Uniquely British, The Household Cavalry
A Uniquely British Story 2014
Working with the Household Cavalry is just that – uniquely British and a very different experience. Having just delivered 10,000 books that have been received with delight, on time, on budget and according to plan, it has proved not only a successful and rewarding experience but also a privilege and absolute pleasure.
The aim of the Household Cavalry in producing a book was very clear; to make the most amount of money with the least amount of risk for their newly created charitable Foundation. 3 options had been identified as potentially viable ways forward. The first route was via a traditional publisher, who would upfront the cost, take control, reap most of the rewards and offer back around 10% of the cover price to the Foundation; second to go Print on Demand to remove the financial investment but compromise on expectations and quality, or thirdly, to look at publishing the book independently where the Cavalry would pay for a service, retain control and keep all the proceeds. We were approached as a potential third option.
A couple of days after the Royal Wedding last year, we got a phone call that made us stand up and almost salute. It was from a captain of the Household Cavalry asking for details about publishing a book about the regiment, using some unique photography they had of the Royal Wedding and from behind the scenes. After picking ourselves up from the floor, and not quite knowing whether the enquiry was genuine, we responded with suggestions, ideas, a proposal and then a meeting – just to chat and offer an insight into the process of independent publishing for the Household Cavalry to maximise revenue on book sales.
Then it was summer and all went quiet, and it was not until the autumn when this was back on their agenda, and the line of enquiry had been upped a notch or two in terms of importance and urgency.
At this stage Uniquely British, The Household Cavalry had just about every publisher in the country knocking on their door in pursuit of this unique opportunity. But not many of those could offer what we could, which is a truly comprehensive, cost effective and personal publishing service that includes professional photography, experienced design, marketing expertise, publishing know how, print and print management, project management with ultimate flexibility, on their terms, and most importantly, to produce a substantial and sumptuous book, in keeping with their exceptional standards and meet, if not surpass, their expectations, that would have the potential to generate an enormous amount of money for charity. We knew we could deliver this – what we had to do was prove it to the Household Cavalry.
We worked with the Commanding Officer and one other officer initially, in pulling together and fine-tuning a brief, specifications, costings and schedule of works that would form the basis of our contract; it wasn’t until the CO signed the contract at the beginning of 2012 that we were officially assigned to the job.
An ‘Opps’ room was established at the barracks in Knightsbridge as our HQ, several officers were deployed on the project and our schedule was put into place. The first, and most pressing job was to locate and collate photography of events since, and including the Royal Wedding, and to ensure all future events the Cavalry were engaged in were covered by at least one professional photographer, which meant either ourselves or freelancer, Julian Calder, who had been covering HCav. and Royal events for the last 25 years.
Our role wasn’t passive, i.e. obtain the files, lay them out and print them; we had to lead the project, often dragging the team to deadlines and decisions. We had to remain focused and diligent, and take responsibility, ensuring that all the Ts were crossed and Is dotted at every stage. Furthermore, we had to work with an organisation, its decision makers and officers that quite possibly has one of the highest profiles and pedigrees in the country.
Print and print management is a crucial aspect of any production and in this case required endless discussion, investigation and testing to find the optimum specification, process and materials to produce a book of high quality that also represented good value. Whilst for a print job of this size, the Far East might be the immediate place to go, it was important for us to be able to work closely and in collaboration with a printer; already having an excellent working relationship with a company in Northern Ireland, allowed us to develop the product with confidence.
Like any project or plan, things get done and ticked off when everyone is happy: concepts, design, layout; photographic selection, editing, shoots; writing, captions, copy editing, proofing; amends, corrections, amends, corrections; intro, foreword, credits; colours, papers, materials; covers, endpapers, dust jacket; funding, sponsorship, endorsements, partners; acknowledgements; more amends, corrections, amends, corrections; marketing, distribution, sales. It was through a lot of hard work from ourselves, traveling up to Knightsbridge for meetings and photo shoots, plus from the dedicated officers at the other end that we pulled the book together, and it was through organisation and effective communication that the project went according to a well devised and executed plan.
Whilst the experience initially felt a bit like a ‘David and Goliath’ type scenario, it is evident that being able, skilled, flexible, willing, intelligent, enthusiastic, mature and ‘can do’ professionals is actually what makes ‘Goliath’.
10,000 books have been delivered to the Household Cavalry, on time, on budget, exceeding expectations, by Tricorn Books! and photographed by Dan Bernard
Uniquely Falklands –
Relatively un-spoilt by human intervention and famous for its abundance and variety of flora and fauna, the Falkland Islands are heaven for any wildlife enthusiast. To see birds and animals living unfettered, in their natural habitat, where they now have ownership of their habitat is both rare and a privilege. Of course, this wasn’t always the case, but – since the formation of Falklands Conservation over 25 years ago, legal intervention and global interest in studying and protecting rare and unique ecosystems, dwindling and rare species – much of the indigenous and other flora and fauna is now protected.
If the way of life changed forever for the Falklanders in April 1982, then so did the speed and pace of economic development with renewed power and water distribution, as well as all types of communication, from road-building projects to broadcast and telecommunications. In the main, Islanders grasped the opportunities for expansion and industry with vigour and energy, responding to new challenges with resourcefulness and pride, while maintaining their independent spirit.
There is a great sense of community throughout the Islands. Crime rates are exceptionally low; people feel secure in their homes and safe outside. It is still described by some as a place where ‘you can leave your front door open with no fears’ or ‘if you drop your wallet you will get it back – with the money still in!’ The native close-knit community is supportive, with traditional values and morals, and between them, they still evoke a frontier feel.
The profile of Falklands society is changing, however. With only around half native-born now, the rest is made up of a multinational mix of temporary contractors, and immigrants from Chile and St Helena who often take up the lower-paid jobs
Uniquely Portsmouth –
Unique in that it is the only island city in the United Kingdom, Portsmouth lies about 60 miles south of London on the south coast. The island, commonly known as Portsea Island, covers an area of about fifteen and a half square miles or 40.25 square kilometres or around five and a half thousand football pitches, roughly 22% of which is green space*. With a population of just over 200,000 this makes it the most densely populated city in the UK outside of London. Despite that, it certainly doesn’t feel so. Maybe because you are never more that 3km from the coast, with its big sky, clear horizons and iridescent light. The relatively few high-rise buildings in the city also helps to create a feeling of openness and space.
With 25.34km of coastline, the Island of Portsea is separated from mainland UK and greater Portsmouth by Portsbridge Creek to the north, Portsmouth Harbour to the west and Langstone Harbour to the east; it has three road bridges and one rail bridge providing access.
Being so well positioned by the sea, it is no wonder that Portsmouth has a long history of ships, sailing and HM Royal Navy, one that has had a profound and lasting effect on the culture, economics, character and heritage of the city. But, why did the navy move and then stay here in the first place? What made Portsmouth so attractive to the strategists and planners who made those decisions? Those answers are found in its landscape, topography and location, and together with its heritage and people, go towards making Portsmouth what it is today.