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A glittering success

Laban Roomes’ Goldgenie is a perfect fit for business people who feel they have the Midas touch

A glittering success

When Laban Roomes, the founder of Goldgenie, appeared on Dragons’ Den in 2009, the investors were staunchly against him franchising his gold-plating business. Theo Paphitis said he’d need more money to franchise the company. Peter Jones predicted difficulty finding successful franchisees: “You need to go and find another 30 Labans – and I think you might struggle,” he famously said. But, in a twist of fate, as the BBC show has been beamed around the world, it’s given Goldgenie’s franchising model the boost it needs to become a glittering success.

“It’s funny because when I first went onto Dragons’ Den, they were completely against me franchising. They thought I’d need a lot more money to do the franchising successfully,” says Roomes. “But Dragons’ Den is shown in so many different countries, every time they show the Dragons’ Den show in a new country, that country seems to want to buy a franchise. It’s an amazing tool that’s still working for me up until this day.”

Goldgenie has two different propositions for people wanting to buy into the brand. Firstly, it offers so-called ‘business propositions’. This is where a punter will hand over £3,000 in exchange for all of the materials and equipment required to get up and running. They’ll also get training – either in person at Goldgenie’s HQ in Pimlico, London, or via video tutorial. Where a business opportunity differs from a franchise is that the former doesn’t entitle a company or an individual to use the original brand now, Roomes explains.

“They can call themselves a Goldgenie-certified professional, but the company can’t be called Goldgenie. So the company may be called ‘John’’s gold-plating company’, but John is a certified Goldgenie operative.” There are currently just under 60 Goldgenie business opportunities across the UK.

From a 100ml bottle of gold, Roomes says business opportunity purchasers can expect to make £2,000- to £3,000. The appearance of the gold is surprising – far from being the molten gold conjured by makers of epic movie The Hobbit, the solution is actually purple, but when used in conjunction with activator chemicals and then charged with electrical current, the gold soon shines through. (Elite Franchise can confirm the process is as simple as Roomes attests having gold-plated a spoon at the Goldgenie offices last month.)

The decision to plump for business opportunities rather than full franchising was an effort to protect the Goldgenie brand, says Roomes. It also meant he could keep costs down for those wanting to buy a slice of the company. “The reason we don’t want people trading as Goldgenie is because we’ve built the brand so much over the years… to trade as Goldgenie you’d have to pay a lot more than £3,000.”

This is one tenet to the company’s business model. Another is the selling of master franchises overseas. The first was sold in Cyprus three years ago, but master franchises have now been sold in 20 countries, including Qatar, Oman, Czechoslovakia, Spain, Sweden and Germany. Roomes says the cost of purchasing a master franchise varies and can cost as little as £3,000 or as much as £100,000 depending on the market.

Goldgenie invested heavily in its website which means that when a new master franchisee comes on board now the website can be immediately duplicated in the franchisee’s country. “It’s a good way to make extra revenue,” admits Roomes. “Also, we were getting so many calls from people outside of the country about gold-plating, we thought wouldn’t it be good if we could have people based all around the world who could take up this service themselves.”

Once the master franchise is sold, the onus is on that franchisee to market the business within their region, and to sell business opportunities in their domestic market. They also sell Goldgenie’s higher end luxury goods. “We become like a wholesaler,” explains Roomes. “Our Cyprus model probably takes £50,000 or £60,000 of products from us every single month.”

For the entrepreneur, selling master franchises has enabled the brand to grow much more quickly than if he was selling direct in each country. “I haven’t got time to go and set up in a foreign country where I don’t know the laws,” Roomes says. “Also, that means I’m going to be away from my core business. It’s much better to get somebody to actually invest money into the company, and at the same time take the business forward in their own country. They know the rules, they know the market. It’s worked successfully in every single country.”

Owing to the weight of responsibility on master franchisees, Roomes says it’s vital to choose them carefully. “We’ve got a process to make sure they’re the right type of person that we are looking for – it’s very important for us. The last thing we want to do is sell a franchise to someone who’s just going to sit on it. And then it’s almost like that country becomes dead.”

