How did Loaf come about?
I spent 8 years running my own food factory making soup for the likes of Pret A Manger. After I sold it I went to buy myself a bed and found the whole process exorbitantly expensive, time consuming and complicated. So I started The Sleep Room (now Loaf) in 2009. What I didn’t know then was that furniture design was my hidden passion – I love it and wouldn’t want to do anything else for all the tea in China.
How do you relax/switch off?
Long summer holidays with my wife Missa and our son Horace in Ibiza where my sister has a house. Otherwise I cook most nights with Missa before tucking into an episode of Mad Men or In Treatment with Gabriel Byrne.
The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman by Bruce Robinson who also wrote the film Withnail & I. It’s about a young boy growing up and discovering the realities of family life. I have given this book to countless people as his pithy turn of phrase is both agonizingly funny and painful. No other book has made me laugh this hard. And like Robinson’s film, this is a modern classic.
Chariots of Fire. My grandfather was part of the 1924 British athletics team that the film was based on. And the early scenes were also filmed at my old school so it’s always been extra poignant for me. The film’s soundtrack was one of the first records I ever bought. I remember being aged 8 sitting on my parents’ cork floor listening to Vangelis’ score over and over again imagining I could run as fast as a leopard. A feat I sadly never achieved in reality.
Favourite website or blog?
Weather.com. I have been a weather nerd ever since school. I check out the weather every morning for most of the places around the world I have ever visited so I can imagine what’s happening there. This website is the only one that in my experience is accurate…to the nearest hour!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Sleeping tablets. I’m a terrible sleeper as I get over-excited about ideas: rather ironic given that I sell beds for a living.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Reduce, reduce, reduce. My best friend is an Oxford don who taught me that it is difficult to have a simple idea. And the best way to get there is to take out a red pen and keep reducing your thoughts until you distil them down to one absolute gem.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I listen to pirate house music radio stations when in the car like Point Blank or Passion FM. I cut rather a sad figure as I’m no spring chicken, but I love the uplifting vibes and happy thoughts of Ibizan summers that it brings.
Charlie Marshall is the founder of Loaf