Annika Purdey in The Long Room

Being (A) Purdey

Annika Purdey is, as you might expect, a true ambassador for the brand. When she’s not meeting clients, connecting people to Purdey and introducing it to a new generation, she’s collaborating on new projects – with a particular love for clothing and accessories. She also serves on the board. “I am the seventh generation of my family to do so, and the first woman,” she shares. “There is always something new to learn, and exciting goals to be planned and achieved.”

What does she love most about her role? “Every aspect of it brings me joy, I feel immensely lucky and hugely grateful to be a part of it all,” she says. “I’m very passionate about our business. I want it to be successful, relevant and modern, while holding on to our continued pursuit of excellence and incomparable craftsmanship. I see myself as a supporter of a brand I am so proud to be associated with, and hopefully I play a very small part amongst the hugely talented group of people who work within Purdey, helping to create a wonderful future.”

Here, Annika gives her unique insight into the wonderful world of Purdey.

What makes Purdey stand out from the crowd? 

A determined dedication to excellence. Our Royal Warrants. Our unique and extraordinary history as a leading luxury British brand. Amazingly talented people, doing an extraordinarily skilled job. Consistency and a determination to produce the very best, and always striving to be better. 

Attention to detail. Client relationships and loyalty, and our shared passion for what we do. Remaining traditional and true to our heritage, but always moving forward, looking to the future – exploring what new design techniques and modern technology can do to help keep us at the top of our game.

The quality of our guns, clothing and accessories that are made to be passed down through generations, which is the very essence of sustainability. I still wear pieces made for my Grandmother, and they look like new and are so beautifully cut and exquisitely silk lined.

On the subject of sustainability, our brand has always been inextricably linked to the conservation and protection of the British countryside, and it is something we continue to champion through the Purdey Awards for Conservation. 

Then there’s our Shooting School, which provides some of the best coaching in the world, and actively encourages novices and young guns to fall in love with the sport. 

Where is your favourite countryside location in the UK?

Tulchan Estate in the Scottish Highlands

Gosh, that is quite a hard question as there are so many beautiful places to choose from. I am fortunate to visit some absolutely stunning parts of the country, but somewhere I really adore is the Tulchan Estate in the Scottish Highlands. 

I love the feeling of freedom that being out in the wilds of the Highlands brings, the ever changing weather, the spectacular views, the wildlife, the native trees and plants. It’s incredibly special. I also love fishing on the Spey there. A lot of hard work has gone into restoring and regenerating the estate to make it what it is today. I adore Scotland, it holds many happy memories for me.

What’s the best part of a shoot day there?

It’s superbly well organised, and the landscape and topography of the estate is breathtaking. All the drives are very different, with some extremely high birds in stunning locations. You are always beautifully looked after at Tulchan Lodge, it’s a perfect example of how things should be done. It also has delicious food, mostly reared or grown on the estate. It’s truly amazing, and run seamlessly, by incredibly nice people.

And, what would you be packing for this perfect trip?

Purdey of course! It can be pretty cold up there, so base layering is key. Then I tend to pack some of our shirts and cashmere sweaters, which are exceptionally soft, and keep you perfectly warm. I usually wear one of our tweed field coats and matching breeks, and I love our tweed and Loden baker boy-style hats. I always pack the Vatersay Cape, which keeps you bone dry if it suddenly pours with rain. I usually wear one of our silk shirts in the evening, as they go with absolutely everything, and are light to pack.

When in town, where are we most likely to find you?

I feel very at home in Mayfair. I got married in the Grosvenor Chapel, and I love Mount Street and South Audley Street. The shops are wonderful, I love the architecture, the galleries, and there are superb restaurants and private members’ clubs. The glorious Connaught in Carlos Place, is the perfect spot for a drink after work.

How does your style shift when in London?

