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A Year in Review

We catch up with the class of 2018 to celebrate their major achievements, glean a thing or two from their lessons learnt and get the latest on what they have in store for 2019

Tommy Kerns

We spoke to Tommy Kerns – proud owner of fashion and lifestyle store Butterscotch out in Long Beach – back in Issue 35. We catch up on his plans for the year to come.

ButterScotch turned one this year. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during your first year of business?
Man oh man, it’s been a year already? It has flown by but at the same time I may have just aged 30 years myself. The amount of things I have learned this year is honestly a bit endless. But if I can put it in a
few bullet points that is the god’s honest truth:

• take risks,

• learn something from each day,

• believe in what you do,

• treat people the way you would want to be treated

• and honestly just be grateful.

I am grateful to be at the place in my life right now with ButterScotch and yeah, I have worked my tail off day after day, night after night, but none of that would matter if it wasn’t for the people walking through the door each day, dialoguing on social media, and shopping our online store. I’ve learned people respect and appreciate a labor of love because we are all going through it in one way or another. Every day is a new experience and honestly each day owning ButterScotch I’m learning something new, from production and sourcing here in Los Angeles, to marketing, to understanding how to run a business more effectively as a one man team just trying to do that damn thing. 

Are there any shop collaborations you’re particularly proud of?
Every single damn one of them. I’m working with some of greatest brands on planet Earth that I have fan boy’d over for years and dreamed of owning in my own personal closet. Now I’m getting to work with these staple brands and they are letting some dude from Long Beach create something with both our names on it. Never in a million years did I think I would be saying I have a collab leather with Vanson Leathers & Left Field NYC or a weekender bag with Billykirk or a full custom boot from Oak Street Bookmakers. Let’s not forget our partnership with RoughChild Moto, who is now building one off Custom BMW motorcycles for the shop and the Vintage motorcycle enthusiasts all over the world. But it’s happening and every time I think about it I grin ear to ear and say ‘wow’. 2018 was just the start, I can’t wait to show you what we have cooking for 2019. 

What’s next for ButterScotch in 2019? 
I feel like I just started writing 2018 on my rent cheques and now it’s already 2019. Time flies when you are having fun (or maybe it’s when you are insanely busy) but that’s how I like it. ButterScotch 2019 – More action, more motorcycles, more clothing, like the sequel to 2018 but maybe a cameo with Ryan Gosling, that’d be pretty tight, right? 

For 2019 I’m more aligned with facilities here in Los Angeles to really start focusing on growing the ButterScotch Brand and building pieces I’m passionate about and am not finding in the market. I really love the process of creating something from nothing and adding my own spin to things. We are also working on an array of collab items and possibly even some new brands for the shop as well. Real excited about all that. 2019 is just onward and upward. Hopefully more growth both personally and professionally. More reach and ultimately just meeting more people just as excited about the shop, the brand and the community we are trying to grow here not only in LBC but globally. 

Russ Gator 

We were lucky enough to chat with Russ ahead of his talk at Somerset House in Issue 39. Russ now gives his highlights of 2018 and provides a glimpse into what’s next for TSPTR.

What would you consider to be TSPTR’s standout achievements
in 2018?

I guess on a personal level we’ve been extremely happy to be involved with the Somerset House Peanuts exhibition. It reinforces the Peanuts stories we’ve been telling for years and we’re glad to get Schulz’s wider concepts in front of people.

Tell us a little bit about your 2018 collaborations.
We’ve been stoked to work with Eric at Rivendell again this year. Their product really is unparalleled and unchanged. We previously had the pleasure of collaborating with them as Heritage Research, so wanted to do something with TSPTR. They have such a purist ethos when it comes to the gear, totally unaffected by trend or opinion, very refreshing. 

Our collab sneakers with Standard & Strange were fun to make too, we’ve been working with John Lofgren for around 14 years now, so it’s an easy process that always creates a fantastic product. We’d wanted to use the USMC leaf pattern camo for a while so it was a great vehicle for it.

