The dedicated QEST trustees work tirelessly to build upon the role that the charity plays within the Royal Warrant Holders Association and the British craft sector.
QEST’s Trustees and Skills Advisors are vital for their expertise and knowledge within specific skills sets and industries. Our Ambassadors help us spread the word about QEST, advocating our work to different audiences.
Scott Simpson began his career at the British brand Bamford & Sons designing and developing men’s accessory collections as well as sourcing lifestyle gifts for their stores. Having worked closely with George Bamford and Lady Bamford, he moved on to work for another style icon, Vivienne Westwood, as Head of Product Accessories with responsibility for their women’s and men’s bag and shoe collections. He also worked on special projects, which included collaborations with British brands such as The Cambridge Satchel Company, Grenson, Joseph Cheaney and Globe Trotter. Scott is the founder and Director of the gift website, The Gift Atelier, which sells luxury goods with a specific focus on the best of British design and make.
More recently, Scott co-curated ‘A Celebration Of British Design, Craftsmanship, Engineering & Innovation’ exhibition with Lord Linley. The idea for the exhibition grew from David Linley’s desire to encourage an appreciation of ‘making’, not only in terms of traditional craftsmen but also the modern day innovators and engineers who are artists and craftsmen in their own right.
Cambridge graduate and unlikely fashion entrepreneur Julie Deane OBE decided in 2007 to raise money in order to move her daughter’s school. She came up with an idea to make traditional leather satchels suited for the schoolchildren of Cambridge.
Deane invested just £600 to get the idea off the ground. The Cambridge Satchel Company is now a handmade-in-Britain worldwide phenomenon employing more than 130 people and selling to over 100 countries. In December 2014, Julie was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, receiving an OBE for Services to Entrepreneurship.
Deane is committed to preserving British manufacturing – a luxury rarely afforded by start-up businesses. Despite enormous pressure to satisfy demand with an overseas production model, Deane has ensured that each stage in producing every bag sold has taken place on British soil. Furthermore, she has used the company’s success to drive a re-skilling of the British population from its Leicestershire-based factory by taking on apprentices, engaging disillusioned youth and encouraging people to embrace craftsmanship. Julie is an ambassador for QEST, reflecting her ongoing commitment to British manufacturing and craftsmanship.
Alec is Managing Director and co-founder of Rokill Limited, a pest control services company which was incorporated in 1980 and is now one of the largest independent pest control companies in the U.K. The company carries out pest control services at Windsor Castle and other Royal properties including Hampton Court Mews. In January 2000, Rokill were awarded HM The Queen’s Royal Warrant for Pest Control Services. Associated companies include Rocare and Henry Jones Joinery. Alec is an active philanthropist, and his interests include tennis, power boating in Poole bay, and amateur magic.
An award winning photographic Creative Director based in London, Steve have been at the forefront of photographic imaging for over twenty years, collaborating with a vast network of clients and developing new and innovative photographic printing practices.
He is currently the Senior Director at Metro Imaging. Taking over the business in 2011, Steve fundamentally changed the direction of the business from one of mainly commercial photographic production to become one of Europe’s most successful and innovative imaging companies.
Steve has dedicated much of his life to education and professional practice and in 2004 was awarded with a Fellowship of the RSA for his services to industry and education. Steve is also a practicing artist with works being held in both private and public collections and is represented by Atlas Gallery in London.
Co-Owner of Prestat Ltd. Prestat is one of London’s oldest chocolate shops. It has been awarded two Royal Warrants: from Her Majesty The Queen and Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The company products are now sold in leading stores (including Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty and John Lewis Partnership) and fine food shops throughout the UK.
Fiona is a Designer Goldsmith graduating from Central St Martins in 1988. She was part-time lecturer there 1991-1997. She has also been a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art and at Ulster University. She has produced many prestigious commissions such as State gifts for The Queen and The Prince of Wales, to whom she holds a Royal Warrant.
Mark Henderson is Chairman of Gieves & Hawkes, the iconic British tailoring company which he lead as CEO from 1996 to 2009. Prior to this he was head of marketing at Alfred Dunhill. He has spent much of his working life in Asia – particularly in China and Japan.
He is chairman of the London Luxury Quarter which promotes Mayfair & St James’s as one of the world’s leading luxury marketplaces and a member of the Council of the Royal Warrant Holders’ Association. He is also a director of Walpole British Luxury, a group of over 150 British brands and institutions formed to further the interests of the British luxury industry.
Mark is a strong supporter of British craft – leading the establishment of Savile Row Bespoke which was formed to protect and promote the art of hand-craft tailoring on Savile Row in 2004 and chairing The New Craftsmen, a Company he founded in 2012.
Mark is also Chairman of proportion>london – a leading British mannequin and bust form manufacturer. And a mentor on the London Business School’s Entrepreneurship Summer School and chairs the Walpole/LBS joint programme. He regularly speaks at conferences and in the media on topics such as craft and luxury.
Neil is the founder and Managing Director of N.E.J. Stevenson Ltd. He trained as a cabinetmaker and furniture designer before starting his own business in 1984. He is highly regarded in his field being a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers, a Brother of the Artworkers Guild and a Royal Warrant holder to Her Majesty The Queen. He has a long standing commitment to training and education having served on the boards of the National Skills Academy for Manufacturing and the Sector Skills Council for Furniture and until recently the Council of the British Institute of Interior Design.
With over 15 years of retail experience with Mappin & Webb London – Karl began his career as a stock keeper for their flagship store and it was there where be began to take a real interest in luxury goods and in particular silverware. Having briefly worked at their head office, Karl’s next move was to look after the companies clients from the Household Division and the Royal Households. This is something that he continues to do to this day.Having worked through the ranks at this prestigious jewellers Karl was made grantee to Mappin & Webb’s Royal Warrant’s in 2014.
