From cracked screens to water damage, broken phones are definitely not pretty, which is why we’re offering the winner of our #brokemyphone competition a brand new gold plated phone, courtesy of our friends over at Goldgenie. We spoke to Laban Roomes, founder of the company, to find out a bit more about them.

Hi Laban, tell us how the idea for Goldgenie came about?

I was searching for a new business concept and on one of my visits to the USA many years ago I heard about this service and believed that it would be a great concept to bring to the UK and Europe. I developed my own portable system and started working for Lexus dealerships, gold plating emblems on the cars. I was soon working for the entire Lexus UK network.

When the Nokia 8800 was launched we were the first company in the world to embellish these devices in luxurious 24k gold, rose gold and platinum. We have now been successful in offering the same service for hugely successful ranges by iPhone, HTC, Blackberry and Samsung.

How does it work? Is it just mobile phones that can be customised?

Goldgenie can embellish virtually any substrate to include stainless steel, aluminium and now plastic. In fact, we can customise hundreds of everyday items including mobile phones, car emblems, ornaments, bike parts, jewellery and even real roses to name just a few.

Goldgenie was catapulted to fame after a stint on Dragons Den. What was it like appearing on the show?

Extremely daunting! But after the initial few minutes I soon settled down and was able to talk passionately about my business and success, and of course convince James Caan to invest.

What has been the hardest thing about running Goldgenie?

Innovation has to be the hardest part as we have had to be inventive within a fast moving technology market. It is always a challenge to keep on top of new smartphones and tablets, to know which ones to customise and being first to bring it to the market. Over the years we have built up some great relationships with insiders and for the most part know of new phone designs and models long before the general public gets to hear about them, which helps us to keep ahead.

How does it feel when you see someone with a phone that has been customised by Goldgenie?

In one short word, inspired. It’s a reminder of just how far the business has grown and what is still to come for our emerging luxury brand.

We hear you have some pretty famous friends… Who’s the most famous person to have used Goldgenie?

We are so privileged to have an amazing list of clients including Sir Elton John, the Beckhams, Denzel Washington, Chris Brown and most recently P Diddy. We have dozens more but these are the ones that come immediately to mind. We are also proud to be the supplier to the Middle Eastern Royal courts.

What’s the most outrageous phone design you’ve created?

The £2.3m iPhone 6 diamond encrusted Ecstasy.

Finally, how would you customise your own phone?

My phone? Well that’s a 24k gold and diamond iPhone 6 😉