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About Diecast Legends

Diecast Legends, founded by Christopher Paul, is one of the world’s largest sellers of diecast models.Before getting into the diecast business, Christopher worked in advertising and marketing, having been a director of Saatchi and Saatchi, and later the head of advertising for Shell UK.He decided to set up his own advertising business and, as luck would have it, one of his first clients was a model car distributor called Amerang.

The first model he advertised on his own behalf was a 1:18 Kyosho replica of a Mini Cooper that Christopher had signed by John Cooper. It was a model he purchased from St. Martin’s Accessories in St. Martin’s Lane near Covent Garden in London (a business he later effectively took over). This was in early 1993. When the Ayrton Senna Racing Car Collection was launched by Minichamps in 1994, Christopher’s client, Amerang, asked him if he could market it exclusively in the UK by mail-order. He set up a company to do this, and called it Grand Prix Legends. To begin with, the company operated from, and housed all its stock in, his Notting Hill mews house.

But, before long, it had become clear that more space was required, and the growing business took a small office in a building on nearby Latimer Rd, and a unit in a storage facility for warehousing and despatch. By this time, the company was also selling Formula One T-shirts, caps, books, videos and so on.The business grew, albeit somewhat chaotically, but by the end of the decade it had become clear that a relocation out of central London was required.

In 2000, the company, and about half of its staff, moved to a premises in Cranleigh in Surrey.

In 2001, the decision was taken to create a new name for the diecast business: Diecast Legends.

Five years later, the company bought a 10 000 sq ft unit on the edges of Guildford, where it still resides today. Catalogues have, from the very earliest days, been the business’s central marketing platform.These days, we produce a 96 page catalogue every month of the year, and these are sent out to about 50,000 customers.

The database is actually considerably greater than this, but the commercial imperatives dictate that only the most active customers be sent a catalogue, as it costs about £2.00 to produce, print and despatch a catalogue to each customer. That’s £100,000 a month!

As it has been from the beginning, customer service sits at the heart of the Diecast Legends proposition. But the truth is that the business is better placed today to offer the desired level of service than it has ever been. This is partly down to the experience and learning from serving customers for over 20 years, but it also reflects the improvements in technology that allow us to communicate so easily, and in so much detail, to such a large number of collectors.

Today, we have the resources and facilities to offer a truly world-class service. Our diecast business is managed by Leigh Hobden. Leigh was originally a customer who, as a schoolboy, persuaded his mum to buy him the Senna collection. He wrote to us whilst at university and interned with us in his sandwich year. He joined us full-time after graduating.

Known as ‘Mr Diecast’, Leigh has a simply astounding knowledge of the diecast world. (He’s also a bit of a Smart-Alec on motorsports.) He works closely with many of the major manufacturers, who often seek his advice on new subjects. For those who like to be kept in the picture, Leigh writes a daily blog (Leigh’s Diary), where he releases any news the moment it comes to his attention. He also uses Facebook and Twitter to the same end.

Leigh does all our buying and oversees the website. He is ably assisted by our young lochinvar, Matt Upton, who edits and writes our monthly magazine.Matt is a motorsport and automotive enthusiast, but he also happens to be a gifted writer. Indeed, most weekends he’s to be found poking his nose into the pits at a circuit somewhere in the UK, eking out scandal and gossip, as well as race reports, for his other employer: Haymarket Publishing.

But whilst Leigh and Matt are the faces of Diecast Legends, it is what goes on behind the scenes that gives us our point of difference perhaps.

Order an in-stock model from us by 2.00pm, and it will nearly always go out that day.And we do, by now, know how to properly pack a diecast model, and get it to our customers safely. In fact, we probably over-pack our models, but better safe than sorry, as we see it. We also have robust systems in place to ensure that we don’t make errors picking and packing, as we know how frustrating this can be for a customer. Of course, we can’t say we never make mistakes. But every parcel is triple checked, so we don’t often get it wrong.

We also have an excellent phone-room (what some call a customer service centre). We don’t outsource this function. Our phone-room is manned by our own full-time staff who Leigh briefs every morning on the latest announcements, news, arrivals and issues. We take calls six days a week (seven at Christmas), up until 7.00pm in the week, and 5.00pm at the weekend.

The other area in which we differ from our competitors is in the way that we can and do take pre-orders. It’s true to say that we usually know about new models well before other sellers, and that’s because we work so closely with the manufacturers on their product development programmes. But what we are able to do that many other companies cannot, is reliably take pre-orders on models even if it takes two, three, four, five or even six years for those models to be released! One of our competitors claims that taking pre-orders for new models is borderline unethical, and probably the work of the devil! What we know is that companies who take this stance simply lack the skills and facilities to do the job properly.

When you place an order with us for a replica that has been announced but not released, we take all your details, and although we authorise your credit card for security purposes, this authorisation drops off after 7-10 days. Importantly, we take no money from your card. Your order will then sit securely on our system until your model comes into stock, however long that takes. You will receive your replica as soon as it is released by the model manufacturer. You can cancel at any time, without giving us a reason. When the model arrives, it will be sent out to you, and your card will be charged the prevailing recommended retail price. The system works. You won’t be forgotten, and you won’t miss out on a model. In fact, we cannot remember ever failing to deliver a new model to a customer who was waiting for it to be released.

 

Contact us

Diecast Legends, Unit 8 Quadrum Park, Old Portsmouth Road, Peasmarsh, Guildford, Surrey, GU3 1LU 
Telephone - 0844 887 8888 (00 44 844 887 8888 International) 
Fax - 0844 887 8899 (00 44 844 887 8899 International) 
Email - help@diecastlegends.com 
Diecast Legends is a trading name of Lylebarn Ltd, registered in England and Wales. Company no. 3016917, VAT no. 653 763319. Our registered office is Unit 8 Quadrum Park, Old Portsmouth Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU3 1LU.