Old boys? club vs. the cool kids

It?s an age-old rule: know your target market. But Metta and Elghanayan have gone one step further. They are their target market. ?Jimmy and I have been going to clubs for the past ten years,? says Elghanayan. ?We know the clientele, the bartenders, the owners, the places that are on the up. We just had to knock on a few doors and we were in business.?

Vanquish Wines is a high-end liquor wholesaler, supplying the majority of clubs and bars in London, notably hotspots like Annabel?s, Tramp, Bougie, Cipriani and Raffles. The firm is also the UK?s largest stockholder of that most precious commodity ? Cristal champagne.

The young entrepreneurs (28 and 32 respectively) have broken away from the old boys? club and are part of a new wave of young entrepreneurs entering the drinks? industry. ?Everyone else in this sector is in their fifties or sixties and has been in the business for decades,? says Elghanayan. Well, watch out, there?s a couple of new kids in town. And they?re thrashing the old dinosaurs with an all-new, nippy, profitable business model.

?Our price list is one page long,? explains Elghanayan. ?Our competitors? run up to 100 pages. Imagine the quantum of stock, storage costs, salespeople?! I?m only interested in higher margins. The hard-to-find, restricted-allocation products.? Vanquish concentrates on this single niche: premium champagnes, wines and spirits, and it?s proved lucrative. The company turned over ?4.2m last year in its second year in business. This year they?ll double that.

It was a mixed blessing being a new company in an industry steeped in tradition. None of the banks would give the guys credit and suppliers demanded bills paid up front. But even this had its benefits: ?When you?re paying cash upfront, you get phenomenal standing with your suppliers,? says Elghanayan. ?You?re the first guy to pay them. So you become their first port of call when they have excess bottles to sell.?

Keeping suppliers and customers sweet is the crux of any retail operation. Vanquish has sugar in spades: ?We?ll lend an ?8,000-bottle of champagne to our customers for special occasions, say if P Diddy comes to town. They can pay us the next day. It?s all about trust.?

Hence why the offices are based in Soho ? the social hub of the city. Elghanayan explains: ?Unlike competitors who try to save money by having their offices above their warehouse, we keep an ear to the ground from here.?

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