Five Minutes with Stephen Murphy
Stephen Murphy is the Chairman of Authentic Bespoke, the investment group that has our back here at Tusting and which focuses on protecting and promoting microbrands with an artisanal focus. He has a genuine love of life on the shop floor and craftsmanship, and is possibly one of Tusting’s best ambassadors.
You have a strong work ethic, which you also try to instil in your three sons. What was your first job?
I worked as a gardening assistant when I was 10.
What did you think you would be when you were a child?
I wanted to be a fireman. I used to love burning leaves and spraying the garden hose.
What do you do now?
I take care of the corporate finance aspects of Authentic Bespoke (acquisitions, fundraising, shareholders/ board level matters) and keep a watching brief on the US and Budd Shirtmakers in London, looking at the areas that my co-founder Rebecca cannot always fully cover. The job is really to think more about the current and future external forces that impact our businesses.
How did you end up where you are today?
Really because I am a slow learner! It has taken me about 30 years to accumulate the experience, network and soft skills required to be effective and productive.
How has your workspace changed over the years?
Profoundly. I started full-time work with just a small box, moving from desk to desk (due to a lack of desks in my M&A Department) at Salomon Brothers on the 42nd floor of One New York Plaza, where I started out as a financial analyst. Today, I work out of a quiet studio beside a church and graveyard in London’s Chelsea. The latter gives me peace and excellent space to think (we even used it for a recent Tusting photoshoot) but is also a reminder to hurry up because the clock is ticking.
How does what you carry to work today differ to times gone by?
My bag is much lighter. It usually contains a notebook, pen and phone, extra phone charger and business cards and likely a presentation.
What is your bag or accessory of choice for all this?
I tend to carry the above in my Westminster folio case. It is petite but does the job and looks good. There is definitely a lot to be said for the advances in technology that allow us to travel light and I could not live without my Notebook. If I have a little more to carry, I like the casual elegance of my canvas Explorer bag.
My mobile phone. Like all of us, I would say I am far too dependent on it.
Dress-down Fridays? Yes or no?
No. We should dress up more on Fridays so you can go out directly after work and look fantastic.
How often do you travel?
Once a month on average for work and pleasure.
The US national parks, Egypt and Ireland.
Best travel memory?
My tours of the US with my wife Suzy.
Tips when packing for a trip?
Do it the night before and look at the destination weather forecast.
Washbag, a Tusting one in leather.
The skill you would have liked to learn?
Languages, especially Arabic and Spanish
Things I wish I had known when I started out?
To be more goal-focused rather than experience focused.
How do you save?
I invest which keeps me from spending.
What about Tusting makes you tick?
Its authenticity and its potential.
What three Tusting pieces would you pick if you had the choice?
The Hingham weekender from the Century collection, a bespoke Goldington trolley case that I am currently having made (an Ellsworth Kelly red colour!) and a valet tray. I probably need one of those wherever I go or stay.
With three sons, how does the hand-me-down game work? Survival of the fittest?
No, it’s who is nicest to either me or Suzy!