Jeff Gilbert is a Creative Business Consultant with over 50 years of experience in setting up and running own successful businesses, as well as managing international marketing for a large corporation.
In 1969 Jeff began work at a record shop in Manchester. In 1983 he founded his own company, Rocking Horse Records. In the intervening 14 years he came to London to work for CBS (now Sony) Records. Eventually he headed up the Marketing Department and became the first salesman to progress all the way to becoming a director of the company. During that time CBS moved from 4th position in UK market share to No 1. He was awarded Best Marketing Campaign two years in a row by his industry peers.
In the midst of this period he took a two year sabbatical on a Greek island and wrote a book but returned to take on additional International duties as Marketing Director.
He worked closely with many world wide superstars and was able to establish a unique working relationship with many of them including working on campaigns for Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Adam Ant, Paul Young, The Clash, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, Carlos Santana, Michael Jackson and Julio Iglesias. He is credited with introducing the Philly Sound to the UK with the first promotional tours and TV appearances for The Three Degrees, the Ojay’s and Harold Melvin
When he founded Rocking Horse Records he signed two artists. The first was a band named Latin Quarter whose first album produced a classic Top 20 UK single, ‘Radio Africa’ which led to major success in Europe. The second artist was Lisa Stansfield who went on to sell 20 million albums worldwide. Jeff received an Ivor Novello in 1989 for publishing that year’s biggest selling single ‘All Around the World’. Rocking Horse was sold to BMG records in 1989 and Jeff became A&R Director with his artists and staff forming the basis of BMG/Arista’s UK artist roster at that time. He became managing director of Arista but left in 1991 to start his own management company.
Jeff managed several artists including Louchie Lou and Michie One (No 1 in the UK with ‘Shout’ (Hip Hop) and Alison Limerick (UK Top 20 ‘Where Love Lives’ and International No 1 in the dance charts) He toured Alison consistently throughout the UK, US, Japan, Australia and Europe. Songwriter Lucinda Drayton who co wrote No 1 single The Real Thing. He also managed Catherine Zeta Jones’s singing career before she left for the US.
At the same time he retained consultancies with record companies and TV merchandising companies in the U.K. and Europe. This included a consultancy with a major studio complex and a co-owner of a publishing, production and management company.
In 1999, with his new partner, he set up a retail, mail order and wholesale outlet in Stoke Newington Church St. London. This was the only company in London selling organic fabrics and goods designed and manufactured in Europe and the UK including clothing and homewares. At the time of writing there are now many companies, including well-known high street names selling organic cotton goods in the UK – ever the entrepreneur!
In 2005 Jeff became Business Development Manager with an Organic Bakery in Cricklewood, North London. He was brought in to expand the opportunities for the company and increase its market penetration to a position where it turned over £1.8 Million p.a., changing the emphasis from manufacturing bread and operating market stalls to wholesaling and retailing its products by creating packaging and relationships with London supermarkets and restaurant chains.
In late 2007 he left the bakery to take up a position at East London Small Business Centre as a business counsellor, a job he describes as ‘the culmination of his life’s work’. As a business advisor he has worked on various LDA, ERDF, DWP and local government contracts with clients from across all ranges and capabilities including start ups and established SME’s looking for advice and investment in order to grow. He’s worked across all business sectors but specialises in creative and social enterprises.
He currently works as a private Creative Business Consultant and current client list includes artists and galleries, fashion designers, music production companies and performing artists, restaurants, pop up supper clubs, photographers, independent TV and film companies and training organisations.
He served as a volunteer director of The Islington and City Credit Union for four years
He was a trustee of The touring opera company Opera Up Close for four years.
He served on the board of The Prince’s Youth Business Trust, East London for two years helping and advising on grants and loans to young people who were setting up their own businesses.