Do you have any projects lined up in 2019 that you can tell us about?We’re excited to launch our first collab with Saucony. We’re big fans of the brand and their silhouettes. A genuine running brand that’s sat on the periphery of fashion but always been at the centre of the running community. Our collab focuses on trying to recreate that feeling of opening an original pair of running shoes in the golden era of running. We spent a lot of time working on the finer details, it really isn’t a hype shoe, so don’t expect crazy colorways based around ridiculous concepts like the ‘what I had for breakfast’ pack, we’ve tried to make a shoe that’s the antithesis of all that.

Ricki Hall & David Rix
Indigo & Goods

You’ve always been a huge believer in locally-made goods, will that continue to be a focus next year?
Absolutely. We will expand both the RH GYM and Full English collections to include other items and fabrics made in England. Where possible working with small family run businesses up and down the country. 

Any personal highlights from over the course of 2018?
It was satisfying to introduce the Full English collection. Initially we had intended to have the entire collection spun in the UK. Although time wise it wasn’t possible to create every garment like this, our knit items were. Our ‘Ultimate’ garments have cotton spun in a factory in Manchester. We then take this spun yarn to have it knitted in Leicester with the final garment being made in another factory close by.  Sounds easy but far from it! 

“The name ‘Full English’ comes from
the solid worker’s breakfast that we all know and love.”

Tell us a little about your latest Full English Collection.
The name ‘Full English’ comes from the solid worker’s breakfast that we all know and love. It also explains our garments, which are fully made in England too.

Inspired by classic work and utility clothing. Amongst others, we have the Prison shirt and trousers made from cotton twill, woven in Lancashire with garment made in London. Unfussy, honest and well made styles ‘made with conviction’ as our London factory likes to say.Seriously though, it’s not just about the clothing, it’s the story too. We work with small factories that have quickly become good friends of ours. We feel this is the only way to make a truly ‘authentic’ garment.

Any big plans for 2019?
Tapping into the Japanese market will be a big goal for us over the next year.

Oliver Spencer
Oliver Spencer

How do you think the attitude towards high street shopping has changed over the course of the year?
Poor service on the high street and poor products on the high street have led people to sit back in their armchair and consume products from the safety of their own homes. This is a real problem for the high street, it needs to improve its standards and deliver a better quality of experience for the customer.

Do you think the subject of sustainability has played a bigger role in how people shop this year?
For the first half of the year, people were not particularly aware of what was going on. Second half of the year, more people have been talking about it, it has become a hotter topic. 

Our job as a brand is to tell a story and to change the mind-set of the way people shop, so that they shop in a more responsible way. I believe it is changing and I think people are becoming more considerate.  

What have you been listening to since we last spoke?
I am going through a moment of listening to Thomas Dolby. 

He is quite famous for his 80s stuff but actually some of his more recent music is very good, especially the ‘Live From Tokyo’ album that came out in 2012.

Ben Sherman

What was a major Ben Sherman achievement in 2018?
The events we ran with Essential Journal including the Q&A with Brian Cannon at our commercial street store and the pop up exhibition with acclaimed photographer Francesco Mellina at our Liverpool store. 

Both events have seen us re-engage with the subculture Ben Sherman is known for.

Who has been your favourite collaborator in 2018 and how did the collab come about? 
Our favourite collab has to be Brian Cannon. As a graphic designer Brian is iconic and getting the opportunity to work with someone who’s work is so well known in pop culture was a real honour. 

In collaboration with Brian we produced a limited edition tee collection using images from Brian’s Northern Soul photography series which are really iconic.

What are your top three records from 2018?
We’ve not stopped listening to Robyn, Honey. Christine and the Queens, Chris Andersson Pak, Oxnard.

James Fox
Crockett & Jones

What are your stand-out moments for 2018?
Bricks and mortar retail has seen its worst year pretty much across the board. However, Crockett & Jones seems to be bucking the trend. Whilst we remain inline to last year in our own stores, this gives us great confidence in our strategy to offer an honest, high quality product with ‘made in England’ value for money – quite rare in the UK today.

