Startups are known for innovating and disrupting, and that's exactly what premium sportswear brand Castore aim to do. Their clothing combines the latest technologies and construction techniques, resulting in garments that help athletes perform better, are protected against odour, and which last for longer. They only launched recently but are already seeing big interest! We spoke to founders Tom and Phil Beahon about starting up.
1. Explain your business in thirty seconds or less
Castore creates premium sportswear for men. We use only the highest quality fabrics and utilise advanced technology to create performance enhancing products for serious competitors and more discerning gym-goers.
We also utilise advanced technology and engineering to embed performance features within garments that are unmatched by anybody else in the market. These include a lifetime anti-odour guarantee on tees and shorts, fully bonded seam construction to make garments 10x stronger than other sportswear, and compressed zipped pockets to ensure your valuables don't bounce around during your workout!
Finally, we are unique in being positioned as the only premium sportswear brand for men. We don't aim to target the whole of the market - we only make the highest quality garments, and aim to sell them to those individuals who are most serious about their fitness.
2. Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?
We are based in Battersea, South London. This is a great location for us due to its proximity to the affluent boroughs such as Kensington, Mayfair and Chelsea, where many of our target customers are located.
3. How did you come up with the idea?
Tom was visiting New York and came across two quite nascent sportswear brands that, although not to his particular taste, were interesting as they were selling sportswear at a higher price point to the existing mass market brands. When he returned, we started talking through the idea in more detail and doing some on-the-ground market research to understand if people in the UK would be willing to pay a higher price for premium-quality sportswear. The almost unanimously positive responses gave us the confidence to start writing our Virgin StartUp Business Plan and raise the funding to launch the business.
4. What stage was your business at when you applied for the Start Up Loan?
5. How have you used it to grow your business?
The Virgin funding allowed us to finalise our product development and build the castore.co.uk website, which has delivered over 80% of our sales to date.
6. Who is your mentor and how have they helped you?
Our mentor is John Treharne, founder of The Gym Group. John has been incredibly helpful to us, both in the build up to launch when we were debating where to position Castore within the market and post launch in terms of helping us successfully deliver our marketing strategy and start establishing Castore in the market.
7. Biggest achievement so far?
We have generated over £9,000 of sales in our first month, which has far exceeded our budget expectations, so we are very proud of that. We are also in the process of signing up a number of very talented young British athletes who will be challenging for medals at the next Olympic Games as Castore ambassadors, and we are very excited about that - so watch this space!
8. What’s next for your business?
We have made a strong start, but our focus very much remains on driving brand recognition amongst our target market of affluent and fitness-focussed individuals. We expect to establish a network of premium retail partners and will shortly thereafter look at international growth opportunities. Plenty to keep us out of trouble!