I’m the founder of Tributes Ltd – which I first set up 30 years ago. And since then we’ve come a long way! After getting started by necessity (I found myself in a new house, with a new baby, and out of the blue a lack of a job) the company has developed into a strong team with an excellent reputation and an international presence. Our success is partly because we create innovative products in-house with a splash of flair and skill, and always strive to give our customers an excellent service – nothing is too much trouble when we’re ultimately supporting families at such difficult times. None of this would have been possible without the hard work, dedication and skill of our team, some of whom have been on this journey with me from the very beginning. I believe every one of them is better at their job now than when I did it and I’m certain that they would agree!
Lately, free time has been hard to come by after a recent house move so there’s not been much time at all for “hobbies”. There is of course a lot of painting to be done – it’s just a shame it’s all walls and doors! I find art and painting to be a relaxing pastime and although it needs thought, concentration and imagination the process itself provides something of an escape from the day-to-day pressures of life.
In fact I’m known by family and colleagues for my love of art, and this has spilled over into work. I love the use of bold colours which create images with punch and attitude, so not many of my efforts are wishy-washy! Acrylic painting is very amenable, allowing you to paint over mistakes (and often if needs be!). Watercolour is much less forgiving, leading the artist in a totally different direction from that initially imagined. The final iteration is likely to be nothing like the intended result – in my case usually a good thing!
I draw inspiration from everything around me, but in recent years have found Pinterest most helpful. Some of my paintings are spoof renditions of Old Masterpieces and have been used in our company Christmas cards and calendars over the years. These are fun to do, and I hope to raise a smile with each one. “The Girl with a Christmas bauble earring” is my favourite creation, and I’m encouraged by the fact that Picasso once said, “Steal like an artist”.
Tributes is still very much a family business – my wife, Ness, also works with the company as the global liaison with our USA division. I also have three beautiful daughters, one of whom works with us as our field sales director– you may meet Tori as she spends a great deal of time visiting customers around the UK. My family have always supported my ideas and ambitions; in fact starting an urn manufacturing company was initially an idea suggested by Ness’ late father after hearing a radio interview about the subject.
I think hard work, fairness and “doing the right thing”, even if at first sight it does not seem to be so, are the principles I try to follow in life. Most importantly I try to remember not to take oneself too seriously, do things with some humour and try to make work fun.