My Working Life by Adam Aston

Adam Aston, group sales director at Thorns on meeting his wife and friends through the industry, ’shelf’ schemes and appearing in a Guns N’ Roses video.

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I am officially known as a cockney, I was born within the sound of bow bells at Whitehapel.


I used to live in Edgware, went to school in Middlesex and was probably a nightmare to teach – I didn’t really channel my loudness until I got into sales.


We moved to Chigwell, home of Birds of a Feather, when I was eight, where I found my spiritual home in Essex.


My dad had a wholesale business selling bags and luggage in the likes of Petticoat Lane and Roman Road.


I left school thinking I was going to take over the suitcase and luggage empire, but that plan didn’t last very long. We got out when there was a property boom.


I learned a few lessons about working with family. You have to make some definitive and sometimes quite harsh business decisions.


What I did grow up around and surrounded myself with was people who had done well for themselves. They were entrepreneurial and just found their way in life.


I’ve naturally got a big mouth and was given a job in a call centre, selling anything from mobile phones to conservatories to kitchen windows.


Thirteen years ago, I wanted a completely different environment in which to do sales, so I went for an interview and fell in love with the idea of exhibitions but didn’t know much about the industry.


When I first started, I thought it was ‘shelf’ scheme.


I had a baptism of fire when I turned up onsite for a build at the ICE exhibition in a suit. After wheeling round some barrows of furniture, I’d ripped my suit in three different places. That taught me.


In this industry, you’re either in it for five minutes or for the rest of your life. I know I’ll be in it for the rest of my life.


I have literally paved my life through events. I met my wife through the industry, I’ve made some great friends and I’ve travelled the world in the job.


I haven’t found a TV career yet, although I got through the first round of The Apprentice nearly 10 years ago. They ask you to take a four-month sabbatical from work so I had to step out.


I appear briefly in the Appetite for Destruction tour video for Guns N’ Roses. This was about 20 years ago when I had long hair, an earring and was jumping up and down on someone’s shoulders.


I was made to cut my hair by my friends. It was my trademark but it was absolutely terrible.


In my vanity and in preparation for my holiday in Miami this year, I was training a lot in the gym. I was probably focusing on the wrong thing and dropped a 15k weight and shattered two toes.


All jokes aside, it was probably the most embarrassing moment of my life going up on stage at the EN Awards, open to being completely ripped apart with a big boot on. Not my most defining moment.


My twin boys of 13 both play football, so most of my weekends are spent by the side of a football pitch.


They’re growing fast, I don’t know what gene they got but they’re already as tall as me.


I never want to break away from the sales side of our business.


Hopefully in years to come, I’ll be even more successful at what I do. Do I want to take over the world? No. Do I want to be the best at what I do and earn good money? Always.

 

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