Tom Cridland started designing clothing when he was 18, seven years later his brand has been worn by the stars and featured on news sites around the world.
At the age of 23, with £6,000 of a government start-up loan in his pocket, Tom Cridland set out to take his fashion ideas into the world. After designing clothing for various celebrities, including; Daniel Craig, Ben Stiller, Hugh Grant and Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom wanted to create a sustainable fashion brand, so the 30 Year Jacket project was born.
What exactly is your business and how does it help people?
Tom Cridland is a sustainable fashion brand offering luxury clothing at an accessible price point direct to customers without retail markups from tomcridland.com, with a mission statement of encouraging people to think about sustainability when it comes to clothing and how they consume it.
What was your inspiration and motivation to get started in business?
I wanted to be an entrepreneur and decided that I would start a fashion brand aiming to make the perfect pair of trousers. I applied for a government start up loan, aged 23, was successful and Tom Cridland, the brand, was born.
How did your friends and family react to you starting a business?
They were kind but thought I was barking mad, with the exception of my close family and my wonderful girlfriend and business partner, Debs.
How have you managed a work/life balance?
We haven’t! We work every day and long hours but we do get to travel, which is amazing. We’ll have to wind it down at some stage but we firmly believe we should make use of the energy we have in our 20s.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
The government start-up loan was just £6,000 and we’ve had no further investment since. We had to bootstrap every step of the way at first, like real entrepreneurs! We afforded our first stock order with a pre-order sale that we manically promoted via word of mouth.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
Don’t listen to negative advice from people who don’t understand your vision or think there’s something noble to be said for doing a job you don’t enjoy. A job doesn’t have to just be a job, it can be a passion to and, if it is, chances are you will do it better.
How do you expect your business to develop in the future?
Thanks to our 30 Year Collection, the Tom Cridland brand already has an international presence. For the rest of the year, we’ll be looking to give back and support our fellow entrepreneurs through a new garment called The Entrepreneur’s Shirt and, after that, we’re going to put together a much bigger team and cement ourselves as the leading global sustainable fashion brand.