After reading an article in one of the Sunday supplements regarding wealthy people's assets I decided to embark on a mission to set up a cutting edge high end asset loan company more commonly known as a pawnbroker. It was 2008 and I had narrowly averted disaster, I was involved in property development but unlike many others in the industry that fell to the banks I was relatively unscathed.
I initially started carrying out market research, when I say market research I mean picking up the phone and calling pawnbrokers pretending to be Sir Douglas Antwerp from Peterborough. I came up with an amazing well embroiled fabrication with a tale of wealth, death, rare works of art and inheritance...You know where I'm going with this.
I'm not quite sure why I went to those lengths to embellish the tale but to be quite honest I enjoyed it, I got into the role and at one point during a conversation with a telephone sales person from a leading pawn broking firm I actually got all choked up as I told of my fond memories of aunt Flo and the long summers spent at her B&B on the Cornish coast. I went on to tell of the much pain felt when I realised I had to let the Art go but knew in my heart of hearts that it's what Flo would have wanted knowing of my current financial predicament.
Anyway, to cut a long story short my research revealed a definite gap in the market when it came to loaning against high end assets. I was set for global domination or at least I was set to open my first pawn shop. By early 2009 I was ready and turned the open sign on, I waited, waited and waited, after that I did some more waiting then eventually a man walked in.
Unfortunately he only wanted a haircut so I directed him next door. Although he was not strictly speaking a satisfied customer he was still satisfied and that was a step in the right direction.
As time went on and the news spread of what we were offering i.e. loans against fast cars, wine, art, planes, yachts, jewellery and almost anything of value the business began to gather pace. We began to appraise private collections and rare artifacts worth millions that had never been to the market before, we became major buyers in the luxury goods arena and our back to back dealing put us on another level in terms of our buying power.
It was only a matter of time and before long I was examining the Queens knickers, I must make it clear that they were not being worn at the time and the Queen was Victoria not just any old Queen, by this time it was just another day at the office.
The phones were ringing off of the walls, it wasn't only the chattels that amazed me but the clients to, they ranged from Rock N Rollers, Actors, Politicians to Supermodels and well known sportsmen. The press was more than intrigued and it wasn't long before Channel 4 were knocking on my door and they weren't looking for a haircut, business was booming. They wanted to do a pilot on alternative lending, 'Posh Pawn' was created and the series ran and ran, the rest is history.
As I always suspected, if I could get the message to the right audience we could do the business. There was a well-heeled asset rich cash poor client base out there and they just needed to know that I existed. Luxury assets that built up over the good times were being used to get cash in the same way you or I may use a debit card.
My clients were over the moon, they brought in their cars, jewellery, art and watches and I shovelled instant cash into their bank accounts, they could also have their split ends removed at the same time...What a wonderful ending, only it was just the beginning.