The Power List | Alexandra Llewellyn
The ‘Rising Stars’. In this week’s Power List we meet Alexandra Llewellyn, founder of her eponymous luxury board games business – and former Walpole Brand of Tomorrow – who discusses her big break in the sector and why mentoring is so important to the next generation of luxury brands and individuals.
Who gave you your first big break?
I would not be where I am today without the continued support and advice from so many people. Harrods was the first store to buy my work in 2011. Darren Walker, their then games buyer, bought a sample of my first backgammon set, and from that day I have worked with Harrods on collaborations and exclusive designs for the store. It was a pivotal encouragement to be supported by such an important, world-renowned British brand.
I am also hugely thankful for the support of the incredible photographer Terry O’Neill, fashion designer Alice Temperley, and the estate of the photographer Milton H. Greene, who have both allowed me into their iconic archives to re-interpret their work and design collaborative backgammon sets. Having your own business you can somethings feel isolated, making these relationships is very important.
How important is mentoring in achieving success in the luxury sector?
I have learnt the most from the knowledge behind the talented teams and individuals in the workshops who make my work. All based in the UK, they have been patient and inspiring and, in turn, we’ve all grown together over the years. When I had just started out I met the wonderful Mel Corfield, then Managing Director at Tom Dixon. The first few years I really felt like I was stumbling around in the dark, and Mel was at the end of the phone for every panicked moment and encouraged me every step of the way. Just to hear the words “don’t worry, this happens to everyone” gave me so much encouragement
Lastly, Walpole, and the Brands of Tomorrow programme, has been such an inspiring platform and support, especially through camaraderie and advice of the other brands, and the exceptional exposure we have had to the true pros. I feel very lucky to be a part of this community and am excited to see where it will take us in the coming years.