In the city of Angels anything can happen. Many people come to LA hoping to realize their dream of becoming a star. They want wealth and they want fame. It is what makes Los Angeles different from any other city in the world. A lot of dreams will get shattered, a few careers will bloom, but how many will know how to adjust to success and retain it? That is the question. The competition is fierce and everyone has an idea. Some have ideas that people will pass on because they have no vision, and others will have an idea that will attract the grand public.
Meet the wonder boys: George and Jack Keshishyan, developers of a small company; Platinum Motor Sport that has become a giant in the industry. They attribute their success to hard work and impeccable service. They are the American dream and great role models for a lot of youth who are not made to be scholars. Not everyone needs to be. They have created a sexy company that is branching out on so many various levels. Platinum is now referred to as a lifestyle for the rich and famous, but still not totally out of reach for the average customer. Bright and unassuming, the Keshishyan brothers are surely on their way to becoming the Golden Boys.
LATF: Where are you from?
GEORGE: We were born and raised in Los Angeles. Our family is from Armenia. Even though we were born here, our first language was still Armenian. We grew up very traditional with a strict mother and father.
LATF: Do you have brothers and sisters?
GEORGE: It’s just me and my brother. My mom says, ‘Thank God I didn’t have a daughter,’ because we would have driven her crazy. I’m 28 and Jack is 26.
LATF: You represent the All-American dream. Tell us about Platinum.
GEORGE: Platinum Motor Sport is about 11 years old now. We started it when we were in 11th grade in High School. School didn’t necessarily work out very well for me or for my brother. At that time there were a lot of gangs and we grew up in a bad area. My father said, ‘If you’re going to go to school then I’m for it. I want you guys to learn and do what you can, but if you guys are going to just mess around, then I’d rather have you work and stay off the streets.’ He invested our first initial twenty or thirty grand and we started the company Platinum Motor Sport.
JACK: We started off very small.
LATF: Was it about accessories?
JACK: Yes. Since the beginning, we’ve focused on high-end. Similar to what we’re doing today. But it was pretty much a small accessory shop for rims, body kits, interior stuff, stereo systems and all of the fun toys that you can add on to cars. We started with small projects until our first major customer, who was a gentleman named Fred Crawford. He was the first one to trust us with a big expensive project. We took care of him and other people in the music industry started hearing about us through word of mouth.
LATF: What did you do for Fred Crawford?
JACK: He brought in a brand new SUV. We did a lot of things from stereo upgrades to interior and wheels. Until then, no one had given us such a big project to do. He was so excited about the way his vehicle turned out that he started spreading the word.
GEORGE: He managed four or five different artists at the time. Once we finished his vehicle, he brought us another one. It was a complete project built from the exterior: cosmetics to wheels, tires, paint work, to the interior, audio and upholstery. He loved the way his car turned out and immediately after, he introduced us to Dru Hill who was one of his clients. Dru brought us his car.
One thing led to another and we started to get a rush of clients. The service was immaculate and everybody loved the fact that we were two kids just hustling trying to make it happen.
LATF: How did you learn to do all of these things?
GEORGE: Our father has been in the automotive business in the states for a long time. He came here in 1979 and worked for somebody as a master mechanic. It’s been over 35 years since he started in the car business. For us, it was natural, because we grew up around cars. Since we were babies we saw our father working on vehicles.
LATF: Did you help your dad?
JACK: Yes we did. We grew up around my father’s car shop, but it was never anything fancy or exotic and high-end like what we’re doing now. It was the basics. As I mentioned before, when we started the company, it was small. I was still going to school half of the time and after school I was working. It was the two of us and maybe one or two other employees. We were doing sales, working the back and running the entire show by ourselves. As we started getting busier, we had to add on and expand.
GEORGE: At the beginning we had about five people working with us. We were running around writing invoices, helping clients, ordering parts and working on the cars. The first three years were the toughest.
LATF: Do you actually work on the car or are you more involved with the management?
