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ITB Commercial Agent Profile, Frank Walsh

We have a conversation with Frank on his house boat on the Thames about sustainability, fashion and the future.

We recently sat down and caught up with our friend Frank Walsh, a leading Commercial Agent at ITB here in London. We first met Frank as he was establishing Paradigm Hub, a platform focused on how to help brands think about and discuss sustainability in relation to their own business model. The aim of the platform is to help brands drive this messaging forward in their own practice, and through positive messaging. His commitment to sustainability has permeated both his personal life decisions and his career, and in this interview we hear a little more about his views on this.

Frank: I’ve lived on and off the water for 3 years, always with the same ‘boatmate’ – my friend Charlotte Woodroofe. She’s an interior designer who also designed the entire thing from scratch.  Efficient, sustainable design runs throughout the boat, from the angle of our kitchen shelves to the drainage system, everything needs to be adapted specifically for the constant movement of the river.

I feel at home on the water, it’s an incredibly connected and relaxed place to be. Pretty much the closest to nature you can get whilst still in central London.I’m fascinated by how people live, their homes, the products they use, the clothes they wear…in particular what level of care they take over each. Who made their clothes and wares? How do you maximise your home, your clothes and your products to the best of their potential?

I often find myself discussing sustainable living practices with friends and clients. In fact I’ve discussed it so much that last year I formed a collective with one of my most sustainably-minded friends Henry Simonds, a Los Angeles based executive at Saatchi + Saatchi, called Paradigm Hub.

Paradigm Hub is a platform consisting of a young, diverse group of professionals who collaborate to transform business for the better. In partnership with the Soho House Group, we organise a program of debates for Soho House members to discuss the topics that shape our lives today. These range anywhere from architecture and design to technology and psychology, all with the overarching goal of helping our audience think and behave differently towards sustainability. Following the success of these forums, we altered our focus to providing customised workshops that help start-up organisations positively influence their audience whilst driving participation in their product or service.

My day job as a commercial agency to fashion stylists and film makers also brings me to topics around sustainability. Caused-based campaigns have taken off over the last few years. Pharrell Williams has designed a collection with denim brand G Star called RAW for the Oceans, which is all made from yarn spun with recycled plastic collected from the world’s oceans. Adrien Grenier has doggedly supported Dell’s efforts toward cleaning up their global waste contribution. Chivas Regal has launched ‘The Venture’, providing social entrepreneurs with funding to help them succeed whilst having a positive impact on their communities. Global brands and their audience want to make the world a better place!