Episode show notes

Nick Ashley-Cooper’s family business story is utterly unique, truly captivating, and demonstrates the power of human spirit in the face of adversity.

Placed at the helm of St Giles House & Estate after the loss of two family members in just 6 months, Nick proudly follows a legacy while giving back to the local community through other charitable endeavours.

This episode of It Runs In The Family features a story that’s equal parts tragic, moving, and uplifting as we share how this family business has absolutely thrived.

This episode covers:

  • Nick’s upbringing and early career in the New York DJ scene
  • Responding to his father and brother’s tragic passing
  • How Nick channelled his focus to evolve St Giles
  • The genius move of building a nightclub underneath a wedding venue
  • Taking pride in legacy, and planning a legacy of your own
A graphic with Robin, Judy and Ollie.

Episode highlights

“At the heart is this beautiful house that’s also evolved and changed a lot through the generations. That’s been a big part of my focus the last 15 years or so, it’s been bringing this house back to life.” – 3:10 – Nick Ashley-Cooper

“Succession planning is a big part of any estate, and that transition to the next gen can cause lots of issues and is definitely part of the dynamic of an estate. Then I suppose there’s also this fact that most estates in this sort of time period are having to be very diversified, have lots of different businesses going on, it’s become quite complicated.” – 5:05 – Nick Ashley-Cooper

“I was always only interested in seeing how I could get into the music business. That really was my sole focus, which eventually led me to New York where finally I had some degree of success as a DJ and a club promoter. At that stage of my life, early to mid-20s, sadly my father and brother died within about six months of each other.” – 8:45 – Nick Ashley-Cooper

 “What I felt at the time was that I had this sort of confidence in myself for having made it to some degree in New York, and there was a business growing there. I sort of cut my teeth on the streets of Manhattan, but there was no formal qualification that I could go and show back to the good folk in England.” – 14:30 – Nick Ashley-Cooper

“We’ve always started out on the basis that it must be a home first, and then a business second, so that sense of ownership over the place is the most important priority, and that everything else has to sort of fit in around that. I hope we’ve got that balance right.” – 23:50 – Nick Ashley-Cooper

“Someone said to me quite early on, you’re never really running a place until you’ve hired everyone, and they’re all your own people. That’s only really happened in the last 4-5 years. It’s been really rewarding for me to see that, and the cultural shift that’s happened over those years.” – 33:10 – Nick Ashley-Cooper

“I feel that in some part, given the opportunities I’ve had, that I’ve always felt a sense of responsibility to give back and create space and time in my life to get involved in charities and help the community that I live around.” – 44:15 – Nick Ashley-Cooper

“Communication is the one thing that seems to always get in the way of families. Yeah. How you communicate your different desires and priorities and your personalities between you and your spouse, or you and your children; with all these problems, it ultimately doesn’t make it easier if you talk about them, but if you don’t talk about them, that’s where things go completely wrong.” – 52:15 – Nick Ashley-Cooper

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