“Blood, Sweat and Passion”
One-on-one with Grant Dryden- General Manager of Aston Martin and McLaren South Africa
Buying a suit at a large retailer can be a painful process. Finding the right style is your first issue, your choice is limited. You may have wanted a single button, but two or three buttons is all they have, so you settle. Then there’s finding the right jacket and trouser size, this is your second issue. The gentleman who is assisting you tells you he has an idea, he gets on the phone and after shouting a sequence of reference numbers, he smiles, looks at you, and puts the phone down. He says “I have good news Mr. So and So, my other branch in Hammanskraal has your size, but it’s black and not the blue you wanted”.
On the other hand, visiting a tailor is a completely different atmosphere. The place is quieter, you’re given a handshake, offered a drink and asked a few questions about yourself. An option of fabrics is presented to you, you’re measured up and in a few days or a week your bespoke suit is ready for collection. Upon collection your tailor asks you about something you told him last week and you’re so impressed, you don’t even mind spending the money that you’re spending with him. The thing about buying something expensive is that if you can afford it, it is less about the price and more about the service which will determine you purchasing the product or not. There needs to be a relationship between the seller and they buyer, one based on respect, trust and loyalty. The person selling the product needs to have a genuine interest in his patrons, not viewing them as a once off purchaser but rather a lifetime client.
This is something Grant Dryden knows very well, the proof of this lies in the fact that in a single year around 35 McLarens were sold in South Africa. Need I say more? Speaking to Grant for an hour, I automatically picked up that he is an enthusiast himself. So his passion for the brands he manages makes it an easy process for him to put a client behind the wheel of a car that costs more than many peoples homes. Which brands are those? Aston Martin, McLaren and Rolls Royce, the best of British. Looking at Grant you realise that you’re not looking at an older man. So the question is how does a young man get appointed to manage such expensive brands? “blood, sweat and passion” is what I would say. After completing his studies in a Bcomm Logistics, he was offered a job at Daytona and started off by assisting sales people and moving around high end cars. When Daytona secured the McLaren franchise, he was promoted to sales within McLaren and he found synergy between him and the brand which made it easy for him to sell the cars. And sell he did.
Fast forward three years later and Grant is now managing Daytona Customs which supplies Brabus modifications and ADV.1 wheels. In a matter of months, Daytona Customs has become the second best seller of Brabus conversions in the world, second the the UAE, a market which is obsessed with super cars. Grant now sits at the helms of Aston Martin, McLaren and Daytona Customs. According to Grant, a McLaren client is a client looking for something bespoke, something completely different to what the other manufacturers are offering. A blend of technology and performance that sets the brand apart from its rivals. An Aston Martin client is a more traditional man or women, seeking something that represents sophistication, heritage and elusiveness whilst still offering amazing super car performance in the guise of a gentleman.What’s in store for the future at Daytona? More bespoke modifications from Daytona Customs, even better technology from McLaren and what really peeked my interest is going to be some new developments from Aston Martin, aimed at a younger market. Regarding Rolls Royce, we can liken the brand to a pair of good quality brogues, have they ever looked and felt outdated? For someone looking for luxury, never.
Our conversation with Grant Dryden went by very quickly, we had to eventually let the man get back to doing what he does best. One thing I took from Grant is that in anything you do, without passion you will never be as good as you can be. Food for thought for anyone who is an aspiring entrepreneur or brand manager. He tells us that he never loathes going to work. If you love cars, can you really disagree with the man though? Certainly not. Of course there are bad days but passion is what will keep you coming back. The sound of an Aston Martin or McLaren are good incentives too.
Daytona doesn’t sell cars, they sell a lifestyle. A luxury emporium as Grant puts it. As a client, Daytona can offer your whole family a type of car for each member, guaranteeing that you won’t have to look elsewhere. Besides, you will be too busy getting figuratively tape measured and enjoying a drink. Yes you will spend a lot of money with them, but if you can afford it, it sure beats travelling to Hammanskraal.