You know the name, now get to know the person. George Georgiou, managing director of Essential Embroidery Design, talks about his love of scuba diving, Cuban cigars, and cooking a mean Greek barbecue

How and when did you start your career in the industry?

Essential Embroidery Design started back in 1998, but prior to that, I’d been involved in a family business manufacturing leather belts for the fashion industry. When fashion turned away from belts, we decided to separate and each go our own way. I had a lot of friends in the promotional industry who suggested that I should look at embroidery, as they said it was a sector that wasn’t being serviced properly. So I researched it a little bit and took the plunge!

What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you at work?

In the early days, we had a major role in the supply of all the clothing for the rebrand of the telecoms company One 2 One to T-Mobile, which at the time was a major project for a company of any size, let alone us. On paper it was probably beyond our capabilities, but we managed it — I can still remember everybody working day and night, and the mountains of garments we had to climb over to get to the machines. It was certainly challenging, but I believe it gave us the springboard to grow, and really helped establish Essential within our industry as a company that can handle and service major projects to a very high standard.

Enjoying a Cuban cigar

George cooks up a mean Greek barbecue

Which three words would your friends use to describe your personality?

Determined, generous and stubborn!

What’s your favourite word or phrase?

My team in the office have told me to put “with all due respect”. It’s a standing joke, but apparently whenever they hear me say it they know I’m about to get into a full-blown argument with the recipient.

Salt and vinegar or cheese and onion?

Cheese and onion.

Which tune can’t you get out of your head at the moment?

‘Back To Black’ by Amy Winehouse.

What’s your hidden talent?

I’m known to cook a mean Greek barbecue.

What’s your greatest ambition?

I’ve always loved cars and driving, and I’m certainly someone that can be called a petrolhead, so I would love a six-car garage collection.

The old-school calculator that George has used almost daily for over 30 years

A keen scuba diver, George dreamt of running his own dive shop on a remote beach

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Cuban cigars.

Is there another job that you’ve always wanted to do?

I’ve always been a keen scuba diver, and in my youth, I dreamt of running my own dive shop on a remote beach somewhere.

Where is the best place you’ve ever visited?

There are two in fact: Amsterdam and Barbados, but not being selfish and putting business before pleasure as I always do, I would have to say Barbados. The only reason I go there is to visit the Gildan offices that are located there – it’s so important that I try to go at least once a year, sometimes more.

Which gadget couldn’t you live without?

It’s a big, old-school calculator with a paper till roll from the ‘80s, which I use to do all my calculations. You probably can’t buy them anymore and everyone laughs that I still use it, but I’ve used it almost daily for over 30 years.

If you could ask one person (living or dead) one question, what would you ask?

I’d ask Boris Johnson, is this really your idea of a trade deal?