platform from which to grow.
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