Ann Sadler is celebrating 20 years since launching her PR company Sadler & Co. Here she talks about luxury destinations, the changing face of Chelsea and the benefits of some face to face time
Words: Mark Kebble
Never have I been so relieved to be inside on a day when the thermostat is touching 30 degrees outside. London is baking, finally, but dressed in a suit it’s the last thing I wanted – until I found myself in one of 11 Cadogan Gardens’ impressive suites, with its wonderful air con, to meet with the woman who has headed up its relaunch PR, Ann Sadler.
Anyone who is anyone in Chelsea will know the founder of Sadler & Co. Ann Sadler and her team boast some of the most luxurious resorts and hotels on their client list, but that was all a distant dream back in 1996 when she decided to go it alone. ‘I was working for another PR agency at the time,’ she recalls.
‘My children were young and I decided to go it alone because of the independence, and the work/life balance it gave me. It was nerve-wracking as I wondered, due to the fact I wasn’t at a big agency, if people would still speak to me. But it ended up working!’
Her first clients back then were the Coral Reef Club in Barbados and its sister hotel The Sandpiper, both of which refreshingly remain a part of Sadler & Co’s roster. It’s no surprise as Sadler proves to be a very personable interviewee, and one who appears to hark back to some forgotten times. ‘I maintain face to face meetings, as I think that’s very important for discussing ideas, something you don’t get with an email exchange,’ she insists. ‘Things in PR have changed of course. Having worked with journalists for years, we now have a whole new breed who are bloggers, instagrammers, influencers and for some of our clients the remit is wider to embrace these.’
Has Sadler & Co as a company changed much over 20 years? ‘I like to think we have got the same values,’ she considers, ‘which is having strong relationships with influential media and strong relationships with clients. I would say we have grown organically. I took the decision early on that, rather than be a one size fits all, we would focus on that luxury sector and almost without exception all of our clients we have today are privately owned.’
Nearly all my working life I have been based in SW3. The Cadogan Estate has done well here, I particularly like what has been done at Duke of York Square
You will see to the right some of Sadler’s personal highlights from the last 20 years, but her relationship with Chelsea goes back even further. ‘Nearly all my working life I have been based in SW3,’ she says (her first job was working with the designer Ossie Clark on the King’s Road). ‘The Cadogan Estate has done well here, I particularly like what has been done at Duke of York Square – their Saturday market is fabulous. Have you been to the Rolling Stones exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery? It’s noisy, but great. You have Cadogan Hall, two good cinemas on the King’s Road… I love the fact you have got all that in Chelsea.’
So Sadler & Co is 20 years young, but does its founder remain ambitious for the future? ‘I am enjoying diversifying slightly,’ Sadler says. ‘We have recently started working with a couple of design clients. A lot of the hotels we work with have a design element to them and I enjoy working with designers. One is Bannenberg & Rowell, the luxury yacht designers, and we have also started to work with Kitesgrove, founded by a young and very creative French designer called Sophie Elborne, and we will be launching their new development in Harrington Gardens soon.’ Hot stuff indeed.
22-24 Ives Street SW3 2ND; 020 7581 4111; sadlerandco.com