We did not have any finance in the early days specifically allocated for the import of Porsche Design Products. However, one evening, when we were having dinner with our bank manager Tim Gray, his wife Andrea said she wanted to purchase a pair of PDP sunglasses. We got talking about Porsche Design and she told us she thought sunglasses would sell very well in Bahrain. She asked, “Where is your shop?” and we had to confess we did not have our own outlet, as we had very limited funding. Andrea immediately turned to Tim her husband, “Tim you should give them banking facilities to import more Porsche Design products.” Tim agreed it was worth looking into and told us to put a small business plan together and pop in and see him the following morning at the Bank.
We duly met with Tim the following morning, we laid out our plans and he said he would give us BD 5,000/- ($14,000) facility in a separate account and that all the receipts for PDP should be put back into the same account so he could monitor Porsche Design business performance.
Bob ordered up a batch of stock and sometime later we cleared the goods from customs. We had spent all 100% the bank facility of the stock and we had to go to get Tim at the Bank to sign off on a further increase in our facility to pay the Bahraini customs duty upon arrival. Tim agreed this and we told him we would have the money in the account to cover everything quickly as we had lined up meetings with several potential customers.
The following lunchtime we had sold everything and repaid the Bank in full and nearly doubled our money in cash deposited in the PDP bank account. We popped in to catch Tim without an appointment and he asked how we were getting on and we said, “All the cash is repaid with a 100% profit in the PDP bank account!” He called Ragu; the man who dealt with our account and Ragu confirmed the numbers to him. Tim was so impressed in our rapid turnover; he doubled our facility overnight and told us he would be open to further funding provided we kept up this trend. Tim was my kind of bank manager!
Shortly after this Porsche Design Products was a separate Division of our business, run by Robert (Bob) Grafham with its own bank facilities, so it could run stand-alone from the car business.