One of the concerns of the Dragons back in 2009 was that marketing would cost a pretty penny – but the show has done the lion’s share of the promotion for Roomes and his team. Each time the show is aired in a new market, that usually leads to a master franchise enquiry, he says. From the point the partner signs on the bottom line, the impetus is on them to market the brand on their home turf.

But Roomes says master franchisees aren’t just buying a slice of the company, but a bit of Laban Roomes too. “Everyone’s buying a piece of me,” he laughs. “I think they buy into the sizzle, they buy into the dream I’ve got for this business. It’s not about the machine, or the chemicals, or even the product, it’s more about the lifestyle.”

Roomes takes his inspiration from his business heroes. “I try to emulate the style of business visionaries like Richard Branson, who is the face of his brand. You’ve got to be someone interesting, and come across as someone interesting, so people want to buy into your brand. It can help tremendously if you can do that.”

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Source | Elite Business Franchise 

Goldgenie Contribute To MacMillian Cancer Support To Help Raise £190,000

MacMillan Cancer and Harrods along with support from Goldgenie raised £190,000 at thr Christmas Stocking filler night – Stockings were donated by: Sharon Osbourne, Joanna Lumley, Michael Buble, Seb Coe and Kate Winslet…. T.V presenters Neil Fox and Emma Forbes pictured with Laban Roomes were the hosts for the night. Find out more about the charity and their amazing work here: http://be.macmillan.org.uk/be/default.aspx

This guy beat Laban Roomes from winning a luxury trip to a 10 bedroom Mansion in the Cotswolds!

This guy beat Laban Roomes from winning a luxury trip to a 10 bedroom Mansion in the Cotswolds!

Sam Clarke from MacMillan Cancer Support on the left with Pete Wallroth Middle - After marrying the woman of his dreams Pete lost his wife to Cancer just after his first child was born. Macmillan nurses helped him get through and says he would not be here without them..

Sam Clarke from MacMillan Cancer Support on the left with Pete Wallroth Middle – After marrying the woman of his dreams Pete lost his wife to Cancer just after his first child was born. Macmillan nurses helped him get through and says he would not be here without them. http://www.mummysstar.org/about-us/trustees/

Sugar Sisters performed on the night..

Sugar Sisters performed on the night..

Auctioneer for the night was Martin Roberts from Homes Under the Hammer.

Auctioneer for the night was Martin Roberts from Homes Under the Hammer.

T.V presenters Neil Fox and Emma Forbes Host the MacMillon and Harrods Charity night

T.V presenters Neil Fox and Emma Forbes Host the MacMillon and Harrods Charity night

Going for Gold

In 2007 Laban Roomes was an up an coming entrepreneur dreaming of a big future. Six years and one Dragon’s Den appearance later, and Laban is a global business mogul at the top of the international gold plating industry. We caught up with Laban to learn more about his remarkable success story.

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How did Goldgenie launch? What were you doing before Goldgenie?

I have always been a hard worker. Growing up in a poor family, I started work at an early age to help my mum out. I did a bit of everything, from cutting hedges to buying cars and shipping them to Jamaica, and by the age of 19 I had paid off the mortgage on my family home. Things were going great until my business partner sold my business behind my back and I was left with nothing. It was a really dark time in my life and I was sleeping on a friend’s living room floor whilst I tried to come up with an idea that would get me back on my feet. I remembered a gold plating system that I had seen in America the year before, and that had always stuck at the back of my mind. I drew up some plans for a portable gold plating device and had one made, and that’s when Goldgenie was born.

Did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur before you launched Goldgenie?

Absolutely. Even from a young age I had lots of small businesses on the go, as I just had an eye for making money. I always loved the idea of being my own boss, coming up with new ventures and being in control of my own future.

Laban Roomes and Goldgenie

In 2007 Laban Roomes was an up an coming entrepreneur dreaming of a big future. Six years and one Dragon’s Den appearance later, and Laban is a global business mogul at the top of the international gold plating industry. We caught up with Laban to learn more about his remarkable success story.

How did Goldgenie launch? What were you doing before Goldgenie?

