The Parish Cloak Magazine asked Simon Torode, Founder, CEO of Livingroom and Founding Director of Acorn Interiors, the latest news on his move away from the parish and why the parish of St. Martin is still very much in his heart.
Born in Guernsey in July 1977 (now 41), Simon’s parents lived on Saumarez Road. Simon started St. Martins Primary aged four and continued to live above Moulin Huet with his family until going to university aged 18. The draw back to Guernsey was too strong after a career in advertising in London and a subsequent career change into the world of property. In January 2006, Simon took over the family office at the Old Mill (previously ABC Travel) and set about carving his way in property sales and lettings - adding a new dimension to what was a staid industry. His company, Livingroom Estate Agents, put Guernsey on the map by winning international awards including the title of Best Estate Agency Marketing in 2018 at the International Property Awards – the much coveted ‘industry Oscars’. Livinrgoom solely represented the UK against large multi-national companies – making his achievement all the more remarkable. Simon now spends a large percentage of his time in Jersey, growing the second office and marketing the Channel Islands to a wider audience.
We asked Simon how important Guernsey is to him and what the St. Martins boy has planned for the future.
“I was excited to move back to the parish ten years ago and am lucky to have a home in the lanes above Moulin Huet. It was great to move back to the family parish, the Torode family go back a long way. My grandparents lived on the junction of Rue des Grons and Rue des Marettes, I have amazing memories as a child exploring the parish, riding my bike from the age of six to buy penny sweets from the Saints Road shopper, scaling the cliffs and horse riding at the Manor Stables.
Livingroom was born on my kitchen table before establishing the Old Mill office on January 26th 2006 - my commute from home to work was a mere two minutes, the very envy of my friends around the world! We then moved office to North Clifton in St. Peter Port in October 2018. It would have been great to have stayed within the parish but we were driven to take a premises to suit the ever-growing business, which now has 25 people - 18 in Guernsey and a further seven in the Jersey office.
The world of estate agency has changed so dramatically that we no longer require a ‘shop-front’ as such, a large percentage of the business is digitally driven although everyone is welcome in our new offices and we have lots more room with a comfy lounge and boardroom to discreetly talk to our clients, we even do a great cup of coffee!
“St. Martins has seen so many changes over the years yet it retains a sense of familiarity and warmth that is unsurpassed. I’ll always be an advocate of the parish to anyone who moves to the island - I may be biased but it has a very special place in my heart.
“I am currently working hard establishing our Jersey office. It was a natural fit for the business and my dream was always to become the very first pan-island agent. In reality, the islands are completely different.
The world of estate agency in Jersey is extremely competitive with 45 rival firms. With hard work, the latest technology and a personal response, we’re attempting to break down some historic barriers between the islands and I have been amazed at just how much inter-island business actually takes place.
Our first sale in Jersey was to the daughter of St. Martins residents in Guernsey!”