Sarah Kay | Interview with MD of The Edit

The Edit was founded with a desire to focus purely on creative events and inspiring solutions. Sarah has a design background and is passionate about being creative. Her experience within the events industry has seen her work with high profile brands from Hakkasan to No.7, in impressive event spaces such as the V&A, Sushi Samba and Aqua and design exciting events that have pushed creative boundaries and wowed guests. Prior to launching The Edit Sarah launched creative, award winning agency Story and previously headed up the bespoke agency MASK.

WOW! In two years, The Edit has come so far…how does it feel?

“I think events is such a crazy world that I find I can be working so hard and forget to look back and think about this. Recently though I have been trying to reflect and I feel very proud of where we are as an agency and where we’re going. I feel we have built stronger client relationships than I’ve ever been able to in the past. Also I adore my team and office so all in all it’s been a great two years. Setting up on my own was one of the best decisions I’ve made.”

It must have been quite the journey, what are the biggest lessons you’ve learnt?

“To really focus on what you’re good at and what you enjoy. It can be tempting when briefs come in, and when you have overheads to cover, to pitch for every event. I have learnt to stay true to what I am passionate about and say no to what I’m not. It is hard and feels counter intuitive however I want to love every moment and every event. I think when that happens your passion shines through and you give a great service to your clients. You also deliver events you’re really proud of.

Also business is a lot about admin, managing your cash flow and accounts. No-one ever talks about the ‘boring’ side! Embrace the admin and become a pro/hire the experts – it’s essential.”

You help piece together creative bespoke events as well as consultancy. What sparked the need for your business?

“The consultancy came purely from requests. I get approached a lot which is amazing and very flattering. I’m very honest about whether I think I can help a business and I really consider who I work with. A lot of businesses have grown organically, often from a one-man band and so we look at what the structure is, the message and where they want to go.

The events side has grown with our clients really. We manage full event programmes for quite a few companies. That means we get the chance to work on a huge variety of events which is very diverse and interesting.”

Many entrepreneurs start their career as a solo entity – what inspired you to take the jump and who were your biggest support/mentors?

“I’m lucky to have had experience running businesses and starting a company from day one as well so I guess the leap wasn’t as intimidating. Running the business on my own allowed me to have the control to run exactly the events I wanted to which feels amazing. Also I wanted to get back to basics – to spend more time with clients and also styling the events. I love being creative and running a business is very admin heavy so I wanted to do as much creative as possible!

I am lucky to have some amazing friends around me, a brilliant family and a very supportive husband. When I was talking about it with them, everyone just said ‘what are you waiting for?’ So that made my mind up!”

What has been your favourite event to date?

“This is such a hard one! In the past two years we have done so many that I have loved so it is very tricky to choose. I am going to go for the Livia’s events – I love working with brands that I personally support and I was obsessed with their products long before I started working with them. Communicating their brand and working with their team is such a pleasure. They’re really shaking up the healthy treat market and it’s exciting to be part of that. Their business is growing so fast, it’s inspiring to watch.”

What has been your most challenging event?

“The autumn install at Sake No Hana, one of the Hakkasan restaurants, had lots of new challenges for us. It was an install lasting for a month and it was outside. We had to consider how the weather could move or potentially damage the structure. We also needed to ensure the colours would last for a month and as it was outside and exposed to the elements. This was all possible, it just took lots of planning and testing.”

Have you got any exciting new concepts that you’re working on at the moment?

“We are being asked so frequently to create experiences. These are for our clients to entertain either their staff or clients. We don’t have a brochure of these so we design them each time in line with the brief. It’s so exciting to think of the experiences we are running over the next year. Everything from survival events where guests have to fend for themselves in a forest for the night through to bread making! The diversity is brilliant.”

Everyone has a dream event, or venue… what venue do you dream about working in?

“I would love to work in the Palace of Versailles – can you imagine a more beautiful venue! To be honest though some of the venues we work in currently are pretty dreamy – the V&A and Somerset House being particular favourites.”

We’re so excited for the future of The Edit… can you tell us what we can expect from you over the next couple of years??

“We have some very creative events coming up. We’re lucky to have clients who have allowed us to run wild with themes and really have fun with the styling. You’ll also see a lot of the one-off experience events.

In terms of the overall business we are very much focusing on celebratory events and styling. The team is growing and at the rate we are buying weird and wonderful things we may have to move office!”

Have you conquered the work life balance?

“In my own way yes, however other people would probably say no! I love to work. I run three businesses and so life is busy. I just try to maximise my down time and also take chance to relax where I can. I always get a minimum of 7 hours sleep to ensure I can handle the fast pace.”

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self now?

“Don’t worry so much about your decisions. I agonised over decisions for weeks or months and now I look back and they were just steps in the process. It all works out so there’s no need to worry, just trust the journey. And always be positive. Positive thoughts create a positive life. Positive thinking is so powerful and so underused. Finally, sleep is the answer – get as much as possible!”

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