how his partners are helping him take on the sportswear premier league

Fitness brand Castore revolves around sports giants such as Nike and Adidas – and the company is only six years old.

Founded by brothers Phil and Tom Beahon in Liverpool in 2016, the men’s and women’s sportswear brand focuses on high-end sportswear. Its products are tested by athletes and the brothers themselves – Phil, a former cricketer, and Tom, a former footballer – and are made to specific performance requirements such as breathability, stretch and insulation. , in factories in Spain and Italy.

Castore has 26 collaborations with cricket, football, rugby and motor racing teams and athletes, including Birmingham’s Aston Villa Football Club and the West Indies Cricket Team, for which it supplies official football kits. ‘crew. He also signed a deal to supply the official kit to Harlequins Rugby Club in July and recently announced a partnership with Oracle Red Bull Formula 1 racing team in September, which has world champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez at the helm. . Castore will supply the kit for the team, and its logo will appear on the riders’ overalls from the start of the 2023 season.

Retail prices for Castore’s mainline collection start from £35 for a men’s t-shirt, £35 for a women’s sports bra, and go up to £165 for a men’s water-resistant hoodie and £165 for a Castore x Reiss women’s jacket. Prices for team kits vary, but average between £55 for children’s replica kits and £70 for adult sizes. Castore sells direct to consumers and through 11 stores in the UK.

Castore is also getting into the world of fashion: in 2021, it collaborated with high-end brand Reiss on a men’s collection of high-end sportswear. The partnership launched womenswear in August.

Castore established a long-term collaboration with professional tennis player Andy Murray in 2019: the former Wimbledon champion wears the AMC sub-brand in competition. Performance t-shirts start at £40 and shorts at £50. Murray, alongside New Look founder Tom Singh and Zuber and Mohsin Issa, the brothers who own Asda, are co-investors in the brand.

Co-founder Phil Beahon is a Drapers 30 Under 30 alumnus, graduating in the Class of 2018.

Tom Beahon tells Drapers what drives the energetic label and his plans to expand the store.

How important are collaborations with sports teams in Castore’s strategy?

Tom Beahon, Co-Founder, Castore

They are really important to Castore as a brand and to our business model. The UK and global economy is going through significant changes that will squeeze consumer spending and make life difficult for brands. If consumers buy their team’s products, it’s a passionate purchase: they’re emotionally connected to the team. Passion buying is a much more resilient source of revenue than a traditional consumer brand. Consumers will focus on their passions. They may not go out for dinner or to the movies as much, but if you’re a rugby or Formula 1 fan, watching your team will be the highlight of your week as times get tougher financially. Our job as a partner is to create products that truly engage and bring out that passion.

The second key benefit is that we believe there is a huge opportunity to digitize the revenue streams of these teams. In the past, the standard way a fan would engage was to go to a game on Saturday afternoon and buy [merchandise] then. But we have the e-commerce and digital infrastructure to interact with fans digitally, not just physically – we work with our partners to grow revenue outside of game days. Teams like Newcastle United, which have new owners in the Middle East, have fans all over the world, and not all of them can come to the shops on a Saturday.

How will you continue to grow Castore and differentiate yourself from other fitness brands?

We see a big opportunity for elite sports, which has been dominated by the same small number of big brands – there has been little innovation or disruption in this market. There is now a great opportunity to digitize this market and help teams engage more in markets across Europe and the Middle East.

Competition [against other sports brands] is not easy. The honest answer is that you have to offer something different – ​​either for the clubs or the customer – and give a clear and specific reason why that club or consumer should buy from Castore. On the brand side, we were clear from the start that we weren’t trying to outdo Nike, Nike. Going one-on-one wasn’t going to work, but being a high-end British alternative to big players [would help Castore stand out].

I don’t think it’s unfair or controversial to say that big brands look at teams differently than we do – we look at partnerships through a digital lens, and many clubs are realizing that digital is the future.

We compete with some of the biggest brands in the world, and it’s not realistic for us to become a better known or recognized brand than Nike or Adidas. But we distinguish ourselves by our more premium product: we can go to the factories and make adjustments – for example, making fabrics 5% lighter for example. Our competitors do not go to this level of detail.

Reiss x Castore Women’s Clothing

Why do you think there has been so little competition for sports signings in the past?

It’s just an opinion, but in my opinion the answer is that there was no competition: they [major sports brands such as Nike and Adidas] would maybe swap clubs [for sponsorships and kit deals] Between them. Marks were quite comfortable and needed a newcomer like Castore.

How did the collaboration with Andy Murray come about, and what is his involvement and that of other investors?

Andy is fantastic – he’s a massive investor and supporter. He was our first sporting partner, and some of the things we’ve done since then we couldn’t have done without him. The AMC sub-brand gave us credibility – the more it plays, the better [the brand] Is.

Each investor brings their own experience and perspective. It’s a big decision for a growing business when raising capital, and a massive decision for any founder. We have been fortunate that almost all investors are incredibly enterprising and understand that success in business is not stable – there will be downsides and not all risk pays off. You have to stay true to what you believe and bring your own expertise: Tom [Singh] with a background in supply chain, the Issa brothers and their financing side. They were clear that they could contribute something.

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Entrants can be from any sector of the fashion industry – the only requirement is that they be a star of the future and be 30 years of age or younger as of January 31, 2023.

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The deadline is Monday October 17but please send your applications as soon as possible to allow time for review.

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Applications and all questions should be sent to [email protected]

Does Castore plan to open new stores?

People were quick to jump on the ‘retail is dead’ bandwagon, but customers have a deep-rooted desire to shop, which will evolve – and the way consumers interact with stores retail will evolve. We believe it’s possible for Castore to open additional stores to directly engage customers – we’ve seen data that proves online revenue increases when we open a store, customers see [a product] in store and buy it online.

We’ll be selective – the Topshop-esque retail rollout is complete. The opening of stores will be part of our strategy for the end of this year. In 2023 I would expect us to open at least five to ten new stores – a mix of UK and overseas including Italy where we have a major team partner [Italy’s Genoa Football and Cricket Club] and If we open a physical store in this city, it will outperform locations where we don’t have a team partner.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs looking to join Drapers 30 Under 30?

Castore men’s clothing AW22

My advice would be, if you have an instinct that something is going to work, then block out any outside noise – we live in a social media world, so it’s so easy to hear negative news. So many good ideas don’t take off because the founder gets some negativity early on. If you believe in something, no one will give you the trust [to achieve it] other than yourself. An idea can take two or three years to materialize and people give up. But you have to be completely relentless and block out outside noise.