We released the most successful capsule collections in our recent history – Cranleigh and The Black Editions. Our Parisian retail stores celebrated their 20th anniversary, a year after the UK. Finally, we are also about to feature in the much anticipated Mary Poppins.

Is there a particular shoe that’s proven to be a hit this year?
Crockett & Jones operates in the slower end of fashion, where purchases are considered and the retail process appreciated. That does not mean trends are not important. It results in a two pronged development strategy – Repeat Business and New Business. Our repeat business is always the strongest and there is no doubt that because of the way our consumers interact with us, our BIG name styles are the front runners. Styles such as Coniston, Pembroke and Chiltern, to name but a few on our vast list of ‘icons’ are the bedrock of our business. 

Crockett and Jones’ Black Edition was a pretty audacious departure from the C&J style. 
Our brand has never been stronger, and whilst we heavily rely on our iconic styles our made-to-order collection gives us great scope to showcase the international nature and creativity of our business (65% export). With that, we attract an international customer base into our own retail stores and thus we can showcase an extremely broad collection. The Black Editions filled a trend-driven gap in our collection that coupled a very chunky, but lightweight sole with a host of black materials. It was no surprise that our strongest category was ‘boots’ – The Chelsea XI is on a few of our customers’ Christmas lists this year!

Tommy Banks

How do you retain a Michelin Star?
The most important thing is actually getting a good team together. The thing about Michelin Star food above anything is that it is extremely consistent. You shouldn’t go to a Michelin Star restaurant and have a bad meal, and so the only way to get consistency is to have a very strong team. For us, we open 7 days a week so we have to have a squad like Man City, where we have two 11s that can really play. Getting a good team together is the main thing.

If you’re anywhere near that style of cooking you obviously know how to do it and you can cook in a good way, but it’s being able to replicate it. From a business point of view you can’t do that without good people. It really takes time. We’ve got some really good guys, but it takes time to really build a team with real depth and I think that’s the main thing.

What lessons did you learn from opening Roots?
So many! The first few days I was finishing at three in the morning and then starting again at seven. Then the average day was getting better, it was coming down to 2AM and then 1AM and now we finish at a normal hour like 11:30PM or something. So things get better. It’s not that I underestimated how difficult it is to open a second restaurant, but you can’t begin to imagine just how much hard work goes into it. 

If I did it again, I maybe would take an extra week, push it back by a week and take some more time. You have a plan. You have every single thing nailed down, this is what’s going to happen here, here and here, and this is when we’re going to open, but something always comes up. So I guess it’s plan for the unexpected.

Where are you looking forward to eating in 2019?
So I’m 30 next year and this past year has been all graft. I haven’t had a holiday since last January, I had two days away with Charlotte (Tommy’s partner), that’s it. I’ve worked at the Black Swan, I’ve been setting up Roots, I’ve done a bit of TV, it’s been all work. So I’m planning on having a few breaks in 2019, taking a few holidays.

There’s three places on my radar in the UK. There’s Moor Hall over in Lancashire which won two stars this year, Mark Birchall [is the chef]. My folks went there last year and loved it. They are like the pickiest people and I know full well, as they come to the restaurants to eat every week and always find a problem. They went to eat at Moor Hall and I went, ‘go on then, tell me what was wrong with it’ and they were like, ‘no, it was absolutely perfect’. So I am definitely going there. 

Second place is down in Wales, I think it’s pronounced ‘ee-ne-ee-see-her’, Ynyshir, and it’s a place that all my staff keep going. The chef is Gareth Ward and he fills you with like 15 or 20 courses or something and all my chefs keep going and telling me how amazing it is. So I’m going to have to go. 

And the third place, I’ve never been to Cornwall, so I’ve said this year I’m going to go down in the summer and go visit Paul Ainsworth because I think his food looks great.


Hands down one of our favourite bars, PUBLIC have been on quite the role since we spoke to them in Issue 37.

What are Public’s highlights from 2018?
It’s been a remarkable first year for us, winning OFM’s ‘Best Place to Drink 2018’ is certainly the highlight.