I have always been a hard worker. Growing up in a poor family, I started work at an early age to help my mum out. I did a bit of everything, from cutting hedges to buying cars and shipping them to Jamaica, and by the age of 19 I had paid off the mortgage on my family home. Things were going great until my business partner sold my business behind my back and I was left with nothing. It was a really dark time in my life and I was sleeping on a friend’s living room floor whilst I tried to come up with an idea that would get me back on my feet. I remembered a gold plating system that I had seen in America the year before, and that had always stuck at the back of my mind. I drew up some plans for a portable gold plating device and had one made, and that’s when Goldgenie was born.

Did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur before you launched Goldgenie?

Absolutely. Even from a young age I had lots of small businesses on the go, as I just had an eye for making money. I always loved the idea of being my own boss, coming up with new ventures and being in control of my own future.

How was your experience with Dragon’s Den?

Dragon’s Den was a fantastic experience and since I appeared on it in 2007, my life has been a whirlwind. However, after I was selected for the show, nerves got the better of me and I pulled out at the last minute. It wasn’t until the third time I was asked to go onto the show that I actually decided to go through with it. That decision was made after a good friend of mine had passed away, it made me realise that you should make the most of every opportunity, and I’ve never looked back since.

Would Goldgenie be here today without Dragons Den?

Appearing on Dragon’s Den and winning investment from James Caan has no doubt been a huge impact on the success of Goldgenie, and I am incredibly grateful for the financial support and opportunities the show has given me. However, I am a very ambitious and determined person so there is no doubt in my mind that Goldgenie would still have been a success without Dragon’s Den. Before I appeared on the show I had been flown to Los Angeles to gold plate 55 mobile phones for Emmy Award winners including Denzel Washington and Helen Mirren, so I was already on my way up before the show.

Would you advise other would be entrepreneurs to seek mentors/investors?

Of course having the financial support is important to any entrepreneur starting up a business. However, more important than that is having a mentor to support and advise you. Advice and guidance is priceless, which is why I now spend a lot of time supporting other aspiring entrepreneurs in launching their businesses. It’s my way of giving something back to the business community.

What’s the highlight of your career as an entrepreneur to date?

There’s been so many highlights, but I think being approached by Elton John to design a 24ct.gold plated iPod for his annual White Tie and Tiara Ball auction is one of the highlights. Twelve iPods were auctioned off to VIP guests including Will Smith, raising more than £100,000 for Elton’s AIDS Foundation. We also sold the product in Harrods and Selfridges, and they have been our most successful product to date.

Is the recession affecting your business?

Many of our clients are from the Middle East, Russia or Asia where their economies are growing rapidly and there is demand for high end luxury products like ours. Our business is continuing to grow year on year and we have been lucky not to have been affected by the recession unlike so many others.

Tell us about how you are now franchising Goldgenie in the UK and abroad?

We offer international master franchising as well as low entry level business opportunities here in the UK. We have 18 master franchises worldwide, including Italy, South Africa and most recently Bahrain. The business opportunities are also very popular and allow individuals to set up their own gold plating business for which we provide a complete business solution, training and support.


What is in the future for you? Are you looking at new businesses outside of Goldgenie?

I’m 100{e006f0a27f57b8027fcb119df6b50dc52cfbc299b4f1ec30b2707345be043b12} focused on Goldgenie at the moment. The company is constantly evolving and I want to focus on growing the business and introducing new products and services. Not only do we sell luxury products such as 24ct.gold plated iPhones, iPads and Blackberries, but we also have a customisation service where we gold plate bathrooms and even temples and mosques. There is an increasing demand for all of our services and I don’t intend on taking my eye off the ball any time soon.


Do you have an inspiration in the business world?

They say you should never meet your idol, but given the opportunity the one business mogul that I would like to have met would be John D Rockefeller. His business and life story inspired me from a young age.


If you could offer one piece of advice to young entrepreneurs, what would it be?

I would encourage young entrepreneurs to really think about exactly what it is that they want to achieve and to keep that at the front of their minds. Everyone’s image of success is different, so it’s important that you can visualise your goal and focus on achieving it. We all lead busy lives and it can be easy to become distracted on what it is that we really want. Stay focused and anything you desire can be yours.

