Wednesday 7 December 2016

All sewn up: The 30 year guarantee Christmas jumper that Irish consumers want

One young entrepreneur who sees success in sustainability

Published 30/11/2016 | 10:11

It’s that time of year again.

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The temperatures plunge, the present shopping begins and the tree in the attic is dusted off. And, perhaps most importantly, you go on the hunt for this year’s Christmas jumper.

At least one of those traditions should only occur perhaps twice in every person’s lifetime, according to one young entrepreneur who sees success in sustainability.

“Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world after oil,” Tom Cridland told independent.ie.

Tom Cridland wearing his brand
Tom Cridland wearing his brand

“Elon Musk makes great business sense as well as being sustainable – so I thought, why can’t I?”

The forward-thinking 26-year-old is not wrong. The apparel industry accounts for around 10pc of global carbon emissions; more than 150 billion garments being produced annually, enough to provide 20 new garments to every person on the planet, every year.

You might be thinking – but we only wear the Christmas jumper over the holiday season, once a year – how impressive is that durability? Ah, but that is just the tip of the Cridland iceberg.

Stock at the company ranges from trousers to t-shirts to jackets to sweatshirts, all well tailored and designed – and all with the 30-year guarantee.

Tom Cridland and Nigel Olsson
Tom Cridland and Nigel Olsson

A self confessed lazy language student at college, Tom made the initial decision to crack the fashion industry after graduation by making trousers.  Shortly afterwards, the ideology of “buy less, buy better” occurred to him to be a potential breadwinner and the business as it is now was born.

“I teamed up with my girlfriend of seven year s – and now business partner – Deborah Marx, securing a £6,000 start up loan. Just three years on, we have grown the business to a £2m turnover , with customers on six continents,” said Tom.

The UK-based firm operated a pop-up shop on Kings Road in Chelsea early this year but have been keeping costs down thus far with no front office, selling online direct to their consumer.

But their plans for the future are large (a possible collaboration with a big name retail store) and their innovative funding and marketing tactics have worked well for the dynamic duo.

Daniel Craig wearing a pair of Tom Cridland trousers
Daniel Craig wearing a pair of Tom Cridland trousers

“We essentially created a wishlist of people that we wanted to wear our clothing and reached out to their PRs to see if we could get those celebrities to wear our brands,” said the firm’s founder.

“Elton John’s drummer Nigel Olsson was one such success. We now see him at several shows a year and he owns every single design we have.”

Although he might not have cultivated similar friendships with all the top names who have been spotted in his clothing, Tom says his apparel has been donned by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Stiller, Rod Stewart, Hugh Grant, Robbie Williams, Daniel Craig, Neil Young, Danny McBride, Clint Eastwood and Kendrick Lamar. To name but a few.

“We’ve also created a sister PR company to help start ups and more established brands target their market better. We use the funds derived from that and pump it back into the clothing design”.

Tom and Debs
Tom and Debs

With the manufacturing team based in Portugal and Italy and such a wide network of consumers globally, have Irish consumers shown any interest?

“When we were first starting out, the majority of our online purchases actually came from either Australia or Ireland. ”

“Irish consumers were one of the first to actively show an interest in our products.”

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