Lauren Shaw became GM of Electric House at just 28 years old. Here’s how she got there, and how a typical day works
I knew I wanted to be a manager after helping to open Soho House Barcelona. I was there for two weeks handling the logistics and coordinating schedules and it was a great experience. The place was sexy, the people were sexy and everything worked out really well. I’d been working in Learning & Development before that and realised that I was missing something. I like having an immediate impact on the business, and wanted to get back into operations.
I started with Soho House as a bartender at Dean Street Townhouse. It was amazing working in Soho at the age of 22. After a while, I was asked to open Little House Mayfair as head bartender before moving to the Electric after there was a fire here. They were converting the downstairs brasserie into an American diner based on a Chicago restaurant called Au Cheval and needed help putting together a beer list. I got a phone call one Sunday asking me to fly out to the States and the following weekend I was on my way. I didn’t know a thing about beer at the time – I drank Peroni and that was it, so I had to learn everything I could in a fortnight. When I got back, I opened the diner as a floor manager.
After a couple of years the Cookhouse manager position came up, looking after our UK chefs. It was hard, but extremely rewarding. We reviewed salaries and uniforms and organised trainings and summits.
I’ve been general manager of Electric House since December last year. Every day is completely different but I’m usually in early, even if my shift doesn’t start until 4pm. It’s a bit of a whirlwind: first thing, I’ll check emails and reports from the previous night, looking at sales and what we need to focus on for the rest of the week. Then I’ll do a walk of the building to make sure that everything is working and the team are happy. It’s important to me to say hi to everyone, from the kitchen to the box office. If I’m not on the floor, I’ll hold meetings with department heads – there are 16 managers. At first I tried to look after the whole team myself, but realised that’s not effective so now I manage through certain people.
I love working here. Sometimes on a day off I’ll go to the cinema by myself and zone out. We also have a reel-to-reel machine – it’s great coming in and putting on a hip-hop reel when you’re feeling pumped up.
I recently moved just around the corner to Portobello. I have a terrace where I sit and have coffee on my days off – it makes me really happy. And it’s good to live in the neighbourhood because Electric House is a proper piece of the community here. Many of our members have lived in west London all their lives and as the club is quite small, everyone knows each other.
It’s the same for the team: we close for two days during the Notting Hill Carnival and usually spend it together. We come back a little worse for wear, but more bonded and relaxed. This year, I’m planning cocktails and a barbecue.