HOT 100 RETAIL TITANS: William Asprey, owner, William & Son

“I learn something new every day and, as the world changes so quickly, we have to stay ahead by being aware and keeping an open mind, as we may be able to utilise some of what we see within the business,” says William Asprey, founder of William and Son.

And this out-of-the-box thinking has certainly served him well. In the past 12 months the company has moved to a brand new store on Bruton Street in London (pictured); introduced a new over and under ‘Sporter’ shotgun; and launched a Bruton leather collection, as well as the second of its in-house-designed fine jewellery collections, Beneath the Rose.

“We have also welcomed to our new store the watch brands Ferdinand Berthoud and Moritz Grossmann, which we have exclusively within the UK,” William adds.

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Describing himself as determined, forthright, honest, and diplomatic when required, William is also, perhaps unsurprisingly, something of a perfectionist. And he’s a committed royalist, which makes him hugely proud of his company’s status as a royal warrant holder.

“The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the entire royal family don’t have an easy job! They are dedicated to their roles and their ability to inspire people – which is inspiring in itself,” he says.

“It’s very rewarding being able to serve them through our royal warrant for services as silversmiths and goldsmiths, and being a royal warrant holder is a huge boost to the business, especially overseas.”

When asked about his business plans for the next few years, William turns rather coy. “I’m not sure I want to tell you that!” he smiles. But luckily for us, he lets a few details slip: “We do need to keep building brand awareness and the reputation of the company, and continue looking at vertical integration in order to maintain future supply.”

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