You guys have recently started taking bookings, how is that working so far?
We put it out there for the customers to have their opinions too. We weren’t the ones standing in the queue on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s been a huge success, people can plan their visits and we’ve seen a rise in the food revenue because of that. We still keep a few spots at the bar for the adventurous.

How’s the new cocktail menu coming along? Any stand-out cocktails that come to mind?
It’s all ready to go. My personal favourite is one based around a chippy tea. More on that to come though.

Any big plans for Public in 2019 that you can tell us about?
Besides the new menu launch, we’ve got a couple of upcoming collaborations. One with the guys over at Belzan, Liverpool, on the 15th and 16th of January – which we can’t wait for. 

Jason & Stef
The Pilgrm

We checked in with the team behind London boutique hotel, The Pilgrm.

The Pilgrm recently celebrated its first birthday. What lessons have you learnt in the first year of operation?

ST: There have been so many valuable lessons in the most unexpected places and I’m learning all the time. For me, the key ones have been to live in the moment, focus on one thing at a time and keep things simple. 

JC: That people are always at the core of everything we do in this business. Not so much a new lesson but more a confirmation that the human experience far outweighs anything else. Never overlook the human potential. 

What other achievements have you celebrated this year?ST:
It’s amazing to think how much has happened in one year. Shortly after opening The Pilgrm, I married my better half (who also happens to be called Steph!) and our baby girl, Elia, was born. It’s been a year of celebrations and very little sleep.

JC: The Pilgrm opening was the single biggest achievement which was celebrated (on a few occasions) but receiving the recognition we did was very humbling too. 

We will continue to develop, refine, grow!”

What’s in the planning for 2019?
ST: The Pilgrm journey has just begun. There are so many exciting ideas and opportunities that we are exploring. We will continue to develop, refine, grow, and – of course – have a lot of fun along the way!

JC: 2019 will be about finessing The Pilgrm no. 1 and allowing the team to grow whilst no. 2 or 3 are being explored. We are also developing a new brand which is based on the idea of shared hotel spaces at great value which the quality of materials and services on offer are never compromised.

Festive, French Fancies

This Christmas, Lillet is here to help you treat your guests with a truly festive moment. From personal shopping soirées with Topshop, to floral wreath-making at Liverpool’s very own little French fancy, Le Petit Café du Coin, Lillet has proved itself to be quite the entertainer over the last 12 months. For a year now, the Bordelais wine-based aperitif has wowed The Essential Journal not only with its floral charm and silky decadent flourish, but also with its endless versatility. 

And with Christmas just around the corner, Sainsbury’s is on hand to help bring Lillet home this year. Whether you’re looking for a last minute gift for that special someone, or looking to wow guests with your newfound cocktail skills, Sainsbury’s have the classic Lillet Blanc and all-new Lillet Rosé you need to help you celebrate à la française this festive season. 

John Robinson
D.M Robinson Jewellers

What would you consider to be your major achievements of 2018?
It’s been a year of landmarks for us! My team were voted the No. 1 store in Liverpool ONE (out of 128 stores). Rolex ranked us as their top Rolex Authorised Dealer in terms of digital sales. 

We saw more and more of our jewellery being worn by some very stylish women, and we helped the Onside Youth Charity to grow their projects in both the North West and London.

What are you most excited about for 2019?
Our all-new 5000 sq ft DMR showroom will open in St Ann’s Square, Manchester in Spring 2019. 

It will be the centrepiece of our 50th anniversary celebrations and it will be one of the UK’s most innovative retail spaces featuring a dedicated Rolex espace and a very private VIP space, right in the heart of the city centre. Watchmakers and goldsmiths studios will play a big part in offering a genuinely friendly luxury retail experience.

GMT from Rolex was the big news for this year, and the explosion in the desirability of Rolex professional models continues. The Paul Newman Rolex Daytona sold for $14m in New York. Expect more of the same for next year. Tudor will continue to boom. 

Patek Philippe will cement their position as the collectors favourite, dominating, with Rolex, at all the major auctions. Omega’s celebration of the Moon Watch will capture imaginations. 

