An Interview with James Constantinou of Prestige Pawnbrokers

James Constantinou

Meet James of Prestige Pawnbrokers

I’m the founder of Prestige Pawnbrokers trading as Posh Pawn. The company was conceived following the economic downturn in 2008 where I capitalised on a gap in the asset lending market which was almost non existent here in the UK. 

I left school at the tender age of 15 without so much as a GCSE in woodwork but quickly realised that I had a passion for the mechanics of business.

I’m an entrepreneur who enjoys new challenges and the thrill of taking concepts and turning them into working businesses. My background prior to asset lending was construction and I have an NHBC registered company involved in new builds in the surrey area. 

I recently formed a logistics company which is now involved in vending solutions in the high st, supplying vending outlets for all types of brands and products.

Classic vehicles are another passion of mine and have been since I left school. The skills learnt through my earlier years involved in the car market would prove useful to me as this became a major part of what we do at Posh Pawn with loans secured using prestigious motor cars making up around 25% of our turnover.

Currently growing with more physical stores located in and around London and the future is looking positive with the obvious need for Asset rich individuals looking to leverage against their portfolios.

1.Can you explain to us how the idea for your business came to you and how the whole process kicked off?

The idea came about at the end of 2008 after reading in one of the Sunday papers that a certain bank in America was helping their clients raise cash against their art portfolios.

It struck me that with my skill set in the classic car market along with certain connections in the fine wine and art circles I could enhance what the Americans were offering here in the UK.

Pawnbroking as a perfect vehicle to put these offerings to market as the industry had all the legal framework set up including contracts to enable me to get going almost immediately.

The loaning side of the business gathered pace after some exposure and was proving lucrative relatively quickly. 

Along with the lending there was a perfect opportunity to get involved with buying and selling some really wonderful and sometimes mind-blowing assets from around the world.

2.What were the biggest challenges you faced when bringing the idea to market?

I would say the biggest challenge was publicising what we were offering as it had not been done before on this scale. There were people sitting on assets that had been purchased during the good times that had no idea that I was prepared to offer loans secured against them. As the word spread the calls came flooding in and once the press started showing interest there was no stopping us.

3.Where do you think good ideas come from and what inspires you?

I think you are either thinking of good ideas constantly or you are just not interested and if you are thinking of them then eventually you will have a good one.

People often ask me how I thought of the wonderful idea of lending money against valuables during a downturn in the markets, but I can only say that I wonder why more people didn’t think of it. I had hardly invented the wheel; ok it was well executed but it took time to polish and was challenging at times but today is extremely successful hence the new shops opening.

4.What are your company’s values and why are these things important to the business?

I would like to think that we are straight talking and decisive. If you come in to see a member of our team we will try to facilitate a loan for you or purchase your goods in a timely fashion with the least amount of fuss possible.  Yes you will have to show some ID , yes you will have to sign a form and yes on occasion you may have to wait a day of two (rarely) but if you’ve tried getting money from one of the big four then you would also know that this was the easiest finance you had ever raised and possibly the cheapest for short term borrowing due to the lack of associated set up and redemption fees.

5.What is next for your brand?

We are gearing up for physical expansion with another 4 stores by the end of 2022 as well as looking for other markets abroad. There is much interest in the brand and so much more that can be achieved.

6.What one piece of advice would you have for someone just starting out on their business journey or currently going through a setback?

It’s a difficult one and the current challenges due to the pandemic are thought of as negative but what will come out of this from the other side are thousands of innovative ideas springing up to meet demand in respect of new market trends including the way we shop or use the workspace, it’s happening already and these are very exciting times for entrepreneurs with new concepts.

7.What resources and tools do you use to remain productive or up-to-date on industry trends etc?

If I had of looked at industry trends I wouldn’t have a business today. I’m not suggesting trends are not worth noting I’m simply suggesting that if you really want to shake up an industry and become a market leader then following trends may not be advisable.

If you would like to include anything else about your journey, plans for the future or general information you would like us to cover, please include here: 

We are focusing on the online sales of luxury goods which have reached record figures in terms of transactions, showing that the pandemic and gloomy forecasts do not always translate into flat markets. The online market is obviously the future and the current situation has only accelerated what we all knew was becoming the norm. The high street will have challenges but I’m sure they will adapt and again there are great opportunities for individuals or organisations looking to grow or evolve.

More info on Prestige Pawnbrokers

Brand Name: Posh Pawn
Twitter handle:@prestigepawn
Instagram handle: @prestigepawnbrokers