Our readers are anxious to hear about the love triangle portrayed on the show between you, Proudlock and Sophia….Do you fancy Sophia?Were you annoyed at Proudlock for sleeping with her?
I had known Sophia for a long while, and even after the whole thing we’re still very close. I wasn’t really sure whether I did have feelings for her; I think if anything, hearing that he slept with her catalysed my realisation that I felt something. Proudlock is a very good friend, and I’m not the type of person to blame him for doing this, he didn’t know that I liked her.
How do you negotiate between your persona on the show and your image within a business sphere? Or would you say that they are one?
I would say they are very much one and the same- I really am just myself on the show. I find that it’s the best strategy in life. The cameras don’t particularly affect me.
You write in your recent book, Boulle’s Jewels that ‘A breakup should be a mutually motivational experience’- have you had any life-changing romantic rela- tionships yourself?
Well yes, I think I’ve had a lot of relationships like this. Many relationships in your life, whether they be romantic, business or friendship, end up having a pro- found effect on you and changing the way you think.
In your book, you also talk about your time at boarding school: beetles, locusts and crickets in the atrium- have you always been a bit of a maverick?
Yeah I suppose, I really think people should have the confidence to be themselves. Nothing comes from denying yourself that, and it’s how you find yourself. Not in the ‘airy-fairy’ finding themselves sense, but just in term of making yourself the person you want to be.
What are the aspects that make you unique?
A very cosmopolitan upbringing (Francis was raised in France, and lived in Florida between the ages of 11-13 before starting at a UK boarding school). Travel, experiencing lots of different kinds of people whilst living in different places, different cultures, and seeing the similarities and differences between them. I think this gave me a unique perspective on modern society, it was very much the making of me.
Did you feel like a small fish in a big pond during your brokerage deals at Edinburgh University? It must have been a little overwhelming to be dropped in the deep end so young.
No I didn’t feel like that. I was interacting with a lot of people much older than me, running the business from Edinburgh whilst liaising with London.When I started off in buying and selling commodities, it was very much about being ambitious and looking to branch out of the more typical student businesses of running club nights and club promotion. Whilst I think this is a great starting off point for entrepreneurial students, it’s better to start thinking big, even at so young an age. Personally, I started branching out into business from when I was as young as 16; I have always been ambitious.
Do you have any advice for budding student entrepreneurs?
A lot of it is to do with the type of person you are: if you’re ambitious and motivated to do well then you will often succeed. In terms of investment, my website initiative Fundmine offers funding to young entrepreneurs.
You mention a lot of ‘fireable at- tributes’ in your book- many of which consist of bad dress sense. How important do you think appearance is in getting ahead?
I think it’s quite obvious that it’s very essential. You’re always going to be judged on how you present yourself, it is often a large reason why someone might offer you a job. First impressions really do count, so people should take heed of their appearance.
You have a painting of yourself holding a globe. What more is there to come for Francis Boulle- what are your current plans to ex- tend your empire?
I look at whatever is relevant, whatever is current. What is out there, is out there because I want it to be. If it’s not out there, there’s just not a niche for it yet.