PROFILE: Nick Ede, Life and soul of the party

You'll have probably seen Nick Ede somewhere before. Perhaps it was within the pages of thelondonpaper or London Lite. Or maybe as a judge on Sky One's Project Catwalk.

Nick Ede
Nick Ede

Or how about in one of his stints as Lorraine Kelly's style expert on her ­televisual morning feast, LK Today?

Once you are familiar with who he is, Ede seems to crop up all over the media landscape. Four days a week, he also runs PR shop EdenCancan, an 11-strong agency targeted at the Grazia magazine generation.

A few weeks ago Ede hosted ‘Celebrity Nose of the Year' - typical of the kind of event he organises. It was fun, a bit silly, full of Big Brother celebrities and soap stars, and an excellent advert for client The Perfume Shop.

‘It got us loads of coverage,' says Ede, immaculately dressed and speaking in constantly joyous tones. ‘And the cocktails were great weren't they?'

He freely admits that he is operating in a corner of the industry as far removed from Chime Communications founder Tim Bell and Brunswick owner Alan Parker as can be.

‘When I was younger, I realised I was good at throwing parties, and in throwing the parties I realised I was good at promoting products - the two go really well tog-ether,' says Ede. It is hard to disagree, and on any given day, the pages of Heat magazine and the London freesheets will show the fruits of EdenCancan's efforts.

Nick EdeEde's happy-go-lucky nature betrays little clue as to how different things were for him 11 years ago. At the age of 22, he suffered a nervous breakdown after watching his mother die on the same day Princess Diana was killed.

‘I felt everyone's grief so acutely,' recalls Ede. ‘I was living in London, but moved back to my home town, Edinburgh. Then I shut myself off and had the breakdown.'
After returning to London, he picked himself up doing work for the Stroke Foundation (Ede's mother died of a stroke).

‘I wanted to do something, and I knew that in London I lived next to a load of celebrities. So I knocked on people's doors and told them I had a party in mind,' he says.
Patsy Palmer, Jamie Oliver and Barbara Windsor all agreed to participate, and Ede threw the first of his annual charity bashes. This year's event will be presented by friend and Project Catwalk co-presenter, Kelly Osborne.

Ede subsequently landed the role of head of entertainment at Lastminute.com, where he was charged with promoting the website's entertainment offering.

‘I wanted to make something tangible, and produce branded club nights rather than just talk about the website online,' he says. Making things happen became Ede's trademark, and he spent the next few years in a variety of similar roles, making use of his knack for throwing a good launch event.

Ede admits that by the age of 30 he was frustrated to find himself neither famous nor in television. But as a Leeds drama school graduate, he retained a love of bright lights.

So in 2003, Ede quit his job and took a sixth-month work experience role at production firm Shine Television, where he landed a role co-presenting The Russell Grant Show on Sky One. Shortly afterwards, Liverpudlian actor Jennifer Ellison approached Ede to throw her a party.

‘She was just about to win the first series of Hell's Kitchen and wanted to make the most of it,' he says. ‘We'd met before but that was my first experience of the sort of PR that I do now.'

Subsequently, Ede met Nick Fulford and worked with him before merging his business with Fulford's Cancan in 2006, to form EdenCancan. Ede describes Fulford, the husband of an old school friend, as the ‘Yang' to his Yin - he deals with the administrative aspects of running a business that Ede is frank enough to admit he is ‘crap' at.

‘Everything is visual with me,' he expl­a­ins. ‘I have a specific idea about what I want and how I want to do it. It can make me hard to work with, but ­being a manager teaches you to appreciate other people's ideas too.'

But don't all these TV appearances get in the way of his PR career? Would Ede drop the latter if his big TV break came along?

‘I like to use Simon Cowell as a role ­model,' says Ede, a nod to the fact that his occasionally withering put-downs on Project Catwalk have earned him a reputation as the Simon Cowell of fashion. ‘He has an international TV persona but still runs a successful business. It is achievable.'

As such, Ede devotes one day a week to TV work, and already has a new Living TV programme in the pipeline.

A former colleague expresses bemusement ‘that a man approaching his mid-­thirties would still hold on to that dream', but adds that Ede ‘is such a nice bloke I wouldn't begrudge him the achievement'.

‘But I've got big plans for this place,' says Ede, almost bouncing off his seat at his agency's Soho office. ‘I want to move more into fashion - First magazine closed last week, so we need avenues other than just celebrity.'

Former colleague and tech PRO Jon Holt says Ede's enthusiasm is hard to avoid.

‘Nick has a love for fame and celebrity usually seen only in teenage girls. He has become the embodiment of the C-list culture he works so hard to sustain,' says Holt. ‘But beneath the tan and the gleaming veneer, there is an intelligent, charming and hard-working man who understands his trade better than most.'

And that is the thing. It is so terribly hard not to like Nick Ede, because he is so terribly likeable. He makes no apologies for being a conduit for the oft-ridiculed rent-a-crowd celebrity world. And why should he? He is having a ball.

CV
2006 Merges with Cancan Communications
2004 Launches Eden Lifestyle
2003 Associate producer, lifestyle, Shine TV
2001 Head of packages, ATC Management
2000 Marketing manager, Mondi Associates
1998 Head of entertainment, Lastminute.com
1997 Group sales manager, Apollo Leisure

TURNING POINTS
What was your biggest career break?
Leaving a good job to work for very little money in TV. I knew I had a passion for communication but didn't know where to settle. Shine Television's Liz Murdoch let me spread my wings and I built a network of amazing contacts and friends - they also gave me my TV break.

What advice would you give someone climbing the career ladder?
Don't be afraid to take risks, never get too complacent and be nice to everyone as you never know where they will end up. Be true to your feelings and if you see areas in
need of development, tell your bosses.

Who was your most notable mentor?
Nick Fulford, who took the risk to work with me and implement some structure in my crazy world, and Shine Television's Sally-Ann Howard, who taught me to think like a journalist and realise that today's news is tomorrow's chip paper.

What do you prize most in new recruits?
Talent, a sense of humour, ambition - but not greed - the ability to think outside of the box and to adapt to all situations. My agency is like a glossy magazine - every page is different and useful. Attention to detail is imperative, and a fabulous wardrobe is a help too.

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