[Via Make Money Magazine]

HTC and Goldgenie unveil 18ct gold HTC One for 18th MOBO awards

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Gold HTC One
Just five of the limited edition phones, valued at £2,750, will be produced

To celebrate the 18th anniversary of the MOBO music awards, HTC has announced that it’s partnered with gold phone producer Goldgenie to create an 18-carat gold-plated HTC One. Just five of the limited edition handsets, valued at £2,750 ($4,416), will be produced, with one going to the winner of the MOBO award for Best Newcomer at the ceremony on Oct. 19. There’s no word on what’s going to happen to the other four, but you can bet you probably won’t find them hanging around your local carrier store.

It’s the first time Goldgenie has partnered directly with a handset manufacturer, although the company did release its own, unofficial 24-carat gold-plated HTC One earlier in the year.

Goldgenie has previously made bespoke phones for Denzel Washington, Will Smith and Kate Moss, but this is the first time they have worked directly with an Android manufacturer.

Since its launch, the HTC One has attracted a host of editorial and industry awards which recognise its superior performance and new benchmark in design. Just last week the HTC One collected Gadget of the Year, Phone of the Year and the Design Award at the T3 Gadget Awards 2013. Other highlights include the GSMA’s Global Mobile Award for Best New Mobile Device or Tablet at Mobile World Congress 2013, Computex Taipei’s Gold Medal in Design and EISA award for Best European Advanced Smartphone 2013-2014.

[Source via Android Central]

Franchise in the spotlight: Goldgenie

The phrase ‘all that glitters is not gold’ contains a kernel of truth. But the founder of gold-plating business and franchise Goldgenie, Laban Roomes, is very much the genuine article.

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The streets certainly haven’t always been paved with gold for Goldgenie founder Laban Roomes. “I grew up in abject poverty,” he says. “My parents separated when I was around four years of age and my mum struggled to keep a roof over our heads.” Roomes’ mother wrestled with mental health problems and, while she earned a decent wage, it was still difficult for her to make ends meet. “I made a conscious decision that I was going to make my own money,” Roomes adds.

Many a young entrepreneur has cut their teeth trimming their neighbours’ hedges and Roomes is no exception. However, even then, the Leyton-born entrepreneur wasn’t content with sitting at the head of a small- time operation. “I had a team of people working for me,” says Roomes. “And I actually started to make more money than my mother who worked at the local factory.” He was, at that time, just 11 years old.

By the time he was 18, Roomes was exporting cars to Jamaica and making ten times what he was paying for them. Ever the dutiful son, Roomes used his success to support his mother. “At the age of 19, I paid off the home that we lived in,” he says. “If there’s been a high point of my life, it was paying off my mum’s mortgage.”

However, the real test of the entrepreneur was just around the corner. After spending some time travelling to various countries, he went to Jamaica to visit family and help out with that side of his import/export business. Unfortunately, he was greeted by something of a shock.

“The business that I had trusted with my in-laws had been completely sold,” he explains. And, in addition to discovering that his business had been ruined, his mother suffered a real dip in her mental health. Roomes returned with £80 in his pocket to find all the locks had been changed on the house.

For most people, finding themselves homeless wouldn’t appear to be the ideal time to start a business. But Roomes wasn’t easily beaten. He recalled something he’d seen on his travels in America that had piqued his curiosity: a portable gold-plating machine. “I drew a picture of this gold-plating system, found someone to make it for me, borrowed money from an ex-girlfriend and got the prototype made,” he says. “I literally knocked on people’s doors and asked them if they had items they wanted gold-plated.”

His first sale was an order of ten nipple rings for Unusual Skin, a piercing store in Tottenham, London. He made £10 for the whole order.

Going from nipple rings to a deal with Lexus may seem like a huge leap but Roomes was nothing if not persistent. Finding that the car manufacturer wouldn’t respond to his letters or calls, he decided to take direct action, heading to a dealership that once stood in Barbican and insisting they let him demo the product. “They dared me to gold-plate an emblem on the car without messing up the paintwork,” he says. “And I did so, to their amazement.” From the off, seven dealerships signed on the dotted line.

