Senior Business Development Manager at Glancy Fawcett.
Based in Manchester, but with a global clientele that sees him travelling all over the world, Thomas Batty has been invited over the past five years, into the lives and homes of the world’s most prolific and prestigious people.
With a reputation for supplying the finest luxury homeware and architectural products to superyachts, residences and private aircraft, plus a fascinating catalogue of associated stories and experiences, we take an opportunity to talk interiors, inspiration and day-to-day duties with Glancy Fawcett’s dynamic Senior Business Development Manager.
What’s your background?
I was born on the South Coast, attended a boarding school in Suffolk, studied for a year in America and then graduated with a Business Management Degree in the UK, before heading to work in London.
How did you come to specialise in interiors for superyachts?
I actually fell into it by chance. I moved to Manchester and Glancy Fawcett five years’ ago after working in London specialising in men’s suiting and luxury tailoring, developing an appreciation and affinity to fabric and how to meet the requirements of key individuals. The love for the sea runs in the family as my Grandad was in the navy, my Dad is a Captain, and my brother is a First Officer.
What is a typical day for you?
The best thing about my job is that no two days are the same. One day I could be flying to the South of France following new leads and being the go-between generating new business, other days are in the Manchester office interacting with clients. There are also many plane journeys to Paris, Milan and Germany. It is not uncommon for a client to even fly me out to visit their residence or yacht so I can get to know their personal vision
What is your workspace like?
On some days I am based at my desk in the open-plan Manchester office surrounded by a fantastic, friendly team, and on others, I could be responding to emails from my aeroplane seat on the way to meet with clients anywhere in the world.
Your team must always look for new inspiration to bring to clients. How do you all go about constantly generating new innovative ideas?
Everyone who works at Glancy Fawcett has an interest in design, trends and fashions, so they’re always on the look out for new ideas and inspirations. It’s often very collaborative.
What’s the creative process when starting with a new bespoke brief?
Firstly it’s to understand the client as best as possible. Then it’s all about showing the clients the extensive choices we have on offer. We take client aspirations and translate them through to design.
What’s a typical timeframe for your projects?
This can be anything from a month to three years.
Glancy Fawcett has been in the business for 30 years. How have things changed in this time?
Things have changed significantly. The size of yachts are increasing for a start. Twenty-Four years ago, 47-metre yachts were considered large, and now we’re privileged to be working on six projects where each of the yachts are in excess of over 100 metres.
At one time dark wood was the most popular request for interiors and branding was heavily featured across the tableware and linens of either the boat name or logo. Now it’s much more subtle, from unique patterns within the interior itself to generally a more neutral colour palette.
We hear you have a choice of 60 sample pillows. How do you help a client who doesn’t know what products to choose?
We also have over 2800 different plates. All clients are encouraged to visit our showroom in Manchester as it’s here that we have all the samples. We then take the time to understand the exact needs of each individual on board, such as the type of pillow each guest prefers.
The client is able to see, touch and get a feel of their choices and visualise how it would fit in their interior.
What’s been the most challenging issues you’ve faced at work?
Working globally can prove challenging when it comes to product deliveries and the uncertainties of Brexit. However, the main focus for us is to always manage a client’s expectations and maintain our high standards. We set the bar high.
Within the luxury market, quality control and exceptional standards are always expected. How do you ensure you’re always working with premium products?
We personally visit the factories all around Europe to see the grassroots of how each product is produced. We pride ourselves on always striving for the best quality that meets the highest expectations. Our clients also give us feedback on specific products, and we then relay that back to the suppliers, ensuring we’re improving at every step. It makes for a great two-way relationship between our manufacturers and us.
Have your team had to source anything particularly unusual?
Oh yes, some people like to use yachts for very different purposes, and some like to push the boundaries at times.
How would you describe your own personal interior style?
Clean, modern and masculine with a Scandi influence.
As someone who is well travelled, where is your ultimate favourite destination?
I love good food, good company and a good view, preferably by the sea. There are some beautiful spots in the Med. Bora Bora is the next destination I’d like to visit.
What’s your favourite yacht and why?
No particular yacht stands out as my favourite as there are so many different beautiful styles. However, for its standout, exterior I’d say M.Y. Jubilee.
What would you call your own yacht?
Olivia, after my three year old daughter. I still believe a yacht is best suited to the female gender.
If you were to own a yacht, what would be the first interior product you would choose?
A great glass for a gin and tonic.
If you were stranded on an island, what three items would you not want to be without?
Sunglasses, music and a comfy bed.
What’s your own personal style for work and off-duty?
I’d say with my suiting background; it’s very clean cut with a Riviera influence, so suits, jackets, fancy colour chinos and Italian tailoring. I’m bringing the South of France style to Manchester.
Given you spend a lot of time travelling to meetings, what three clothing items would you have as a staple in your suitcase?
A lightweight navy blazer, a good pocket square and a CALM Collected Polo! It’s important to look smart when travelling, as well as keeping cool and crease-free, and so my CALM polo fits the bill perfectly.
Best tips for anyone visiting Manchester?
Manchester is renowned for its sports, live music bands, nightlife and restaurants. Football and cricket are a must in Manchester, plus its curry restaurants. It’s such a buzzy city with a friendly attitude and many young families.
You’ve now branched out with a showroom in the Bahamas. Where’s next on the wish list?
Manchester, Bahamas and Marbella are our key touch points, and so we’ve no plans to branch out further. Clients tend to gravitate to the UK, and they’ll fly into the private terminal at Manchester specifically to visit our showroom. They’ll then have a private consultation which is very dedicated, so we wouldn’t want to dilute that.
Are you seeing any trends for eco-led products?
Absolutely, especially in the last six months as people consider the usage of plastics, recycling and the relationship to the sea. We’re looking closely into our raw materials and ensuring packaging is reduced and biodegradable. Our bed linen is ethically sourced and made to be sustainable. Luckily our manufacturing processes are so unique we are already highly sustainable, using factories with good working conditions.
Have you found the style of service has changed in the last few years, such as more informal dining? If so, would you expect this to also affect the clothing the crew wear as a result?
Yes, life on board is more relaxed. The crew are always on show, so clean lines and a modern design should bridge the gap between smart and casual. However, some clients will charter a yacht for a birthday party or a big special occasion, so it can still be formal.
We are often briefed for crew’s uniform to compliment a yacht’s interiors. What would you suggest as a good starting point to achieve a cohesive look on board?
We work extensively with owners and designers directly. We have the benefit of reviewing design renders and mood boards which we then base recommendations and suggestions on product selections. The beauty of visiting our showroom is that we are able to work with the renders and tie in the vision of the boat to create the perfect selection for the client. As a company, we stand for principally what the client wants and be able to offer our expertise through the tableware, linens and accessories.
Looking ahead to 2019, are there any key colours or trends that you think we will be seeing more of for interiors?
It could take three years for a boat to be made and trends can change considerably over that time, so we’re not fashion led; timeless and soft influences work best. Neutral palettes with some texture are a great starting point, and pops of colour can be added in at a later stage.
For more information visit: www.glancyfawcett.com