Laban Roomes is a highly-acclaimed entrepreneur and founder of international luxury gift and gold customisation business Goldgenie. He is also an active social philanthropist.
Born and raised in East London to parents of Jamaican descent, Laban aspired to entrepreneurial work from the moment he started school. From the age of nine, he set up his own business cleaning cars, cutting hedges: anything to bring in some extra money to support his family.
At age twelve, Laban was already bringing home more from his out-of-school revenue streams than his mother earned through her full-time position at a local factory. By the time he was nineteen, Laban had paid off the mortgage on his family’s home and established an international business exporting vehicles to Jamaica.
Being no stranger to adversity Laban, while touring the USA, family circumstances forced his business partner to liquidate the export business’ assets. He returned home to the UK with £80 in his pocket and no prospect of a roof over his head. For nine months – while sleeping on a friend’s floor – he worked tirelessly to realise an entrepreneurial vision that had struck him in the States. In 1995, Goldgenie was born.
Laban designed and manufactured an innovative gold-plating process: one which is still at the heart of Goldgenie’s work today. Among his first clients were Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Honda, Toyota and Lexus, who rapidly adopted Goldgenie as their go-to provider for luxury vehicle detailing, emblems and interior aesthetic elements.
Gradually, Laban expanded Goldgenie’s activities to encompass a wide range of consumer-facing industries: telecommunications, jewellery, sports gear, home hardware: his pioneering gold-plating technique saved suppliers huge sums of money, while maintaining the quality necessary in the highest-end luxury products. His growing fame earned him an invite to distribute Goldgenie’s products at the 2006 Emmy awards in America, exclusive rights to the plating of Hindu artefacts in a London temple, and the acclaim and mentorship of Yo! Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe (OBE).
In October of 2007, Laban pitched Goldgenie’s gold-plating technology – and market traction – live on the BBC investment pitching programme ‘Dragon’s Den’. Goldgenie successfully acquired funding, as well as new guidance in James Caan, founder of recruitment organisation Alexander Mann, executive head-hunting firm Humana International and private equity company Hamilton Bradshaw. Laban had also made a lifelong friend and business partner – In 2012 and wanting to expand the business in a different direction Laban made a brave move and purchased all of his shares back from James Caan making himself 100% owner of Goldgenie again.
Since then Laban Roomes has attended and supplied luxury gifts in person to the Oscars, created luxury ranges of iPods and iPhones for a host of celebrities such as the Beckhams, Floyd Money Mayweather, Usain Bolt, Mark Wahlburg, Clint Eastwood and Will Smith, to mention just a few. The company has also launched initiatives and campaigns to raise money through donating a percentage of the company’s luxury gift sales to raise much needed cash for several charities including the Elton John Aids Foundation (EJAF) the Teenage Cancer TRUST and SOS Children’s Villages.
Laban has also gone on to win the Great British Entrepreneur, the coveted Lloyds TSB – FSB Entrepreneur of the year award and been accredited by the British jewellers association for the luxury Gold embellished gifts and devices his company sells.
Lately, Laban has focused his energies on franchising Goldgenie abroad, as well as mentoring younger entrepreneurs and start-ups (who he has referred to as “the lifeblood of industry and commerce”) and as Laban describes in his own words “Not everyone has the will power to consistently inspire themselves, everyone needs in their life at least one person who believes in them, that can help unlock their true potential”.