Following on from our news that Stuart and I are selling our pharmacy interests to David Slade I wanted to share a little more about what the next phase of our business life is going to look like.
We’ve had a number of investments and involvements outside of Epic and Icon for some time now, and have had an Investment Committee structure in place for the past five years where our long term trusted advisors work with us in both assessing opportunities as they present and evaluating their ongoing performance post investment.
It’s now time to formalise that structure into a family office, and think about the potential role that the kids are going to play as they reach adulthood. Somewhat unsurprisingly both kids are displaying not only a keen interest in business management, but also in expressing their opinions, and we want them to have a forum beyond the kitchen table to be able to participate as they grow up and commence their own career journey.
Once we’d reached that conclusion, in true family office fashion we sat around the dinner table and brainstormed branding ideas, with the starting position that the majority of our holding companies have an animal named theme. It’s a long and slightly obscure back story, but back when Sascha was a baby and I was spending more time than ever before at home I got hooked on online shopping via the then emerging eBay platform, and in trying to create an account ‘CathieReid’ got rejected as a user name and the alternative suggested was ‘PinkBadger33’ which Stuart found more than a little amusing. That, combined with my comment at Sascha’s birth that ‘I didn’t look too bad as a first time mum at 31’ – I was actually 32 at the time – then led into the first of our holding companies being named Badger31, and a menagerie of animals has subsequently followed.
As we sat around the table looking at suitable names for our collection of animals we rejected ‘zoo’ and ‘menagerie’ themed names, but liked the concept of setting sail with our animals in an ark. After spending all my life clarifying ‘it’s Cathie with a C not a K’, and then sentencing Sascha to a similar fate ‘yes it’s Sascha with a C’, Arc with a C was a natural iteration. It also aligned nicely with our view that the arc trajectory is going play an important role in our future, not only via my space flight with Virgin Galactic but with the business opportunities that both the commercialisation of space and the continued shift to the cloud is going to deliver.
Next step was Sascha and I putting a brief out on 99designs, and the very first design submitted delivered perfectly. We kept the competition open for a few more days, but that very first design remained our favourite and was the one we selected. From there Sascha and I went on to brief the team at Windsorborn for our website design, who immediately understood our concept, and in a couple of weeks delivered our new online presence.
It’s going to be quite the adventure as we set sail without the anchor piece of pharmacy ownership activity that has stood us in such great stead for the past 20 plus years, but we’re excited about the journey ahead and particular excited about the opportunity for Sascha and Sam to play their own future roles in this next phase.