It started when he bought a pair of shoes four years ago, and it has developed into a single minded passion which culminated in the first Porsche Design store in South Africa
Michael Griffin, 33, is a young entrepreneur who has identified many business opportunities and made many a success of them over the past decade, from the world of telecommunications in his early twenties when he set up the LGI Motorola Intelligence Centre, (largest distributor and repair facility for Motorola throughout Europe, Middle East and Africa) to his currently venture into the world of retail realising his passion for functional, timeless and purist design expressed by Porsche Design products.
“It all started when I bought and fell in love with a pair of Porsche Design Adidas shoes in 2007. Wanting a second pair in a different colour, I managed to get hold of the Porsche Design head office in Germany, who invited me to the show room in Stuttgart where the discussions began about bringing the brand to South Africa,” explains Michael.
Michael says that Porsche Designs' Engineered Luxury is what sets it apart from top designer brands globally - the designs encompass functionality with technology being core to the design.
“South Africans have embraced this new brand in South Africa, particularly the discerning shopper with a keen eye for design and those who want to be unique. My goal is to see the Porsche Design become the aspirational brand of choice in the fashion and lifestyle world,” he says. “It's more than image – it's a reflection on your outlook on the world.”
Before Porsche Design
Michael's career path to date saw him sell the LGI Motorola Intelligence Centre ten years after he launched it, but remained in the industry by launching Ashbury Satcom (Pty) Ltd, a company which specialises in the supply of satellite communications including infrastructure solutions for government, corporate and individuals. He offered this service across Europe and Africa, using local skill and industry experience which saw Ashbury grow year on year.
In between all his telecommunications work, Michael also set up Skynet World Wide Express in Angola. Starting in Luanda, Skynet now has sites all over Angola and continues to contribute to the success of the Skynet World Wide Express Global network.
At the beginning of February 2007, Michael was approached by Nokia South Africa who needed a solution for servicing their mobile handsets and accessories. They had a backlog of repairs and so, with a commitment to process 400 repairs a day, Michael put together a million dollar repair infrastructure from scratch in less than six weeks. Three years later, Reconnect Mobile had achieved 250 000 repairs, had established a 100 plus strong dealer network across Sub Saharan Africa and was the only flagship Nokia Care Centre in South Africa servicing over 3 000 walk in customers a month.
Another opportunity came along in 2008 when Michael bought 2BaldMen cc, a customised software business solutions and services company. With MTN as their latest client, they roll out a tailored point of sale and stock management system for all MTN owned and non-owned stores across South Africa. In 2011, he furthered his business portfolio by purchasing Carnelian Management Service, a Marketing Specialist Consulting House, focusing on growth in training and consulting across the telecommunication, IT and financial worlds.
With many of these business still under his leadership, and great management teams in place to handle the day to day running of these entities without his daily operational involvement, Michael has now been able to focus on his main passion- Porsche Design.
About his many successes to date, Michael says the advice he stands by, when coming across an idea or a concept, is to surround yourself with people who complement your weaknesses and to never give up trying.
In his free time, Michael enjoys off road racing and dreams of one day competing in the Dakar Rally. “I have raced in a couple of off-road races here in South Africa and look forward to the day that I have had enough time in the seat to attempt the Dakar - the ultimate test for man and machine”.