By Megan Murray
'I saw space in the knife industry for a high-quality but accessible brand with personality - all of the major players are corporate; I wanted to do something creative,' says Hugo Worsley, founder of Allday Knives.
After studying hospitality management in Switzerland and starting his own chain of London-based restaurants, Worsley's years of experience in the kitchen opened his eyes to the environmental issues in the food chain. To target this, through lockdown he experimented with an idea to create colourful, recycled knife handles using plastic waste.
'I'm working on four batches a year and each one has its own story, including a new design and illustrations for the website. It's exciting to see how it keeps evolving - and working with Soho Home is another great step,' he explains.
Here, Worsley gives an insight into his brand's journey.
How did the collaboration with Soho Home come about?
'Shoreditch House is my local and I joke that it's the unofficial HQ of all my businesses. Over the years it's where I've built ideas, got together with other entrepreneurs and held meetings - Allday Knives was very much born out of the Houses.
'White City House wanted to work towards improving its plastic waste and so we had conversations about how we could help. As Soho House is such a big name in the hospitality space, it made sense to include them in this project.'
What compelled you to address plastic waste in the hospitality industry?
'I ran two other well-known restaurants in London before opening my own, so I saw first-hand that recycling in the industry needs to be improved.
'There was only so much I could do when devising my own restaurants. But I knew that if I were to change course and start another business again, it would shed light on the environmental issues in the food chain.'
What makes each batch different from the next?
'Each release targets a different area of the industry. Previously, I've travelled to Durness, Scotland, to a beach that's covered in washed-up plastic - there's so much of it, you can't even see the sand. I wanted to show how much fishing commercial waste is dumped into the ocean. Within an hour I had enough plastic for the whole batch.
'I've also worked with dairy farmers and local cafes, creating a unique handle with a different blade every time. The idea is that if you buy a knife at every drop, you'll have a full set at the end of the year.'
How do you involve your customers on the journey?
'I ask people on Instagram what they want to see from Allday Knives next - from the issues to explore to the colourways they like.
'I try and bring them in on the process so that there's an emotional connection to what they're buying. I want them to be part of the decision making and understand the message behind the product.'
What does the future hold for Allday Knives?
'I'm planning to scale up and create bigger batches of knives, as well as develop a clothing arm as well.
'There's room for innovation in chef's clothing. I've also started experimenting with sustainable accessories, too, such as turning old coffee sacks into knife wraps. I want to keep trying new things.'