The pawnbroker so prestigious it scaled Britain’s TV screens as a Channel 4 show

Prestige by name and nature, the London-helmed pawnbroking service – which now boasts four sites – delivers loans against high end assets.

Indeed, supercars have been found to be quite the investment with rapid returns. For example, the price of a Porsche Cayman Coupe 3.8 GT4 could spike by 38.4 per cent over six months.

For Prestige, it will lend against the aforementioned vehicles, as well as jewellery, art, wine, boats, planes, stamps, coins, books, designer goods and other lucrative collectibles.

As the latest series of Posh Pawn, a Channel 4 show documenting the happenings around the company, has come to a close, Real Business has spoken with founder James Constantinou to find out just how luxurious his own lifestyle is as part of our Business Class section.

(1) How much did your first job pay?

My first job was as a sales rep for a corporate cleaning company. It was commission-based only and I would have to traipse around the streets for days. Achieving very little, I left within four days and made a whopping £17. The whole experience enforced my decision to become an entrepreneur.

(2) What path took you into pawnbroking?

The decision to go down the path of pawnbroking in 2008 as a new venture was not at all a difficult one. The economic climate and the skills I had gathered in business over the years made it an obvious choice.

My friends and associates at the time had plenty of high end assets – they were driving Ferraris and lived in mansions. But, they were struggling to pay for the petrol to fuel their cars or even pay their electricity bills.

The banks had switched the lights off overnight. The cosy relationship they had with their account managers was no longer very cosy at all, in fact it had become quite frosty. The banks’ inability to lend was my main driving force behind Prestige.

(3) What has the industry taught you about money management?

The industry has brought me into contact with many people within the business world. If there is one thing I have learnt, it would be that depending on the banking sector, whilst being a necessity, may also be your downfall and it may be wise not to be so dependent on them in the future.

(4) Tell us about your smartest investments

Some of my smartest investments have been in the property sector, including land flipping deals. I must say that my shrewdest move to date would be the inception and development of Prestige Pawnbrokers as a brand.

(5) Do you get more satisfaction from spending or saving your money?

I definitely prefer spending over saving, especially if I am purchasing something that is going to give me a good return.

Read more about living the Business Class lifestyle:

(6) What are your most expensive hobbies?

I don’t have expensive hobbies, however, I do enjoy dining and going on holidays when I have time. I don’t get time for hobbies as such unfortunately. I suppose that’s one of the downsides to running a successful business – there never seems to be enough hours in the day.

(7) Most prized possession?

My most prized possessions are letters sent during the Second World War from my grandmother to her brother. She had lost contact with him for many years but had recently discovered he was in the navy and was serving on a warship.

They were returned to her a few weeks later in 1945, he had been killed at sea and he never got to read them. He was only 17 years old – these letters are priceless to me.

(8) Do you have a favourite luxury brand?

I am not personally into brands but over the years I have seen many luxury items, I appreciate quality and craftsmanship that go into making beautiful things. 

I must emphasise that not all high end branded goods are of good quality. Brands that come to mind when I think of quality are Cartier, Tiffany, Chanel and Rolex to name a few.

(9) Where has your most luxurious holiday taken you?

I travelled extremely well in my younger years, not always in luxury. I recently took the Oriental Express to Venice, the whole experience was truly amazing. I would totally recommend it – and if you are taking your other half you will score some serious brownie points.

(10) Excluding property, what has been your most expensive purchase?

For those of you who have watched the TV show, you will know that I have a weakness for cars. I once made the mistake of doing a little window shopping down at my local Ferrari garage – I fell in love with a convertible in black with all the trimmings. 

Against the advice of my accountant I wrote a cheque out there and then. Since then I can gladly say that I take the advice from my accountant more seriously.

Want to know what the hottest luxury goods money can buy are? A study spanning 80 countries has ranked the top 45  brands in the world based on consumer sentiment.

If you would like to take part in the Business Class Q&A, email Zen.Terrelonge@realbusiness.co.uk for more information.

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