GEORGE: At first, we got our hands dirty. Whatever we could have done, we did. We had a few older mechanics who previously had worked with my father come to help us out. Our business was growing so fast that we had to start hiring more people, adding secretaries, mechanics, etc.
LATF: Where did you come up with the name PLATINUM?
GEORGE: Believe it or not, we came up with it just between each other. We knew it was a precious metal.
JACK: We came up with it just sitting at the house.
GEORGE: We were at our cousin’s house before we had even opened. We were typing names on the computer, printed it out and said, ‘This is what we’re going to do!’ We’ve stuck with the name ever since.
LATF: Did you have any idea the company was going to blow up as big as what it is now?
JACK: We always worked hard towards that goal, but we never imagined that it would turn out as big as it is these days. It’s known world-wide, pretty much. It’s a good thing, but we weren’t expecting it to blow up in such a short time. There’s a lot of hard work behind it.
GEORGE: When we first started, it was more for us to stay off the street and out of trouble. We were not thinking about making a profit. The initial investment from my father was to keep us focused on some sort of a career. We grew up around cars so it came naturally to us. As we saw the business taking off and great things coming from it, that’s when we took it more seriously.
LATF: Do you guys agree on everything most of the time?
GEORGE: Most everything. We are very similar. Sometimes we’ll be apart and I’ll be thinking of something about a project and he’ll be thinking the same thing.
JACK: We spend pretty much every day together. As you know, when you spend so much time together, even if it’s not your immediate family, you start thinking alike. We always agree when it comes to our ideas and our judgments.
LATF: Who do you cater to?
GEORGE: Our doors are open to everyone. We have people who just walked straight from the street, politicians, athletes, actors and actresses, or a 16 year old kid who just got his license that loves cars and want us to do something to their cars. Of course, we’re known for our VIP and elite clientele. Obviously, if you take a look at our cars and the work that we do, we cater to more high-end vehicles and a high-end client base. The business has grown from just car enthusiasts to becoming a life style. Now it’s become more of a fashion statement. Whether it’s a guy or a girl, young or old, it’s a lifestyle. It’s become really fun, because we have as many female clients as we do male and as many older clients as we do young. It’s a big cross over crowd.
LATF: You also have the Platinum rental branch?
GEORGE: We actually have seven different branches to our business now.
JACK: The first one is Platinum Motor Sport, which is what we started with. Second is Platinum Collision Center, where we do full collision repair, body shop and custom painting. Our third division is a Worldwide Rental Car. That’s one of our newer divisions and it’s doing very well. We have a large fleet of cars from your basic $30-$40 car, all the way up to a Lamborghini and a Rolls Royce. Our fourth division is Worldwide Limousine and Chauffeured service. With either higher end cars or SUV’s, you get a chauffeur. We’re known all over Los Angeles therefore, our guys know where to take you when you’re in town.
GEORGE: We have Executive Protection if our client needs a bodyguard, so we offer that too.
LATF: You’ve become kind of a concierge service.
GEORGE: Exactly. We deal with a lot of royal families from all over the world. Often, when they’re coming to LA for the first time, we’ll cover all their needs from transportation to reservations, etc. After repeatedly being asked, “What’s a good place to eat, what’s a good club to go to, where should we shop?” We decided to start the concierge service. If it’s a high profile client and he needs Executive Protection, we can provide that too.
LATF: When are you going to add the helicopters and private jets?
GEORGE: It’s funny you mentioned that, we’re just starting that. Buses, Private jets, Watercrafts, we do all of that. We’ve even done helicopters before for a few shoots. The jets are becoming more frequent now because of the royal families and some of them are high-rollers. They all work hand in hand. The client is going to need a car when he’s in town, if he’s going to fly out then he’ll need a jet, he’s going to need to stay in a hotel. It’s kind of a big circle that works together.
JACK: At the same time, these are people we’ve built a relationship with over the years. If the trust and the good services are there, then they are inclined to have us handling the rest of their needs. We have created all these divisions with them in mind. Our customers appreciate it.
LATF: It seems that there is a trend with cars and paint right now. Tell us about that?
