Beachroad Magazine invade the household of Gallery One Retail director Jessica Spalding and husband Ed and check out their eclectic mix of vintage, curios and collectibles sourced on their many travels.
Jess was born in Bath, raised in Essex and has a house in East London. She studied Fashion Buying for Retail at Manchester Metropolitan University and after realising how badly paid Buying roles are (initially) she went into Retail Management instead. I got my first Management position with Topshop before I had even finished my final exams! After 6 fabulous years with Top Shop, Jess moved to London and joined Banana Republic and subsequently All Saints. It was whilst she was running the All Saints Flagship store in Spitalfields, London that an opportunity came along to join Gallery One as their Area Manager. Spending 2 years working in London before being asked to join the Middle Eastern team as Retail Operations Manager. She persuaded her Husband Ed to move to Dubai we rented out our house and jumped on a plane! 18 months later Jess is now the Retail Director and oversees all avenues of Retail from Wholesale to Franchise, Stores to product procurement.
Where do you like to eat, shop, explore in our community? //
I love the Surf House and Stomping Grounds for kick-arse coffee. Mercato for Topshop and quick Spinneys trips.
Salon Ink for fabulous Balayage with Melissa and West LA Boutique for the type of fashions you just can’t get anywhere else in Dubai.
What inspired you to join Gallery One and any challenges involved? //
I initially joined for a well needed change from fashion retail but I also wanted to work for a small, growing company where I could influence change in a retail environment as supposed to being on the end of someone else’s retail vision. Having spent years working on the shop floor I know what can make or break a team and if you don’t look after your people, you’ll get nowhere. The same retail principles are required but doing them in a different country has been a huge challenge for me, you have to learn a certain way of doing business here and the skills you think you have, get flipped up-side-down when you start trying the same method as you would use in the UK.
I love it though, and Gallery One is an incredible brand. We really are like a family and we work very hard to provide this market with something unusual and beautiful that caters for all levels of budget and taste. Art shouldn’t be intimidating, buy what you love!
Your take on Dubai as a city and its growth? //
I had been to Dubai a few times before I moved here and in all honestly I didn’t like it very much. It seemed very disconnected and there was no obvious hub or soul. Then, I moved here and you soon start to learn where the hidden gems are and the amount of interesting places there are to experience is still one of Dubai’s greatest allures for me. The shiny and glamorous appeals to my inner Essex girl but couple that with the beach and plenty of places to rummage around looking for quirky things for my villa means that I am in no hurry to leave!
Jess answers the Beachroad Magazine Q&A //
NAME? // Jessica Spalding.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // Serving Ice Creams at my Aunts Café on Southend seafront.
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION // Retail Director, Gallery One.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // Edward.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // Losing people I love.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // Primary school- losing a gold Bunny brooch from my red school coat and feeling utterly bereft.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // I can't chose just one! I can say that the women in my life are all role models and inspirations- especially my Mum.
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // A beautiful Handmade Leather Journal from a UK brand called Undercover.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // Try not to worry- everything will be fine.
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // I’m really bossy.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // Cruelty to children and animals.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? // I’d be really uncomfortable with a movie being made about me! But Marion Coutilliard would be my aspirational choice.
FAVOURITE MUSIC // UK Garage.
LAST RECORD YOU BOUGHT? // Communion by Years and Years.
FAVOURITE BOOK? // Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Kate Atkinson.
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // To Kill a Mocking Bird- I’d never read it before!.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // Choking on a gobstopper- my Dad had to use the Heimlich maneuver on me.
FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // Rome or anywhere in India.
LEAST FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // I’ve not yet found anywhere that doesn’t give me something back but, I don’t understand the fuss about Paris.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // With my Husband: Eating, drinking, reading and watching some choice trash TV!
WHY DUBAI? // Gallery One.
ARE YOU SPORTY? // It has been known. I’m unattractively competitive.
BEACH OR DESERT? // Beach.
URBAN OR RURAL? // Urban.
CATS OR DOGS? // 6 months ago I’d have said Dogs but we now have a rescue Cat called Mew and it’s love.
COFFEE OR TEA? // Coffee.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // The Lads (they know who they are) and my colleague Samantha, especially on 'Australian Thursdays’. Don’t ask.
WHATS MAKES YOU CRY? // Everything- I am renowned for it. I blame my Mother, as children we used to mock her for the same trait.
YOUR MESSAGE? // “What’s the worst that’s going to happen?”. It took me until I was 31 to live in a country other than the UK and I wish I had done it so much sooner. Don’t be scared, you can always go back!