26 Sep Interview with Helen Ward – Director, What Peggy Did Next
What is What Peggy Did Next?
We offer a full planning and design service for both private clients planning parties, weddings and events or brands looking to create extraordinary experiences. We have gained our knowledge by working for some of the industries finest 5* hotels and venues across London and the South and alongside some of the country’s finest chefs, including Angela Hartnett, Luke Holder and Tony Fleming. We have designed and planned events for luxury brands, high profile clients and celebrities and believe the calibre of events that we have been involved in has given us the ability to create exceptional events with the upmost attention to detail.
On top of events, we also have a wealth of experience within the fashion and interiors industry, as well as running the social media for retail giants and independent businesses’ alike, allowing us to create a multifaceted service list. We offer editorial and interior styling for shoots, social media campaigns or long term social support for brands looking to stand out.
What’s the story behind the name?
Peggy was Helen and Sarah’s Grandmother. She was always so interested in hearing about our work and what event we were planning next, we loved telling her! She sadly passed away before we started our business together, but was very much the driving force. We chose to name the business after her after and I chose to quit the ‘day job’ at Lime Wood to work on What Peggy Did Next full time in January 2018.
Can you tell us a bit more about the dream team that make up What Peggy Did Next?
We have a core team in Helen, Sarah and Karen. We also work with some amazing freelancers to help us bring together larger events and that help to run our busy schedules!
Helen is quite the event guru, having worked for some of the UK’s most exclusive hotel brands from Firmdale (that count the Soho Hotel, Charlotte Street Hotel and Ham Yard amongst their assets) to South Place Hotel and most recently Home Grown Hotels, owners of the critically acclaimed Lime Wood and THE PIG group. Naturally, Helen is the mastermind behind the format and planning of our events, from our own Bridal Bazaar to some of the most exclusive weddings and celebrations in London and the South. She’s worked with the world’s most luxurious fashion, beauty and creative brands and has an enviable client list.
When Sarah isn’t planning WPDN or our client’s marketing campaigns or styling and producing shoots, she is Global Head of Content at Kingfisher PLC, working internationally across their portfolio of home improvement retailers. Sarah cut her teeth in the fashion industry, notably as Editor in Chief of the online trend forecasting portal, MPDClick.com, which was later acquired by WGSN, after working her way up from a journalist and photographer travelling the world to report on catwalk shows. In 2009 Sarah created the popular style and travel blog Sarah-Leigh’s Style Files, which led to her position of International Contributing Editor at OliviaPalermo.com and Fashion Contributor at LoveMyDress.net.
Karen began her career working in PR in the property and culture sectors, before moving to Southampton University Hospitals Trust as Communications & Engagement Manager. Today, Karen oversees Social Media for B&Q Plc, managing the retailer’s campaigns across the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest – recently winning ‘Best Engagement’ at the Pinnacles for 2017’s campaigns. Karen has also held posts as Direct Marketing Manager and Content Specialist for the retail giant.
When you are given a brief what is your starting point in the creative process?
The starting point is to completely understand your client and what their vision is for their private party, wedding or brand. We then create an overall design board showing colours, textures, floral design, tableware suggestions and style references. After this is signed off, we hone in on every single detail, whilst keeping to the budget of course! We are influenced by interior design, fashion, art and pretty much everything around us.
What has been the stand out wedding of your career?
Gosh what a tricky question! Weddings all stand out for different reasons, but I did love a three day extravaganza we created at a hotel in the New Forest. We had three days worth of events and worked with such an amazing group of suppliers. The main party went on until the early hours of the morning and guests were still up when staff came back in the next morning, sipping on Champagne in the hot tub! Coming up in October, we have an incredible wedding at St Giles House in Dorset. Can’t wait to share the photos from that one!
What Peggy Did Next is always ahead of the game in regards to trends. How do you achieve this?
In a way, I think it’s important not to follow trends too much! We try to create designs that are personal to the couple, suit the venue whilst creating forward thinking designs that guests may not have seen before. We are inspired by so many different things and love to include them in our designs.
And one for fun… You have a background working in luxury hotels. If you could choose any hotel to stay in in the whole world, where would you choose?
A tough question! There are so many but Marrakech is at the top of my list of places to visit, so somewhere like the Mandarin Oriental or Beldi Country Club.