Paul Beckett’s love of music started at age 11 when he was bequeathed an analogue record player by his grandfather. Whilst Paul’s peers were buying CDs, he was stockpiling vinyl and experimenting with tiny yet precise acoustic adaptions (including blu-tac) to his music system. His passion stayed with him throughout his time training in art, design, sculpture and horology, whilst dreaming always of using his skills to build the perfect sound system, reproducing sound as if the musicians themselves were in the room. In 2015 Paul found himself with a bit of time and money on his side and after a year of research, a few dead-ends and twists along the way, had a design for a record player that music lovers everywhere would appreciate, covet and crave.
Paul’s long-term vision was to set up a small manufacturing plant in his home town of Sheringham, Norfolk, where he could produce precision-built, high quality, high value turntables, using locally sourced materials, supply chains and skilled engineers.
Paul had already invested a substantial sum of his own money in the venture but in order to realise his ambition he needed to secure additional funds to build a prototype. He was successful in securing a small grant from his local council along with a loan from his local bank. The bank, however, required him to source further match funding and put him in touch with Foundation East, a local Community Development Finance Institution, to explore if it could help.
“Paul presented us with a comprehensive business plan with realistic cashflow projections. He had established excellent engineering support and a distribution network alongside targeted marketing strategies. He was clearly very driven. We agreed to lend him the funds needed to complete the funding package,” explains Bob Shimmon, Business Loans Manager at Foundation East.
Since receiving the loan in 2015, Paul has manufactured and sold the first batch of ONKK Cue DD turntables and reinvested the income generated to precision engineer the second batch of turntables, due to be completed in August 2019. Receiving world class reviews from specialist magazines such as Mono Stereo, Paul has begun to plan for batch three.
Paul’s endeavour and persistence is paying off and we are delighted to have been part of his journey.
We'll leave the last words to Paul:
“The joy I felt as a child when my grandfather stood me on his toes and danced me around to the sound of his favourite song playing from his record player, will live with me forever. I wonder if he realised that, with his parting instructions to my grandmother to buy me a record player, he was planting a golden seed? Without Foundation East’s loan and support, I would never have been able to get my business started and I am pleased to have been a recipient of a loan from a social enterprise that exists to strengthen the community here in the eastern region.
“Remaining in Sheringham is essential to my well-being and to my ongoing growth plans. Using local suppliers has been central to my success and will continue to be so. Even though ONKK products are being sold globally, ONKK is at its core a Norfolk company committed to positively contributing to local economic resilience.”