Justin Etzin’s childhood was less ordinary than most. Born in Hong Kong, raised in the Seychelles and educated in Britain, he always stood out among his peers.
Justin Etzin lived in Hong Kong, with a cook, cleaner and chauffeur. Justin remembers his parents always stressed the good fortune of his upbringing: “I dressed myself and tidied my own room, when I could have just sat about like a little prince. My parents always reminded me of what I had to lose. I have never wanted my family’s money because, when money comes too easily, it can go just as easily. So I decided to work for myself – and work very hard.” He lived between Hong Kong and The Seychelles, where his father was made the Hon Consul to Seychelles from Hong Kong appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Justin spent his early years between Australia, Hong Kong and The Seychelles, and then moved to the United Kingdom when he was eight years old.
The Late Bernard Etzin
Justin Etzin always had a lot to live up to. His father Bernard Jacob Etzin was born in Japan in 1930, the son of a silk exporter from Lithuania, he became, at the age of 15, part of the American army’s advance team in Hiroshima, ten days after the atomic bomb had been dropped on the city. He worked both as an interpreter and personal assistant to General Eisenhower. When he was 17, he arrived in New York with only $1.10 in his pocket. With three Japanese brothers named Yasui, he set up a company making sewing machines. Today, the Brother International Corporation is an empire selling a variety of goods in 150 countries which turns over annually $1.5 Billion US dollars.
He went to prep school in London, and took great interest in the artistic side of life. He was in the gymnastics team, the UK Fencing team and he excelled in Art and Acting. He went on to join Sylvia Young theatre School as well as Andrew Lloyd Webbers charity productions and ended up with leading parts in productions in the West End.
Justin Etzin was 12, and living in Knightsbridge in London, when he started his first business, car washing, targeting customers of Harrods and other local stores who parked on meters close to his house. He bought three T-shirts and had justin’s carwash printed on the front. He ran the business after school and on the weekends and he employed friends who he paid by the hour. By just 13, he was running a market stall on the Kings Road in London selling the latest gadgets that he imported specially from Hong Kong.
While at Bedales public School in England, Justin Etzin was involved in various sports, was secretary of The Wine Society and took a great interest in arts and crafts. He was nominated and named Head of the Year, but his real passion was his charity involvement and in particular his flair for raising money to help different causes. He earned a Gold Nose for his endeavors during one of the first Comic Reliefs, a prize that was given to Justin directly by the founder of The Charity, Comedian Lenny Henry. Justin had spent hours washing a fire engine and even sitting in a bath in a shop window in London all in the name of Charity.
His position of Chairman of Amnesty International at School allowed him free reign to raise money for a cause he believed in, but to also set up and run the school “tuck shop” in the way that he knew would be the most profitable. Expansion, longer opening hours and a larger variety of stock. He set about raising money for the Charity, running the school “tuck shop” selling all those necessary creature comforts that teenagers miss whilst away from home. 100% of all the profits were donated to Amnesty International and money was used to raise awareness of the charity. Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Justin was outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by the chance to be able to work to improve human rights through campaigning and letter writing. He use to buy stamps and writing supplies so that letters could be written out by pupils and sent pleading for the release of prisoners of conscience, as well as for fair and prompt trials for all political prisoners and those locked up without a trial at all.
Whilst at boarding school in the English countryside, in the days before mobile phones, Justin was on his way to his first million using the school pay phone as his only business tool. As technology developed, he remembers he was the first pupil in school who had a mobile phone. Often confiscated by teachers purely to see how one worked, it wasn’t before too long that the teachers accepted the idea and allowed him to continue to grow his little empire.
But it was the rewards of success and his ability to help others through his different businesses that inspired him to succeed. Whilst just 14 years old and still at boarding school, he founded a now legendary youth entertainment company Capital VIP, which catered for teenagers from public schools across the UK. Described by the press as “The most exclusive Teenage Parties in the World”. The sons and daughters of Politicians, celebrities, and even British and foreign Royalty attended and purchased tickets for his famous parties. Headlines hit around the World when Princess Dianas son, Prince William attended his famous parties, soon followed by then Prime Minister Tony Blairs Son, Euan Blair. Through incredible marketing skills he managed to get teenagers from 170 schools across the country all to attend his parties, and make the party company the most successful under 18 brand at the time. By the time he finished school he retired from the youth entertainment business and sold the company.