However, Goldgenie’s big ticket item isn’t Lexus emblems: it’s mobile phones. The idea initially came from a purchaser of one of the company’s business options; it took off so quickly that Roomes was soon picking up the overflow. Then, when the idea’s originator was forced to retire for personal reasons, the phones became a mainstay of Goldgenie’s business.

At this stage, Roomes was still running a humble operation out of a tent in his back garden. So it came as something of a shock in 2007 when he got a call from the organisers of American television industry awards the Emmys. “They said, ‘We’ve got 55 phones that we need gold-plating’,” he recalls. “They were going to Helen Mirren, Denzel Washington – literally every single person who’d been nominated for an Emmy Award.”

And, of course, that wasn’t his only brush with celebrity during 2007: the entrepreneur was also invited to appear on Dragons’ Den. Three times.

When he was first asked to appear, he went to the studio and, after demonstrating what he did, the show was eager to book him in.

They gave him a date and time and arranged a limo. But in the intervening time, doubts had begun to creep in, largely thanks to the negative advice of some of the people around him. “When they came down, I said, ‘Look, I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’m not going on the programme. I’m very sorry,’” says Roomes.

This happened a second time and, had it not been for an acquaintance putting him forward for the show, Goldgenie’s path might have been very different. The show’s producers were understandably wary but something had changed for the entrepreneur.

One of Roomes closest friends, Mark Mackenzie, had tragically died. “He was a very talented, good-looking guy,” says Roomes. “He could sing, he could act, he could model. But he was always too scared to step up his game.” The fact that he passed away without ever being able to make the most of his talents hit Roomes deeply and he vowed fear wouldn’t hold him back. When he was offered another shot at going on the show, he took the chance.

As experiences go, it was pretty dramatic. Roomes remembers standing at the bottom of the Den’s stairs and another contestant asking him why he seemed so calm and collected. He began to explain about the death of his friend. “As I was telling the story I started to cry a river of tears,” he says. “The clock was counting down, ‘59, 58, 57…’ and I was crying like a baby at the bottom of the stairs.”

Roomes managed to pull himself together just in time and used the energy of his story to win over the investors. “I went into all of that spiel and they just felt it,” he says. “I came alive and Mark Mackenzie was one of the triggers.” His story and business won over James Caan, who invested, and Goldgenie’s profile exploded. “Excuse the pun, but it says in the Bible, ‘A good name is better than silver and gold’,” says Roomes. “And I think just having James Caan’s name attached to the business was incredible.” Roomes has since bought back all of Caan’s shares – meaning he still retains 100{e006f0a27f57b8027fcb119df6b50dc52cfbc299b4f1ec30b2707345be043b12} of the enterprise’s share holdings – but the pair remain in close contact.

One of the lynchpins of Goldgenie’s growth has been its franchising system. The selling of master franchises has helped spread the brand around the world, enabling people to run Goldgenie in their own country. However, perhaps more interesting is the Goldgenie business option. “They can set up a company in their own name and become a Goldgenie-certified professional,” Roomes explains. This entitles them to act as resellers as well as gold-plating for themselves.

It isn’t just about boosting brand profile though. Most important for Roomes is knowing he is offering people opportunities to build their own success stories. “I started this business literally from a friend’s floor, because of what happened in Jamaica and losing everything,” he says. Which is why Goldgenie is in the process of setting up its own mentoring and incubator scheme, dubbed ‘Online Dragons’. Packaged with access to web design, marketing resources and space in the Goldgenie offices, the intention is to help other entrepreneurs with the same passion as Roomes himself.

More than just a case of a glittering finish on a well-thumbed product, Goldgenie is an example of 24-carat entrepreneurialism. And it’s helping to galvanise a whole new generation of budding business ventures.

[Via Elite Franchise]

Profile: Laban Roomes from rags to bling

Laban Roomes has been in the centre of a whirlwind of success over the last five years. After founding luxury gold plating company Goldgenie, he has gold plated phones and bespoke items for the likes of David and Victoria Beckham, Elton John and Denzel Washington. Although business is now booming for Laban, he’s the first to admit that it hasn’t always been this way…

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Growing up in east London, Laban was brought up by his mother who was working three jobs and struggled to pay the bills. Inspired by her drive and tenacity Laban was determined to help support her wherever possible.

