This week, we had a chat with a long-time Tusting customer, author and Associate Editor of The Sunday Times, Oliver Shah. We discuss his career to date, how his first Tusting bag really has been with him for life (after being lovingly repaired by us to let it continue on Olly’s travels) and what makes him continue to shop with Tusting.
Tell us about your career to date
I left university in 2005 with a degree in English and I always knew I wanted to be a journalist. Initially, I worked for a little news wire over in Canary Wharf, and that was followed by some work at couple of the FT trade magazines. Then I did a post grad at City University in newspaper journalism and went straight onto City AM for a year.
I joined The Sunday Times in 2010, initially covering commercial property then added retail as well. This led to being City Editor, then Business Editor and I’m now Associate Editor, so I write the main business column but am also covering leaders delving into politics and foreign affairs. It’s been a really great place to work and always having new things to do has kept it interesting and challenging.
Was there a piece of work that stands out for you?
I suppose my great project was Philip Green and BHS which turned into the big scandal over the pension fund. I wrote a book off the back of that which probably stands apart from my other work and has been the biggest journalistic achievement to date.
(Shah was named business journalist of the year at both the Press Awards and London Press Club Awards in 2017 for his investigation into Sir Philip Green’s £1 sale of BHS.)
How did you come across Tusting and purchase your Melbourne briefcase?
I needed a new work bag and went into Selfridges and had a look round and spotted it. I loved it – it was expensive for me at the time, but I thought if I buy this it’s going to last forever, and it has! I love the quality, design, it’s simple and the leather ages and gains character over time. I’ve loved carrying it around every day and think it’s important to have something that brings enjoyment.
[Photo: Olly’s bag in bits when it came back to the Tusting workshop many years later, in 2021, for refurbishment. Briefcase repairs usually require the bag to be stripped down completely and built back up with new fittings, panels and trimmings, according to the individual requirements for each bag.]
What’s always in your bag?
Usually a MacBook Air, always a phone charger, note pad, a pen and Dictaphone for interviews – basically a mobile office for wherever I go I can always set up. It’s great for suddenly having to interview someone out of nowhere. It’s always packed and ready to go meaning I don’t have to think about stuff. If a story breaks, I’m ready, or if I need to pick up a bottle of wine they always fit in the front pockets.
What’s made you return to Tusting for other purchases?
I love the work bag I’ve got, and had it repaired which Tusting were brilliant about. I love the family business element; you know it’s a company you can trust and return to as they care about the product and are happy to fix it. I love the leather and classic designs, and as I’d had my other weekend bags for ages it was time for a new set, and I was only ever going to get a Tusting! My new Tusting Weekender has arrived and it’s a thing of beauty which is going to make travelling that bit more fun.
Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Hmmm, let me think about this one… It would probably be
“If you want to be successful, there is no substitute for hard work”.
What’s in store for the rest of 2023 and any projects you can tell us about in 2024?
I’m heading to New York at the end of October which means I can give my new weekend bag it’s first outing, and I’ll be in South Korea for work early 2024. For play, I’m hoping to get to Mexico in the new year and will have a few things to look forward to.
Oliver Shah’s book, Damaged Goods: The Inside Story of Sir Philip Green, the Collapse of BHS and the Death of the High Street was published by Penguin in June 2018 and is available at all good bookstores.