As my brother Sam and I grew from toddlers to teenagers, Virgin grew from a record label to a global brand. Dad has always believed in the power of flexible working, which was wonderful as we got to spend so much time with him growing up, and he would hold meetings with anyone from Mick Jagger to the Transport Minister from our home. Whether it was Janet Jackson or the Rolling Stones, we never knew they were famous - to us they were simply people Dad worked with!
Our home was always full of the brilliant people who worked at Virgin with telephones ringing, fax machines spewing out paper, laughter, chatter and a wonderful feeling of excitement. This was our 'normal' and flipping through Virgin By Design brought all of these wonderful memories back to life.
My overwhelming feeling when flicking through the book was one of pride. I'm so proud of the brand and the family that thousands of individuals have helped to build over the last 50 years. For each and every one of us, this book is so personal.
I particuarly loved looking at the photos and reading the stories behind Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Megastores back in the day. As a family business, Dad would always bring me, my brother Sam, my mum Joan, Grandaddy Ted and Granny Eve to the launch events and the fabulous inaugural flights all over the world! We may have been incredibly young but they are memories we’ll never forget.
I learnt a few new things as I curled up on the sofa and studied the pages. It turns out a few centuries ago our family name was actually ‘Brandson’ - so a brand book seems extra fitting!
I’ll also admit that I shed a few tears the first time I read it. Looking back at the photos of Dad's ballooning expeditions was bittersweet. I remember I would follow Dad around like a puppy dog for days before he undertook those dangerous record breaking attempts. There were plenty of tears of laughter too though. I can’t quite believe some of the ridiculous costumes he would wear and the cheeky stunts they pulled off!
I’ve now worked for Virgin for well over a decade and my heart swelled when I got to the pages featuring the amazing work of Virgin Unite and Big Change. Reading the stories about the people who drive our purpose strategy every day and detailing the background of organisations such as The Elders and The B Team reminded me how our people achieve remarkable things each and every day.
Our people are at the heart of every Virgin experience, and we know a brand is nothing without the faces behind it (and in front of it). It’s a legacy and a part of the business that I’m passionate about driving forward.
Virgin By Design really captures the audacity, innovation, people-power and cheeky nature that makes Virgin so special, so human and so loved - I’m so excited to introduce it to the world!
You can order a copy online and it’s also stocked in bookstores across the UK. You won’t have to look hard either, it’s got a bright red cover of course.