Posh Pawn: Going to auctionBecause Prestige Pawn deals with such a variety of assets, valuations can be tricky. The 20-strong team is comprised of experts in their fields, from gemmologists to watch fanatics. “It can get a little daunting when you’ve got something come in that you haven’t seen before, but rather than saying no we won’t take it we get stuck in. I try to get the guys to think of themselves as private investigators,” said Constantinou. Sometimes, the team will see something a little out of the ordinary that will throw them, like some fossilised whale vomit. “That was worth a hell of a lot of money, and, to be quite honest with you, it was almost impossible to value,” he said. When researching an asset, the team consults its own massive database of figures reached in auctions for various items. It’s important to know how much it sold for the last time it was in the public domain, how the market has changed since and what fluctuations might affect the price in the future. This is job is made much harder when the item has never previously been up for sale, or is a real rarity, such as the vomit.
Posh Pawn: The magic of televisionIn recent years, Prestige Pawnbrokers has gained popularity through the TV series Posh Pawn on Channel 4. Constantinou says this has been a major boon to the company. “The biggest benefit of having that sort of exposure is making the public aware of what you do, because a lot of people didn’t actually know what pawn broking is all about. “It’s a window into your business. It’s like outing an advert in every paper all up and down the country. It gets the phones ringing, and I think people are more confident dealing with you once they’ve seen how you transact on TV.” The show has also been sold around the world, and the shop has had foreign tourists popping in to visit. Looking to the future, this is great news for the business – it might consider franchising abroad, so the fact its already a well-known name would be a great benefit.
Posh Pawn: The desire for gainFor Constantinou, the biggest challenge has been relinquishing control and delegating aspects of the business as it has grown. “You have to change the way you operate, and I so I don’t get to see all the assets that come through the door any more,” he said. Seeing the assets has always been one of the perks of the job for Constantinou – almost every day there’s something different through the door. While he’s always had an affinity for the cars that come in, sometimes there’s a wonderful piece of jewellery or an amazing piece of art that will blow you away. Constantinou has come a long way since 2009, but his advice to anyone starting out with a new business is simple: “Let your desire for gain be greater than your fear for loss, because if it isn’t, you’re not going to achieve anything.”
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