JACK: The hottest and newest trend is the matte finish. We’ve been doing it a lot with three or four hundred thousand dollar cars coming straight from the dealerships and getting them done in matte finishes. I have to say that we’re probably one of the starters of the trend, because about 5 or 6 years ago is when we did our first matte car and now everyone is jumping on it.
LATF: You do this to Rolls Royce’s?
JACK: Yes, we just did the football player, Chad Ochocinco Johnson’s Rolls Royce Phantom and Lamborghini. We did both cars and shipped it back out to him. You would be surprised as to the kind of cars that we do, literally brand new cars.
GEORGE: We had a Rolls Royce Ghost that we just recently did. The car had 100 miles on it. The owner bought it and transferred it right here to change the color on it. It’s pretty crazy. Right now we’re averaging maybe 5 or 6 cars a month having complete color changes with matte finishes.
LATF: What do you drive?
GEORGE: Um, it’s a whole fleet of cars.
LATF: OK, what’s your favorite car?
JACK: I mean, cars are our thing. That’s like me asking you what’s your favorite shoe or how many shoes do you have? We go through a lot of cars. We’ll buy all of the hot cars, what’s popular and what’s just coming out. We usually get them first, do what we need to do to the car and start showing it. It is a part of marketing. Customers will have already seen ours done, so automatically they’re going to know what they want for theirs.
LATF: So you don’t have a favorite car?
JACK: I have a Lamborghini, that’s mine.
GEORGE: I love my Bentley GT.
LATF: I knew there was a favorite one!
JACK: Aside from that, we buy a lot of cars.
GEORGE: Between us, we probably own about 10 cars. They range from a Lamborghini to a Rolls Royce Phantom to the new Porsche.
JACK: In our business we always have to have what’s new and what’s hot. If you buy a car this year, two years later it’s not hot anymore. We always have to have what’s in for people to see.
GEORGE: And those are our personal cars. Right now our rental service has almost 100 cars and our chauffeur service has probably 5 or 6 cars.
LATF: How many locations are there?
GEORGE: We have two locations and one warehouse; Sunset Boulevard and Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.
LATF: You guys seem very open and not jaded at all. What’s in the future for you?
GEORGE: The future holds a lot. We’ve talked to several different networks recently for a reality TV show. We’re working on a big project right now. If everything goes well, we should have Platinum Motor Sports in the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh. It’s in the process right now. Jack and I will probably fly out their next summer for the grand opening.
JACK: We’ve always had a big demand from the Middle East. The majority of our clientele from there are flying their cars to Los Angeles for us to work on. Between the transportation, it costs a lot of money back and forth. Since there’s a demand, we decided to take the next step and open a place there. We are very excited about it. I think it’s a major step for a company that started from nothing. Keep in mind, we don’t have any investors. We’re a family business.
GEORGE: We’re also into fashion. There are a lot of collaborations on the table with some pretty big brands.
JACK: The major thing is the Saudi Arabia project and the TV show. It never stops.
LATF: So when you do not work, which is probably not that often, what do you do?
GEORGE: We party very hard.
JACK: It’s hard because we’re always working. You can come in here any day and we’re always here. There’s never a day when we’re relaxing at home. We’re always here and on top of things, but you need to balance that out with going out, so it gets tough. We work long hours and then we party.
GEORGE: Going out is a process for us. When we go out, we go super hard so you need a week or two to recover. (Laughter)
LATF: No golf playing or anything like that?
JACK: We haven’t gotten there yet.
GEORGE: We’re into sports.
LATF: Sports watching, you mean?
GEORGE AND JACK: Watching, yes.
GEORGE: And the parties for sports. We have a lot of guests that come in. We just had an athlete with us who we were accommodating for the past few days.
LATF: So you play host, as well?
GEORGE: We play very good hosts!
LATF: Thank you guys. I know you’re a positive influence to a lot of youth. It’s wonderful to see two guys making it and keeping their heads on straight.
GEORGE: We appreciate the opportunity.