Sandra is Head of Conservation at the V&A Museum London. Trained at The Institute of Archaeology, London, in Archaeological Conservation and Material Science after graduation Sandra worked as an on-site conservator in Syria before briefly joining the English Heritage, Central Excavation unit. She then worked at the British Museum for 17 years initially as a Ceramics and glass conservator before moving into management, as Head of Ceramics and Glass conservation, followed by head of Inorganic materials Conservation and briefly acted as Keeper of Conservation. Sandra is currently leading the conservation aspects of the move of the V&A’s textile collection to a new study centre and store. The work will also include the refurbishment of conservation studios adjacent to the storage areas. She is also continuing to develop a work-based learning traineeship at the V&A which bridges the gap for conservators from graduation to accreditation.
Jill trained as a furniture designer at Loughborough and went on to work as a designer for David Barnett designs. She then decided on a career change and went on to become a buyer at Heals. Jill’s career with the Conran Group began over 15 years ago, starting as a furniture buyer at the Conran Shop before going on to become Buying Director. In 2002 she left The Conran Shop to found Conran & Company with Terence Conran, the Brand Licensing division of the Conran Group. Working with Terence and the Conran team, Jill oversees the development of branded products developed using in-house design teams and carefully chosen industry leading partners. 2011 saw the launch of the Conran exclusive design only at M&S collection. The range launched with a preview collection of 90 products in Autumn 2011 including cabinet, upholstery, accessories and soft furnishings. The collection expands to over 300 products in spring 2012 and will be available in over 50 stores. As guardian of the CONRAN brand she develops new opportunities both in the UK and Internationally.
Mark has been in the Jewellery trade for 34 years. He has worked in some of the most prestigious jewel houses such as Garrards , Asprey and now with Mappin and Webb.
His works on restoring ,repairing and renovating priceless pieces, has given him the position of being able to work on Jewellery owned by many VIP’s.
Mark has helped and worked with the Crown Jeweller, whilst working for 14 years at Garrards .
He set up Mappin and Webbs’ first Jewellery Workshop back in 2001 , and now has a team of 8 skilled mounters setters and polishers working with him.
Sheila McKain-Waid is an American born fashion designer who effortlessly blends a paired back American simplicity with a casual elegance and European sense of timelessness. Her work is distinguished by her deep understanding of craftsmanship, draping and luxury fabrics due to having previously designed both womenswear and accessories for Donna Karan, Halston and Oscar de la Renta.
Sheila studied Textile Design at the University of Kansas (BA Hons) before continuing her education in Apparel Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
Now based in London, Sheila has worked as a Creative Consultant for several prestigious luxury brands before becoming Head of Design for Womenswear and Accessories for DAKS – a role she headed for 3 years. She is currently the Creative Director of 130-year-old British Heritage Brand Jaeger and has launched her own line of sportswear under the label Laain. Her catwalk collections have been featured during London Fashion Week, London Fashion Weekend, and at special presentations in Hong Kong and Seoul
Richard has worked in the Royal Household since 1985. In 1978 he chose to work in an apprentice structure rather than take his place at a furniture college. In 1982, he started his own business in Furniture restoration, opening a small workshop in Dorset. In 1985 he started to work in the workshops at Buckingham Palace which was a huge opportunity, he started in the Master’s Department. In 1995 he transferred to the Royal Collection as a conservator – mostly bench-based with lots of other great opportunities to courier objects across the Northern Hemisphere, mostly central Europe and the USA, including most of the large important museums. In 2009 he took on the role of Palace Foreman. He started in February 2010 and began his first official role as a manager. Richard manages a team of sixteen and has responsibilities with three craftsmen, two conservators, one of which is funded by the Royal collection, eleven house porters including a deputy and two seniors.
Becca has been Griffin Gallery Director since January 2013, and has since curated the majority of the exhibitions at the gallery including Water + Colour, Drawing Into Sculpture and PERFECTIoNISM (Part I.). Becca originally trained as a sculptor at Northumbria University, after graduating she began her commercial career at The Biscuit Factory Gallery in Newcastle, rapidly becoming gallery manager and curator. Her career path went on to encompass three years as Arts Development Officer at Kensington & Chelsea council and a similar role at Camden council.
Joanne Cooper is the Director of Sewing Industries Limited. Sewing Industries supply, maintain and rent all types of industrial sewing machines, pressing equipment and accessories from their office in Eye, Suffolk. Joanne has also been a Managing Director of a puzzle company supplying newspapers with pages of crosswords puzzles.
As a Director of The Savile Row Bespoke Association (SRBA) Su’s job is to actively work to support the member companies in the key areas of training, promotional events and the protection and development of the craft of bespoke tailoring on Savile Row. Her role covers lobbying, development of training models, managing international promotional events and financial management.
Her current position has provided invaluable insight into the practical issues experienced by trainees in the work environment. Previous employment in higher education, both as course developer and as a senior manager, has given her important experience of the industry/education interface, and the need for greater promotion of training to business.
Cathy Littlejohn is Projects Director for Hare & Humphreys, the UK’s foremost decoration and restoration company. With a background in both fine art and conservation, and a head for heights, she gained practical experience on many prestigious restoration projects before joining Hare & Humphreys in 2006.
After running major projects for the company she was awarded promotion to the board in 2010. In this role Cathy has extensively directed decoration and restoration projects to nationally-important buildings including museums and Historic Royal Palaces.
Cathy has a passion for the creative use of colour and decoration to enhance interior architecture. She also specialises in the creation of bespoke luxury residential decoration, principally for international clients. She regularly speaks on subjects relating to conservation, paint analysis and the craft of decoration, and is a visiting lecturer at the Architectural Association.