People will continue to want the best quality of everything. Quite refreshing in our “throw away world”.

Alex Turner

What is MUTT’s biggest achievement of 2018?
We took a deep breath and made the jump! MUTT was set up almost 2 years ago while we were working elsewhere, and 2018 marks the year we dedicated full attention to the practice. In that time we have set up offices in Liverpool and London and have completed exciting projects in London, the Lake District and even Mexico City!

What’s the biggest lesson learnt from 2018?
We have worked with a number of inspiring clients this year and now truly understand the link between good clients and the creation of
good architecture. 

Through close, collaborative working relationships we have been able to push the original brief, challenge preconceptions and
create unique, bespoke projects.

What is an architectural concern for 2019 and how will you combat it?Our concern for 2019 is broad but fundamental: architecture is at risk of dehumanising itself. 

The issue stems from a seemingly paradoxical industry in pursuit of radical newness at times and risk-averse sameness at others.

Both diversions create architecture which lacks meaningful engagement with the character of the site and, as such, fails to communicate with the people for whom it is intended. 

Our remedy? To counter this, as MUTT we aim to find the ‘peculiarity of place’ in all projects, using research, sampling and remixing as design approaches to engage with a site on a deeper level and create an architecture in dialogue with its physical and metaphysical context.


Featured in issue 38, visual storytellers India Hobson and Magnus Edmondson revel in fond memories and revel in future plans.

Greenhouse was your first published book: What lessons did you learn from it?
It was a long but very rewarding process and it’s great to see our
work out there in printed form. Between me and you, we’re already thinking about a second book. It’s all very exciting.

Do you have any standout trips or stays from 2018?
I mean, there are a lot to choose from! One of the many highlights of this year, if we had to narrow it down, would be our short trip to Småland in Sweden during the Autumn. It was our first time visiting that country and we can’t wait to explore it all again.

‘Between me and you, we’re already thinking about a second book.
It’s all very exciting.’

Any big projects for 2019 that you can let us in on?
We’re just organising a trip to Japan for the spring, as it happens, so we’re deep in research mode looking for places to visit.

Andreas Neumann

What are your highlights from 2018?
A definite highlight for me was documenting both the Queens of the Stone Age European tour and the West Coast leg of the tour. Looking back, it was quite a ride! I photographed over 30 concerts. I traveled with the band on the tour bus through Europe and the USA which nobody ever had done with the Queens. 

Any highlights touring with Queens of the Stone Age?
Oh for sure! I mean, there are a fair few. Back in February, QOTSA’s played at the Forum LA to a sold-out show with a crowd 10,000 strong. We filmed the whole thing. It’s in the editing room at the moment with no definite release plan. It’ll stay locked away in the vault until Josh feels the time is right to release it, but I’ve gotta say: It’s a killer!

And do you have any upcoming projects for 2019 that you can tell us about
Well, at long last, we will finally be releasing the Iggy Pop American Valhalla coffee table book. Expect a whole bunch of unseen photographs covering the whole creative process of the Post Pop Depression album and the subsequent tour. I’ll also be launching a photography exhibition showcasing the best of my work from throughout Queens of the Stone Age ‘Villains’ tour. Watch this space. 

Joe Shutter

Joe Shutter served as the celluloid inspiration for Issue 37’s photography theme. We dropped him a line to discuss what’s next for the creative entrepreneur.

What have been your highlights from 2018?
I would say that there have been two main highlights in 2018: Opening The Space, Reykjavik, and leading our expedition to Greenland. Both within three months of each other!

And how are things going over at The Space?
The Space is going very well, and we are focussing increasingly on hosting weekly events and workshops. The emphasis has been on skills and activities-based workshops like calligraphy and wreath making for Christmas. We have also hosted movie screenings of locals film-makers and are planning a big Instagram Hackathon for March 2019. 

How are things shaping up for the Silent Arctic Workshop? 
The last workshop was a roaring success! We’ve not even officially
announced the latest Silent Arctic 2019, and yet we’ve already and sold 5 places! So it’s going very well, and August 28th will come up fast!

Interviews by Will HALBERT