We had a quick chat with James Constantinou before he appears tonight in Posh Pawn on Channel 4, about his business, Prestige Pawnbrokers, and how TV has pushed his business to new heights.
Please explain who you are, what your business is, and what it does/aims to achieve?
I’m an entrepreneur with a passion for business and profit. My business is Asset lending, basically loaning against all types of high end assets including cars, wine, coins, stamps, antiques, jewellery, watches, rare books, gold, boats, planes, art and even handbags, there is very little we would not consider.
We pride ourselves on being market leaders in the high end asset loaning arena. Our aims are to grow the brand and make the public more aware that they may have options when it comes to raising capital.
What inspired you to start your business? (And what made you want to be your own boss?)
I was inspired by an article I read on high end assets and the credit crunch in one of the Sunday tabloids. I realised that the pawn broking model was a perfect vehicle in which to offer the service to potential clients.
I’ve always been my own boss from when I left school, I’m not geared up for taking instruction so I really had no choice.
What has been the biggest challenge for your business?
The biggest challenge is scaling up and delegating. As we have opened more branches and the business has grown I have needed to evolve and mature as a businessman, I am getting there and I’m very proud of what we have achieved.
Would you do anything differently if you could start again from scratch?
If I was to start again from scratch I would not change a thing. You have to make mistakes and I’ve made a few in order to improve and to become wise in your decision making, as long as you learn from your errors you can grow and achieve great things.
We know you have a shop in Hatton Garden, did the Hatton Garden robbery affect your business in any way?
The robbery did not affect the business in anyway what so ever, in fact I think it may have brought people in. That end of the street became a tourist attraction for many weeks after and gave us all something to talk about.
How were you approached to have your own TV show?
Channel 4 approached us as they were looking to cover alternative lending as a subject matter, they were recommended that they spoke to us through the National Pawn broking Association and it all spiralled from there really. We were very sceptical at first but quickly realised the benefits of sharing our business with the viewing public. The viewing figures broke all expectations and the rest is history.
How has being on TV, and having your own TV show, impacted your business?
The impact of having what we do aired during prime time TV is incredible and commercially invaluable. The brand is now recognised worldwide and clients come from all corners of the globe including places I’ve not heard of, so yes it’s been great and I couldn’t wish for a better advert.