Simon’s earliest memory was a precursor to his career in design. As a kid he would spend much of his time designing and being creative with his dad, an experience and memory that stays with him to this day, pushing him to continuously be creatively curious and dream big. Before his dad passed away, a pivotal moment brought them even closer in their creative journey together. A golden ticket trip to Disneyland would be the spark that ignited the love of theatre and experience in him. Being transported into this magical world where everyone’s day to day seemed to slip away would have a profound impact on him and his career. It started an intuition in him that he has honed over career and uses in his day to day decision making.
“ To this day I still have the scrapbook I made from this trip when I was 10. When I look back at the pictures they aren’t of Mickey Mouse or the floats and characters - they are of the details of the houses, the stained glass windows, the different sets and scenery that created this magical world. I was documenting through the lens of an explorer. I had no idea then that this would shape my career going forward”
Simon originally pursued a career in Spatial design, working across Theatre, TV and Fashion Editorial work.
“Working on Reality TV gave me such a vast understanding of how people used space whilst also giving me a very broad education on how to deal with pressure and practicalities. Theatre allowed me to understand how to directly affect audiences through spatial design and Fashion Editorial allowed me to create magic”
TV, Theatre and Fashion were all steps on his journey. Like a contemporary Disneyland, these worlds enabled him to dream big without many constraints. This allowed his creative and strategic mind to grown and enabled him to hone his empathy towards an audience.
His empathy and intuition would become a powerful tool in his work and his next move would see all of these skills come together in one place. As a creative at an events agency, he was now able to see in real-time how people reacted to the spaces, experiences and ultimately one another. As well as truly seeing what happens when you create with the goal of emotionally connecting with an audience.
He continued to work in Events designing for the likes of Conde Nast, Este Lauder, L’Oreal and H&M. At the same time continuing his work in TV and Editorial. What was becoming clear was he was uniquely able to merge all of these experiences into creating moments of magic.
Through creative exploration with clients, Retail began to enter Simons work. From Window design, Art Installations, Retail design and consumer strategy it was a new landscape for Simon to create an experience for people with a very commercial drive. At this time he took a Creative Lead role with retail guru Mary Portas, diving in headfirst into heading the retail event and experience section of her agency. During his time there he embraced the high-pressure challenges presented and created great work for Mercedes, Clarks Giles Deacon and Westfield.
“After crossing over so many lines I realised that though theses worlds seemed distant from one another, I was actually doing the same thing across them all. This realisation really fuelled my growth and curiosity in the world of experience as a wider term.”
When global fashion brand Topman came knocking Simon took on the challenge of being their Global Creative Manager. Working across all global visual elements from Store Design, Events and marketing, Seasonal Launches and collaborations, it was his biggest challenge to date. Taking it in stride he led his team in running over 300 stores across Europe, USA, Asia and Australia.
Simons next role as ECD took him to Amsterdam, a melting pot of creativity, acceptance and openness. The perfect place for him to grow into his new role. With this came working for one of his biggest clients to date, Nike. What was a crazy ride also solidified a plan that Simon had been working on for a while. It was time to open his own creative studio.
“ I knew I wanted to open my own studio, a place where I could merge my experience in brand consultancy with my extensive design and experiential background. I had worked brand and agency side and I wanted to take all of that knowledge and experience and develop it with my own vision."
He established HATTER. Using his surname it was a full-circle moment for him. It was a nod to his dad, the driving force of his creativity, he had passed away not long after their trip to Disneyland. But HATTER also reflected the work that the creative studio does - personal human experiences with a touch of theatricality and showmanship, reflecting Simon’s own journey. Rooting the studio in the belief that true experiences can change peoples lives - HATTER was born.
As a creative Simon combines his cultural knowledge and empathy with conceptual design and strategy. His ability to walk a fine line between all of these allows him to achieve his goal of creating real human experiences. Experiences that give people a respite in their day to day and allow them that magical moment they remember and cherish forever.