I prefer a slightly more structured look in London, still classical tailoring which I love, but it slightly depends on what I’m doing. My personal style is generally quite understated and paired back, I like clean lines and simplicity. I’m a big fan of a crisp white shirt with a well cut jacket. If it’s more casual I often pair those two items with dark wash straight-cut jeans, and mid-heels or loafers. If there’s an event or something more formal in the evening, then I would either wear tailored trousers and a silk shirt, or a dress and heels.

You’re hosting a Purdey dinner – who are the dream guests? 

If it really were a dream dinner party, I would love it to be a very Royal affair. I would have to have our magnificent late Queen, and the Duke of Edinburgh. The Queen had a huge love of the countryside and field sports, and she bred gun dogs, which I would love to ask her about. The late Duke of Edinburgh was a passionate conservationist – I was fortunate enough to meet him once with my father, when he came to present an award at the Purdey Awards for Conservation, he was charming and great fun. 

If he had time I would love to invite our new King, as he is hugely knowledgeable about wildlife, and like his father, very passionate and involved in the preservation of the countryside. I would also love to invite the new Prince and Princess of Wales, as I think they would bring a fresh perspective on what the younger generation want and need from the outdoor life. 

I would like to co-host this fantasy dinner with our chairman and CEO Dan Jago, as he’s brilliant at putting people at ease and I could rely on him to choose excellent wines! We would eat fish, wild game and organic vegetables and fruits from one of the Royal Estates.

And, what’s the setting?

It would have to be the Long Room at Audley House. To me, it’s the loveliest dining room in Mayfair. It’s beautiful, the walls are lined with family portraits, it oozes Purdey history, and has the most amazing, warm feel to it.

What’s the best story you can share from the Purdey family history?

Annika Purdey shooting with her husband in 1999

One I particularly like is when the floorboards were lifted in the Long Room, lots of treasures belonging to my great great grandparents were found, including fascinating books of what was ordered for the house – flowers, food, dress bills etc. We still have them and they give a real insight into what life was like then. 

The Long Room is very special to our family, it has hosted endless celebrations over the years, including my own wedding reception, and my children's christenings.

Where do you see Purdey in 50 years time?

I hope it will still hold true to its original values of exceptional design, quality and craftsmanship. I think as our client’s needs change and evolve, so will we. Even though we are very much about tradition, we are a modern business, serving a modern client, and I think we are well equipped to adapt and move forward.

And, if you were to pop a few pieces in a time capsule, to be opened then, what would they be?

If it were a small time capsule, photographs of Audley House and the factory as they are today. A USB stick with video of some of our shoot days and events, and a tour of Audley House, the factory, and the Shooting School. If it were big, a pair of our current best guns, and a tweed shooting suit from this season’s collection. Maybe two of our crystal tumblers and some whiskey as a surprise for whoever opened it, too!

If we could suspend time, which season would you pause in?

Early Autumn, the beginning of the shooting season. The days are still relatively warm and long, the heather is out, the leaves are just starting to turn golden, and the light at that time of year is completely stunning. I always feel a sense of excitement as one season ends and another begins, and nature shows us the way so beautifully.

What is your favourite quintessentially British tradition?

I think afternoon tea is wonderful. Especially after a day's shooting. I also love elevenses on shoot days, the first break in the day and a chance to catch up with your fellow guns on the morning’s wins and fails, with a glass of champagne or sloe gin, and a hot homemade sausage roll. Apart from the champagne, I think that’s pretty quintessentially British!

If you could share one piece of advice on ‘how to be more Purdey’, what would it be?

I’m not a big fan of giving advice, but if it was to myself or my children, I would say: “Be yourself, dress well, be on time, talk to everyone, be interested in other people, do your best, smile and have fun, remember to thank everyone, clean your gun, and always write a decent thank you letter!”

Ultimately, ‘being more Purdey’ from my perspective is a combination of respecting traditions, appreciating excellence and world-class craftsmanship, enjoying classic British luxury style, striving to be the best you can be, while keeping a keen eye on the future.