The #elderproject #7: Franco the tailor

Yes, I know it’s been a while and no, I haven’t given up on the #elderproject. I’ve just been busy and as it turns out it’s not that easy finding, interviewing and writing about people. That being said, I believe the wait will be worth it. 

Today’s elder is my London tailor of many years, Franco Santoro. Every few months, I enter the little door at 26 Kingly Street in Soho to adjust some trousers or a suit, knowing that no matter what time of day I’ll go or whether it’s a weekend or not, Franco will be there. At 72, he’s the hardest working man I know and this was the most intense and emotional interview I’ve taken so far for the #elderproject. I hope you enjoy it.

One year in, going on fifteen

Exactly one year ago, I was on the Jubilee line together with one of my best friends, carrying two suitcases, a backpack, a black laptop bag, many thoughts, many plans and a boatload of dreams. What I didn’t know then, though, was that I was about to embark on one of the most exciting journeys of my life: moving to London.

In the past 365 days, I have met 732 people (according to my CRM, so I think the number is close to double). I have spoken to and/or attended 61 events. I’ve travelled to 6 countries. I’ve made at at least two dozen new friends. I’ve been in the air 32 times. I have won two awards, appeared in the press a dozen times and have been featured in Reuters & Financial Times as one of the most promising young Eastern European entrepreneurs. I have worked, on average, 15 hours per day and been to 4 parties / month. I’ve had, on average, 11 meetings per week. I’ve slept, on average, 5-6 hours / night. And for the past six months, I’ve been waking up at 6:30AM every single morning.

When I moved here, I expected London to be hard on me. And it has been, a few times. But it’s also been fun. It has treated me well despite the outrageous prices, the ridiculousness of the estate rental market and the fact that I only knew a handful of people when I moved here. After spending a year in London I feel smarter, better informed, more connected, even better groomed than I’ve ever felt before. And as I told the FT a few weeks ago, I feel that I’ve done more in London in a year than I’ve done in Romania in three.

Today, I was walking around Covent Garden together with one of my other best friends. Carrying a brown laptop bag, many thoughts, many plans and a boatload of dreams. And I suddenly realized that now I know: I’m in the place where all my thoughts, plans and dreams have a very good chance of becoming reality. And for that, London, I’m thankful.