We were just finishing work for the day when the phone rang: “The Prime Minister is holding a reception at Number 10 for successful startup businesses on Monday… would you like to attend?” Well, it’s not exactly an invitation you receive every day, so of course we said yes!
After much debate over what to wear (I eventually decided on my favourite dress from People Tree while Joe opted for a suit) we packed up a selection of our textiles and hopped on the train to London. It was very strange to be allowed inside the gates at Downing Street and, after passing through security, the famous door opened and we were invited inside. We weren’t sure quite what to expect from the interior… Joe joked it would be ‘just your average terrace’ while I hoped for something a little grander! I think we were both surprised by how lovely it was. Elegant without being over the top, with beautiful original fireplaces, ornate ceilings and heritage colours. We ascended the famous staircase watched over by signed portraits of Prime Ministers past and down a corridor decorated with modern art, including Henry Moore sketches and – a little surprisingly – prints and neon signs by Tracey Emin. The reception was held in three of the upstairs rooms overlooking the garden of Number 10 with Horse Guards Parade beyond.
We were one of twenty businesses to be invited, including two of our friends from School for Creative Startups – bespoke tailor Pip Howeson and cocktail queen Frankie Snobel from Tipplesworth – which was lovely. We chatted first to James Caan and Lord Young, before David Cameron arrived. He particularly liked our Cob Weave Welsh blankets and Indigo Shibori cushions and was very impressed with our ethical sourcing.
When you run your own business, you get so immersed it can be hard to take a step back and recognise how far you’ve come. Being invited to Number 10 made us realise all we’ve achieved and it was fantastic to think that Decorator’s Notebook had been chosen from so many worthy UK startups. We really enjoyed ourselves and it was an evening we won’t forget in a hurry!
[Photographs: courtesy of 10 Downing Street / Start-up Loans]