Laban, 43, said: “We always struggled to make ends meet when I was growing up, but even from a young age I was determined to change that. One day a gypsy knocked on our door asking if we needed our hedge cut. I thought to myself that I could offer that same service, so I went out and bought some shears and started knocking on doors.”

Before long, Laban was making more money than his mother which he used to pay the heating and other bills that his mother couldn’t manage. As he grew older, he started up a number of other ventures including buying and selling cars. With much of his family in Jamaica, Laban soon cottoned on that he could buy a Lada in the UK for just £600 and then ship it to his brother in Jamaica and sell it for £6,000.

By the time Laban was 19 he had paid off the mortgage on his family home and for the first time in his life, things were looking up.

A few years later, after a stint working as a social worker, Laban decided to pack up and move to Jamaica to continue importing and selling cars. Laban’s world came crashing down when he arrived and found out that his business partner had sold his business behind his back. In the same week, his mother was taken ill and he had no option but to return to the UK with only £80 in his pocket.

“I was left homeless with only a few pounds in my pocket. Fortunately a friend put me up on their lounge floor while I got myself back together. It was during this time that I remembered the idea of gold plating which I had seen in America a few years previously.”

Laban borrowed some money from a friend and put together some designs for a portable 24 ct. gold plating machine. After finding someone to make the machine for him, he was able to carry the machine on his back and approach businesses and offer a bespoke gold plating service.

After six months of gold plating nominal items, Laban secured his big break with luxury car manufacturer Lexus. Despite his letters being ignored, he showed up at a Lexus car convention and gave a demonstration on gold plating Lexus car emblems. Overnight he had deals with 11 Lexus car dealerships and spent the next five years gold plating thousands of emblems.

In 2000 Laban was asked to gold plate a Nokia 8800 mobile phone, unknown to him that gold plating phones would be his bread and butter for years to come. Orders began flooding in and he set up a tent in his garden and had his friends, wife and two sons helping him gold plate the phones to meet the overwhelming demand.

And then, out of the blue, Laban received an email from organisers of the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles asking him to gold plate 55 mobile phones to be given to the award winners. From his tent, Laban gold plated the phones and delivered them in person to the awards ceremony in L.A. Denzel Washington and Helen Mirren were among those to receive the luxurious 24ct.gold phone.

Business was continuing to go well for Goldgenie and in 2007 Laban applied to appear on BBCs’ Dragons’ Den to secure further investment. It wasn’t until the third time he was asked to go onto the show that he finally took the step.

He explained: “People around me had persuaded me not to do it and it wasn’t until a good friend of mine passed away that I realised that I had to take life by the horns and go for it. I was incredibly nervous about going on the show but ecstatic when James Caan agreed to invest into the business. It was like winning the lottery.

“James was a great mentor to me and I’m very grateful for his support. He helped me grow the business and introduce franchising and business opportunities which have been very successful for those investing in them.”

Goldgenie began to offer international master franchises as well as low entry business opportunities in the UK. His product line was also expanding with the introduction of iPhones and iPads which Laban and his team embellish with Swarovski crystals and gold.

Goldgenie‘s exclusive products soon made it on to the shelves at Harrods and Selfridges and a number of celebrities including Simon Cowell, Usain Bolt and Elton John had their very own Goldgenie gold plated Blackberries and iPhones. Goldgenie were also asked to produce limited edition ranges for charities including Elton John’s AIDS foundation.

The requests for his services continued to flood in, and Laban was asked to gold plate items from the Sultan of Brunei’s toilet to the taps and fittings in the Celebrity Big Brother house.

It was in 2011 that Laban bought back James Caan’s share of the business. Like James once helped him, Laban now invests his time and money in aspiring entrepreneurs to “give something back” to the business community.

He said: “I have had some tremendous success over the years, but I’ve also hit rock bottom and know what it’s like to have lost everything. Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t change anything that’s happened for the world.

“I don’t think Goldgenie‘s success has peaked yet and I’m confident that it’ll continue to grow as long as we remain innovative and introduce new products and ranges. I’ve got some very exciting projects up my sleeve, so who knows what the future holds…”

[Via Business Matters]