The interiors guru
Sherry Roberts CEO and founder, The Longest Stay
An alumnus of the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA Program, this American living in London has always had a flair for business. “I opened a travel agency in my dorm room at university, started my career in telecoms, and had travelled to over 50 countries by the time I was 30, but my passion was always based on creativity and interiors.”
If you don’t ask for advice you’re on a lonely road
Encouraged by her husband, she began looking into starting a boutique hotel, but the two years research she did across Europe opened up a new, unexpected avenue. “I realised that many people would like to be able to buy the furniture or artworks they spot in luxury hotels there and then, rather than track them down afterwards. It was an obvious fit to build a website that you can click and buy from.”
And so The Longest Stay, an interior design one-stop shop, was born. Earlier this year, she met the former CEO of Moss Bros, Rowland Gee, and the business sparks began to fly.
“If you don’t ask for advice you’re on a lonely road,” says the entrepreneur. “Rowland asks questions. He brings a fresh pair of eyes while emphasising what I already know. Also, he has the insight and introductions to help this business become global and successful.”
Rowland Gee Chairman, Grey4Gold
“A friend said that I ought to meet Sherry. A lot of these meetings come to nothing, but she struck me immediately as someone with intelligence and drive. She’s in the sweet spot of the market and her online marketing is top drawer. Some people get it, others don’t. Sherry gets it. What I bring is that I am a director of several companies and have been working in retail for many years. I have been trying to get her to put in the central controls and the relationship management with suppliers – all the boring stuff, basically – so that when she does take off, she’ll have the infrastructure in place to handle the demand.
I’ve mentored some excellent businesspeople in my time, and while mentoring is dismissed by some, you can’t beat advice and knowledge that is pertinent to the business you’re in.”