He went on to attend Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, UK, where he studied Business and Law. He was a member of the Economics Club and The Oxford Rowing Club. Etzin was also active in tennis, swimming, skiing, horseback riding, and cycling, as well as a part of the UK vaulting gym team. Deciding after just one term to return to London to concentrate on his businesses, Justin opted for the university of Life and continued with his businesses.
By 18 he developed a passion for International Business and London Night Life
By 18 was now old enough to be running the top nights at some of London’s trendiest night clubs, including Browns, China White, and Cafe de Paris. The cutting edge events attracted the jet set, the fashion and film crowds from all over Europe and was the place a celebrity was to be seen if visiting London. Music artists such as Madonna, Prince and Puff Daddy attended regularly and even asked Justin Etzin to organize their private Birthday Parties. Film stars like Cuba Gooding Jr, Wood Harrelson, Nicole Kidman, and even Sports stars like Michael Jordan pitched up to experience the events whenever they visited London. Top International Models from around the world visited Justin’s Club nights and also held their own parties organized by Justin Etzin.
He went on to set up a multitude of different businesses in Europe. He was the first importer of the now legendary tiny Mercedes Smart Car sourced in Europe and marketed to the UK proving to Mercedes Benz how lucrative the UK market was when they had launched everywhere in Europe but had ruled out the UK due to what they thought was lack of demand. Justin Etzin was ahead of his time, proved them wrong and marketed the car as a fuel efficient green car and sold over 100 units in a matter of months. His passion for cars took him across the world on over five Gumball 3000 Celebrity Rallys. His driving partners included childhood friend Entrepreneur Lord Edward Spencer Churchill, and former girl friend Actress Alexandra Aitken. He even went on to set up a Specialist Car Rental company, providing vehicles to the film and entertainment industry with locations in London and Los Angeles.
Underlying all of these projects was Justin’s innovative eye for new opportunities and drive to make the projects a success.
Whilst still in his early twenties, he had businesses from the first Black Tie Restaurant food delivery company serving food from the most exclusive restuarnts in London direct to your door. A Cigarette and Cigar Club importing and delivering to members around Europe taking advantage of EU rulings allowing free trade within EU states. He published a magazine, owned a water sports centre, and even a PR and Corporate Events company that catered to a variety of Blue Chip Companies.
Due to his love of the arts and the film world he set up a film location and Events location company which provided locations for HollyWood Movies like Woody Allens first ever UK film, Match Point and TV series like Footballers Wives and Holly Oaks. Locations were provided all over Europe and even in far flung remote places of the world.
His Current International Businesses
Justin Etzin is currently CEO of Seychelles Capital. Seychelles Capital expertise includes corporate credit, event-driven, equity and equity-linked investing. A specialist provider of capital and management with particular expertise on the long term restructuring and consolidation of out of favor industries as well as the focused management and revitalization of the corporate / leisure entertainment industry. Seychelles Capital seeks to generate above average, risk-adjusted absolute rates of return. “Central to our investment methodology is the combination of fundamental analysis with a pro-active approach to trading. The flow of timely and actionable information is enhanced by the close integration of portfolio managers, research analysts and in-house risk management technology”. Seychelles Capital also specializes in cutting edge marketing, providing support for the various franchise operations that they license worldwide. Justin Etzin is responsible for the success of the company. As The CEO’ some things can’t be delegated. Creating culture, building the senior management team, and, indeed, the delegation itself can be done only by him. As the CEO he ultimately sets the direction.
Justin Etzin founded Altitude 360, with the first of the franchises based in London. Described as London’s most exclusive event space, Altitude 360 has over 8300 Sq Ft of event space offering incredible views in the heart of Westminster, London. Officially opened by The leader of the Conservative Party, The Rt Hon David Cameron in September 2007. Altitude 360 specializes in providing modern corporate space to the business community. The ultimate location for corporate entertaining with the Ultimate Backdrop, Meetings, Product & Press Days, filmed Interviews, photographic shoots or a plethora of other corporate uses. Certain private functions are also held there, including upscale weddings and big budget private parties and charity gala events.
