My Event World - Ryan Clement

Ryan Clement, company director at Clement Worrall, on starting a business in a recession, renovating his country cottage and swapping astrophysics for a career in catering.

My Event World - Ryan Clement
My Event World - Ryan Clement

I got into the events industry because I was studying for a master’s degree in astrophysics at Kings College, London and worked in kitchens for a few different catering and event companies to pay my way through the course. When I left I realised I had spent more time in kitchens than I had in the classroom and with the amount of hours that chefs put in, if you are prepared to listen and learn you can rise through the ranks pretty quickly. I had to make a choice and events won, if I’m honest, I’m very glad, I always struggled with the maths.

I have worked here since my business partner, Lyndon and I founded Clement Worrall in 2010. We had both held high profile roles at other event companies and had worked together for six years before starting the company. We work fantastically well together, like-minded in some ways but confident enough to challenge each other if we disagree. We soon realised we both have unique and complementary attributes that, when combined, added up to a lot more than the sum of their parts. So we decided to take the plunge, became captains of our own ship, and haven’t looked back since.

I was attracted to this particular role because it is a completely new challenge for me, and one that I absolutely love. Managing and growing your own business requires you to develop and hone skills that you just don’t use in kitchens and it can be quite daunting, I think that’s why so few people make the transition from back of house to client facing roles. Alongside the planning, strategy development and execution of our events and all of the day to day admin, personnel and financial management that comes with running any company, a lot of my time is spent meeting clients and pitching for new business, something I have never had to do before and a real art which I am, slowly, beginning to learn.

Not many people know that Clement Worrall exists. Although I’m sure that will all change over the next 12 months.

My worst experience at an event was... we have been very fortunate so far that we have not had to deal with anything that couldn’t be fixed; it all comes down to preparation and planning for any contingency. The devil is in the detail.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s to be adaptable. Starting a business in the depths of one of the UK’s worst recessions has taught me that you need a flexible business strategy and some really creative thinking to be able to deliver the quality that clients expect at the price they are willing to pay.

The best event I’ve been involved in was an unbelievable five-day incentive event we hosted in May last year for fifty American executives. We planned every element of an amazing itinerary from the moment they touched down in their company jets to give them a real showcase of the best London has to offer. From lunch at Hampton Court Palace, tea at Claridges and the best seats in the house at the Globe it was an incredible experience. On the final night, as the crowds of tourists snapped away pictures of the twenty five chauffer driven vintage Rolls Royce’s parked in St Paul’s courtyard that we had scoured the country for, it was very satisfying to stand back and think ‘I made that happen’.

If I could do it all over again I would it’s far too early to ask that question, I’ve barely started yet.

The one thing I can’t stand is shoddy workmanship and cutting corners, either do it properly or not at all.

Outside of work I spend my time trying, and failing, to finally finish renovating the country cottage I bought over three years ago.

If money were no object I would employ a team of builders to finish the cottage for me.

The one event I will never miss my daughter’s birthday. Daisy was born in August 2010, four months premature and weighing less than a pound she was in hospital for eight months and we almost lost her on a number of occasions. Thankfully she is doing really well now though, in great health and of course is very well fed.

The next 12 months will be another exciting, exhilarating and challenging year for Clement Worrall, things have moved really quickly and we are way ahead of where we thought we would be at this stage, we are pitching for some fantastic, high-profile events this year and it is time now to start consolidating the company structure to prepare ourselves for the future.

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be my business partner Lyndon has a prodigious memory for names; he even remembers the names of people pets for goodness sake. If I could switch places with him for a few seconds every time we bumped into a client it would make my life a lot easier.

If I ruled the event industry I wouldn’t change a thing; we’ve received nothing but support, advice and encouragement since founding the company and it is wonderful to work in an industry where enterprise and enthusiasm is so warmly welcomed.

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