The Business Owner: Tom Cridland, www.tomcridland.co.uk
The young fashion designer who counts Leonardo Di Caprio and Daniel Craig as customers, talks about letting products speak for themselves
Founder: Tom Cridland
Location: London / Los Angeles
Proposition: International sustainable fashion brand making luxury clothing in unique colours.
How is your business different from what’s already out there?
Tom Cridland is an international sustainable fashion brand with customers on all five continents, known for producing luxury clothing in bold colours. The 30 Year Sweatshirt, T-Shirt and Jacket are our signature products and what makes our brand different from what’s already out there.
We have had the honour of making Tom Cridland trousers for Leonardo Di Caprio, Rod Stewart, Ben Stiller, Frankie Valli, Hugh Grant, Daniel Craig, Stephen Fry, Brandon Flowers, Robbie Williams, Stephen Merchant, the Elton John Band, Nile Rodgers and Jeremy Piven!
How did you finance your business?
With a £6,000 government start-up loan.
What is the most important thing to keep track of in business and why?
Cash flow and your ‘to do’ list are the two most important things. Staying organised aids productivity immensely, but you can’t get things done without money.
What is the biggest day-to-day challenge you face?
Fitting in everything. My girlfriend and I run the Tom Cridland fashion brand alongside our public relations agency, a new entertainment venture we’re just starting up and some charity projects.
What marketing techniques do you use to attract new customers?
We don’t have a marketing budget, so we let our designs and products speak for themselves whilst focusing on getting as much press coverage as possible to spread the word about what makes the Tom Cridland brand unique.
Do you think it’s important for small businesses to export, any tips?
We sell direct to customer all over the world via tomcridland.co.uk and have shipped clothing to all five continents. Selling internationally is crucial to our business plan. Any other businesses considering offering their goods internationally should simply try and get a good deal with UPS or FedEx!
What’s the business app you couldn’t do without?
Describe your company’s culture in three words:
Creativity, Originality, Passion.
What would you like the government to do for small business?
It would be great if the government provided start-up loans of more than £10,000. I personally found £6,000 to be quite a limited amount of money with which to start an entire fashion label! That said, I’m so grateful that I got it, as I would never have been able to found Tom Cridland without it.
The only reason I mention this is because, if done carefully, offering larger amounts of money for young people to start businesses with would inspire creativity and encourage more entrepreneurial endeavor, which is obviously the lifeblood of any healthy economy.
Who’s your biggest small and medium enterprise hero?
My Dad is my business mentor. When I was asked by the Fredericks Foundation to choose a business mentor as part of the government start-up loan scheme, he was the obvious choice.
Family is extremely important to me and it’s so nice to be able to speak to my Dad on an almost daily basis about my business.
I know he’s got my best interests at heart and he’s an entrepreneur himself.
Where do you want the business to be in three years?
Firmly established as the go to for luxury wardrobe staples and sustainable fashion.
What’s your top tip for keeping it lean and making profit?
Growing it organically for as long as possible and not wasting money on marketing but focusing on PR instead. We’re turning over £500,000 but we started with just that £6,000 loan and we haven’t sought further investment since then.