‘I have been fortunate enough to be able to turn my passion to profit’
From generating over £10,000 profit in one night in his first business as an undergraduate to over half a million pounds in revenue in his first year of entrepreneurship after graduation, Ikenna Ordor, a serial entrepreneur/founder, Starr Luxury Cars, now runs a multimillion pound luxury car concierge with clients, including global brands like Nike, Chelsea FC, Ubisoft, celebrities, among others. In this interview with Obinna Emelike, the London-based CEO unveils his drive and expansion plans to global tier 1 cities within Europe and emerging markets.
You have succeeded in virtually every business you have ventured into from your undergraduate days. So, what is the driving force?
I would say a genuine love for what I do, fueled with passion and financial freedom. As they say ‘If you do what you love, it doesn’t feel like work’. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to turn my passion to profit by identifying great business opportunities in sectors that I am passionate in – whether in hospitality or lifestyle.
At Starr Luxury Cars, we are building an innovative tech platform for The Ultimate Luxury Car concierge in the world, just like jet smarter has done with Jets and Airbnb with holiday homes. The possibilities of this are endless and that in itself is motivation for me.
You seem to have an undying passion for cars, why cars?
I am a classic man and I have always viewed cars as a statement and expression of who you are or feeling, a much better statement than jewelry or clothes. The technology, engineering, design and luxury composition of a well-built vehicle is immensely satisfying to admire and drive.
It is astonishing how Starr Luxury Cars has become the ultimate luxury car concierge in less than two years. What are you doing differently?
For us at Starr Luxury Cars, it is important for us to stand out from the crowd and this is at the heart of everything we do. We ensure that we provide more than a chauffeur service and as such operate similarly to a concierge service. We go above and beyond for our clients, not only in terms of providing the most unique cars in the market but we ensure that our client’s needs are met at every point of their journey with us. In addition to this, our clients have access to us 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
We also have the largest fleet of vehicles within this market, with a variety of automated luxury vehicles available. We have twelve luxury models to choose from chauffeur driven on our automated booking, no other company offers this.
How did you achieve a bulging list of clients, especially global brands like Nike, Chelsea FC and Ubisoft and what are you doing to keep them?
Our reputation precedes us, in an industry of professionals and cowboys alike. For us our clients are our most valued assets and we treat them as such. By providing a superior service, we’ve gained a lot of new clients through referrals. One happy client brings in five new ones and more. Over the years, I have also been able to build a strong network which has played a part in winning over some great clients. Your network is indeed your net worth and this is evident in our client portfolio.
We do not take this for granted and we are always seeking new ways to deliver a better experience to our clients. We do this by building on existing relationships and fostering new ones. For example, some of our clients host some amazing charity events. We ensure that we are part of this, by supporting and raising awareness around these causes and taking an interest in what they are doing as businesses.
The market is forever changing, so we listen to our client’s feedback and work with them to provide them with a product that can service them on both a personal and professional level. This is how we’ve managed to secure those corporate clients.
You are reputed for operating an asset light model, what is the model all about and how does it work?
An asset light model permits any business to operate with more flexibility and allows them to respond faster to changing demands and new market opportunities. It also allows us the ability to scale up without the need for heavy investment in capital. We are also less prone to profit volatility, we do not have high fixed costs and that permits for better net results from our revenue. Our model works in the strength of our relationship with our suppliers, the likes of Hr Owen and Hertz have supplied vehicles to us. In the very near future, we want the bulk of our platform to be automated. An API system for example, which will show a live feed of our inventory, will be available for clients to view and book, without having to speak to an agent.
How are you pursuing your expansion plans, especially to global tier 1 cities within Europe?
First, there is a need to understand the market before diving straight in. We have explored the eco-system for luxury transportation in cities like Geneva, Ibiza, Paris and Monaco and what we found is that not every city is a business and tourism hub like London. Ibiza is very good for seasonal tourism with supercars flooding the island in the summer months. We are engaging some key partners and ambassadors whilst dipping our toes in gently by offering parts of our services to already existing clients.
For now, our main focus remains the U.K. – the goal is to establish and prove this concept within our home turf before fully rolling out to other countries.
Are there plans to expand to other parts of the world, Africa and Nigeria in particularly?
Africa is the future and the market is changing as we can see with the likes of Porsche opening their show room in Lagos. We are definitely looking at coming into the market in the very near future especially with the appropriate cars for key African markets.
Whilst there are a few supercars in Nigeria for example, they cannot be driven easily as they will be in the U.K – for example because of poor roads. So it is important for us to take our time to ensure that we are able to provide the right product for this market.
You seem to have a growing clientele base of Nigerian celebrities, how do you get them and what attractions does your outfit have hold for them?
Understanding our client has been key to our success. By keying into my existing network of friends and associates, we have been able to tap into the entertainment space. However, the beautiful thing with our generation is that we support each other. So being a Nigerian owned business, a celebrity like Tiwa Savage is more likely to reach out to us as we have one thing in common – heritage! Our celebrity clients expect a certain level of service, so it’s our job to ensure we know what they like and offering this. If Tiwa Savage likes champagne in the car, then it’s our job to provide that for her and if Mr. Eazi prefers a different type of champagne to Tiwa, then it’s also our job to provide this.
Going by your Nigerian name, is Ordor a Nigerian or British entrepreneur. How do you describe yourself?
I would say I was molded in Nigeria and polished in Britain. I have principles that have been instilled in me from growing in Nigeria. We as Nigerians are resilient with an unwavering spirit when faced with difficulties or adversity and that same spirit lives in me.
What is next line of for you?
For now, all my efforts are directed into Starr Luxury Cars but you never know. I am keeping my eyes on a few sectors within Europe and emerging markets. We have a long journey ahead of us with Starr Luxury Cars and it is important to keep our eyes on the road.