DE­SIGNER TOUCH AT GARAGE

From clutch bags to clutches for cre­ative guru Quentin

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Alan Hayes alan.hayes@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

WHEN you are start­ing up your own car re­pair business, who else would you turn to for help but your mate?

Your hand­bag de­signer mate who has cre­ated posh totes loved by Posh Spice, that is.

Tom Tidi­man has got oil un­der his fin­ger­nails, a life­long me­chanic who started in his dad’s car spares business in South Har­row.

Quentin Mackay is ‘a rare breed of lux­ury ex­pert’, a Cen­tral St Martin’s col­lege grad­u­ate in menswear, a for­mer cre­ative di­rec­tor with Samsonite with de­signs for big names such as Louis Vuit­ton and Lowe on his CV.

His two-han­dle ‘Per­sian’ hand­bag was snapped up by Vic­to­ria Beck­ham. It cost £1,695. That’s an aw­ful lot of spark plugs.

“He used to be a cus­tomer of mine and we just be­came re­ally good friends” ex­plains Tom, 28, who after six months’ of prepa­ra­tion took over Fir Tree Mo­tors in West Dray­ton on Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 1.

Be­fore that, his cus­tomer­turned-friend had been ap­ply­ing his de­signer’s eye to the garage in Hor­ton In­dus­trial Park, off Hor­ton Road, and help­ing out where he could. That does not run to fix­ing a leaky gear box.

Quentin, 43, who th­ese days fo­cuses his ef­forts on The Gor­geous Company with wife, Vija, lives in Northolt.

And just as he has a fol­low­ing among fash­ion­istas, he ‘fol­lowed’ Tom from the garage where he used to work to Fir Tree Mo­tors.

“He’s a good bloke and a re­li­able bloke,” said Quentin.

“It might be seven miles fur­ther out than the old place but as long as my car can make it I will con­tinue go­ing to Tom.

“I’m a de­signer, so if a friend is start­ing a business and I can lend a hand then I will.”

Ob­serv­ing the mantra ‘re­tail is de­tail’, Quentin said he had been able to ad­vise on sig­nage, photographs, web­site and a few other ar­eas.

And as a veteran of big launches – al­beit in front of the as­sem­bled fash­ion press at a pukka London ho­tel with a wedge of celebri­ties – Quentin can, after a fash­ion, em­pathise with his friend as he strikes out on his own.

“It’s one of those ner­vously ex­cit­ing times for him,” he said.

With his own en­gi­neer­ing back­ground – he is a grad­u­ate of the for­mer East­bourne Col­lege of Arts and Tech­nol­ogy in his home town – Quentin won’t be stuck for work if the de­mand for hand­bags that cost more than a new big end should ever dry up.

Tom said: “He loves his cars. He had a Lam­borgh­ini and he is a very clever bloke, so if he wanted to be a car me­chanic he could do it in a cou­ple of months.”

Fir Tree Mo­tors was founded in 1979, and when the pre­vi­ous owner Chris Mid­dle­ton, de­cided to re­tire, Tom not only took on the business but the lease of the premises.

“I have taken on all his cus­tomers too,” he said.

He also took on ap­pren­tice Chad Col­lyer, 18, a West Dray­ton lad who spends a day a week learn­ing his trade at Uxbridge Col­lege in Park Road, Uxbridge, and the rest of the time learn­ing on the job, just as Tom did.

n DRIV­ING AM­BI­TION: Tom Tidi­man had a lit­tle help with his car re­pair business from his cus­tomer-turned-mate Quentin Mackay

Photo by Chris Berry www.buyapho­totms.co.uk

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n STYLISH AD­VICE: Quentin Mackay

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