Entrepreneurial father-son pair Hugh and Robbie Hoyes-Cock talk business & family
Entrepreneurial father-son pair HUGH and ROBBIE HOYES-COCK recently celebrated 30 glorious years in Singapore to much fanfare. JASSMIN PETER sits down with the pair, who speak candidly about what attracted them to spearhead their respective fields and the reality of being two peas in a pod.
Founder of B-Yond Luxury Parties
TF: How did you get started in lux entertainment?
RHC: I was working at Citibank as a Management Associate Trainee and wanted to do a little something fun on the side. So I partnered with a mate who had just moved to Singapore from Dubai where he had organised major A-list parties. When I made more money on the first event than my day job paid me in a month, I realised this was a more gratifying career path from a financial perspective.
TF: Tell us about some of your key events.
RHC: We've been organising The Podium Lounge F1 Ultra Lounge Party at The Ritz-Carlton since 2009. It caters for more than 2,500 socialites, celebrities and high net worth clients over three nights, and we work with a number of luxury brands that use this party as a platform to entertain their clients over the Grand Prix weekend.
TF: What do you enjoy most about the entertainment industry?
RHC: The entertainment industry - especially in Singapore - is extremely dynamic and at the forefront of everyone's lifestyle. Not a day goes by without a new opportunity for partnership arising, and having had seven years of experience in this segment, we're in a really good space to exploit these new opportunities.
TF: How would you best describe your relationship with your father?
RHC: My dad describes me as his clone. I used to deny this but I'm beginning to see the truth in it now. I followed his path into entrepreneurship and like to think I possess the same business acumen that has made him so successful. We're best friends and we share the same sense of humour, zest for life and work and
TF: What are some of the greatest life lessons your father has taught you?
RHC: My dad is the most honest person I've ever met. He also doesn't hold a grudge, and I've learnt not to rollover arguments or to harbour ill-feelings towards anyone for too long. And he has always taken a really conservative approach to wealth management, which has served him well over the long run.
TF: Any memorable moments with dad?
RHC: My dad's speech at my wedding last year brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't believe he remembered so many things I've done over the years. It was so heartwarming to hear how proud he is of me and how much he loves me. There really is no better feeling in the world than that!
Master Franchisee for O'Briens Asia-Pacific
TF: Why did you move from Greece to Singapore?
HHC: I first visited Singapore in 1979 as part of a company conference and was blown away by the place and the friendly people. So I asked my bosses then and there that should a job opportunity arise in Singapore, my name be on the top of the list. In 1982 I got that move.
TF: In 1999, you became the Master Franchisee for O'Briens in Asia-Pacific. How has the brand developed over the years?
HHC: From the very beginning we set O'Briens to be a chain of lifestyle cafes, rather than the pure sandwich bars in Ireland or the UK. Our gourmet coffees, speciality teas and freshly squeezed juices still account for 35 precent of our sales. As we progressed we paid more attention to the sources of our food and beverages to ensure only natural premium cuts are used and to eliminate all processed foods. This resulted in an endorsement from the Health Promotion Board.
In 2003 O'Briens worldwide became a major sponsor of the Special Olympics. In Asia we raised funds to support the games in Dublin and also to fund the trip down for the Malaysian and Singapore teams. I had no experience in fundraising or connecting with kids with intellectual disabilities, but when I saw the energy people like ex-Singapore swimming champion Ang Peng Siong, former Singapore President Nathan and former Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen brought to the table I became hooked. O'Briens is also proud to sponsor the Singapore team participating in the Special Olympics World Winter Games
in South Korea.
TF: How would you best describe your relationship with your sons?
HHC: It's not always easy being Papa Bear, but we've always liked the same things. I guess that's the spin-off when you have kids in your early 20s. They end up being your
TF: An unforgettable Father's Day memory?
HHC: Father's Day is not just one day in a year, it's every day. But my one special memory was when both my sons Alex and Robbie took me to the Marriott Hotel for brunch, and we just sat at the al fresco area watching the world go by and chatting all afternoon.
TF: How has fatherhood changed you?
HHC: I've been a father for nearly 33 years so I hardly remember what it's like not to be. I can't imagine life without my boys.
TF: What are some life lessons your sons have taught you?
HHC: Being a parent creates a focus in your life where you can't escape your responsibilities. You realise it's no longer about you, but about those little people you brought into this world.
Posted June 2012