Here at Cherry Godfrey, we’re delighted to be celebrating our 30th anniversary – and the 30th birthday of our COO, Tanzy Cherry! Is it a coincidence that the company and Tanzy share a birth month? No – in fact, the company began the day that Tanzy was born (expert succession planning!). Read on to learn more about Cherry Godfrey’s history and the journey of our founder and CEO, David Cherry.
Cherry Godfrey has come a long way since the 1st March 1993: the day on which, in a little cottage in the Saltpans, David and Selena Cherry (née Godfrey) welcomed their baby girl into the world – and decided to set up shop together.
As a father with two small children (one-year-old Jacob and newborn Tanzy) to support, David’s decision to leave his job as Director of the Associates Capital Corporation, and set up a new company with wife Selena, was a bold one: but the young couple’s bravery and determination was rewarded, as the company earned over £10,000 in its first month.
Cherry Godfrey was accelerating quickly: but it all came to a halt when Tanzy – at only six weeks old – contracted Biliary Atresia (a rare liver disease with no known cause) and was referred Southampton Hospital for an emergency operation. It was a crisis point for the Cherrys in many ways: Tanzy was fighting for her life, they had no real income, a fledgling business, no health insurance and a big mortgage. David had to really dig deep, pledging then and there that he would do everything in his power to make the business a success – and, funnily enough, it was then that Cherry Godfrey got its first big break. An old school friend wanted David to finance some hire cars – David initially thought this would be a small number, but it turned into thousands over the years. David put together some of the earliest syndicated financing packages and financed the cars through several lenders.
The rest, as they say, is history…
Beginning as a finance brokerage in Guernsey, Cherry Godfrey has now evolved into a fully rounded financial services company in the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and on the Isle of Wight. Though the business has enjoyed quick and continuous growth, family values and a dedication to customer service remain at its heart – and will continue to do so as Cherry Godfrey evolves and expands.
An Interview with Founder and CEO David Cherry
Hi David – it’s great to catch up with you, particularly during this momentous week. 30 years of Cherry Godfrey, what an achievement! To begin, can you tell us your favourite quote or saying?
That’s an easy one! ‘Lend a bit of money, put some interest on it, and get it back.’ Simple, really!
What inspired you to start Cherry Godfrey?
I knew I could do a better job! The banks had taken their eyes off the ball and customers had just become a distraction for them. With my industry experience and passion for doing right by customers, I was certain I could build a company that would serve the local market in a way it deserved to be.
What challenges did you face at the beginning of your journey - and how did you overcome them? As the first Finance Broker in Guernsey, I had a tough job convincing the incumbent lenders to give me an agency - and they did everything in their power to make me go away. They underestimated the stubborn Guern in me!
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you’d have done differently?
Lots of things, because hindsight is a wonderful thing. The key is learning from your mistakes.
What makes Cherry Godfrey special?
Customer service, customer service and customer service!
What do you most enjoy about running your own business?
Helping our customers.
What advice would you give to a new business owner – someone who’s just starting out?
Unless you are prepared to work every waking hour, don’t do it…
What daily habits help you succeed?
Always look at the basics every day and have a clear idea where you are going for the next five to ten years.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I have been lucky enough to have had lots of fantastic mentors, but the two that stand out are Jack Norman, the founder of Commodore Shipping, and James Fattorini, the founder of Empire Stores. Jack had hundreds of staff but he seemed to know everyone - he really cared for his people; whereas James was the calmest statesman I have ever met. Hopefully a little of their wisdom rubbed off on me.