The Conservatives have used the venue regularly for press briefings and Policy announcements and announced in 2007 that it will be from Altitude 360 where the next battle of Britain will be fought for the leadership challenge. The UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown launched British Tourism Week at Altitude 360 in 2008 which gave added credibility to the importance of this now important London landmark venue.
Foreign Politicians have also realized the value of the Altitude 360 brand. When USA Presidential Nominee John McCain visited London, he chose Altitude 360 for his only UK interview explaining why he was the right person for the most important office in the world. Altitude 360 provided the best location for the live filmed interview as well as the necessary security that the Iconic Millbank Tower provides.
In October 2008 plans were unveiled for Altitude 360 expansion, which will allow 360 degree views from the Altitude venue. The Mayor of London, Mayor Boris Johnson officially launched the concept and publicly paid tribute to Altitude 360 for its support in helping him become Mayor of London. He thanked Altitude 360 for the Vote in Confidence in London by doubling its size and becoming the Largest Venue in London with such Iconic Views.
The launch of The River Room as part of The Altitude 360 family has been a meticulous thought out process for both Justin and his team. As brand Manager of Altitude 360 and The River Room, the adaptation of a new venue as part of an existing brand was challenging to say the least. The River Room, London opened its doors in July 2009 to become Londons most sophisticated event space.
His Venues in London combined are now the largest Riverside Venues In London, known simply as Altitude 360 and The River Room.
Together they now have a square footage at over 15,000 SqFt, with stunning, 360-degree views of the London skyline as well as direct views at River Level. Situated by the Thames, with function rooms on the 2nd and the 29th floor of Westminster’s Millbank Tower. The two main rooms can now hold up to 1200 between them or 600 in each space. The space offers two cinema / auditoriums at River Level holding 300 and 200 respectively. At the skyline level there is the possibility of having over 8300 SqFt of open space or a multitude of different spaces that are created by hi tech electric walls that neatly divide the rooms into elegant individual spaces each with their own unique views. A great blank canvas potential, plus hi-tech facilities such as twelve 60 inch state-of-the-art plasma screens, which can be linked to a roving camera for live video feeds. The venue’s expansion ensures it will remain as one of the top choices for event organisers in the city.
Further Altitude 360 locations are planned for Paris, Geneva, and New York, whilst the franchised concept now operates as a franchise opportunity in countries across the world.
Justin Etzin founded Salt & Pepper Private Food Design providing catering to numerous high end venues. The concept was simple, offering exquisite food for events from Michelin Star trained Chefs. The first franchise was based in “Londons Larder”, New Covent Garden Market. Salt & Pepper London uses the finest & freshest ingredients from suppliers literally on their doorstep. He franchised the concept and Salt and Pepper now operates as a franchise opportunity in countries across the world.
The Seychelles Islands
In the Seychelles he is in early planning stages of an Eco development project consisting of a Boutique Hotel & spa with 20 freehold Private Residences. The five year project is in early concept stages, with architects carefully designing the ultimate residences so as to have as little impact on the environment, yet to allow the property to be world class. The 40 acre estate is nestled amongst the granitic rocks shelves in the middle of the Morne Blanc national park. The twenty eco residences will have extensive grounds, with mountain spring water feeding each property & with unrivalled sea views of the Seychelles National park & inner islands.
His Personal Life & Interests
Justin Etzin is an Aquarius and truly is a water baby. He enjoys swimming, scuba diving, water skiing, and deep-sea fishing. On land he’s just as active as he often goes horse riding, plays Tennis, and is a keen Snow Skier as well. He maintains hes just at home on a beach in Seychelles as he is in a city like New York or LA. He loves entertaining, cooking and throwing dinner parties with great food and close friends. Always a real adventurer, he loves Traveling and experiencing other cultures.
Following his fathers death from Cancer, he runs a charitable foundation providing resources to allow charities to increase their awareness and hold events to raise money. He also provides unique experiences to those who are in palliative care as well as also providing equipment for hospitals that need urgent funding.
Justin Etzin then followed in his late fathers early footsteps and is now based between The Seychelles, (where he is resident and he considers his home), Europe and The USA.
He finds the challenge of achieving the impossible, and being the under dog is what makes his work so interesting. He lives my the motto, “I try to live life to the full and learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow.”