Tom and Chris

Exeter alumni convince Dragons they are the next big thing

A business started by University of Exeter Business School graduates Tom Carson and Chris Rea last night convinced the Dragons that Young Ones, their clothing brand, could be the next big thing. Having achieved sales of £140K, at a profit of 40% in their first fourteen months of trading, Chris and Tom’s pitch to the Dragons outlined their success to date and their plans to become a brand, both in the UK and overseas, known for supplying high quality fashion products at an affordable price.

Their pitch and the potential of the business caught the attention of Duncan Bannatyne who offered an investment of £75K in return for a 40% share of the business.

Young Ones was started in response to the trend for “onesies” which kicked off in 2011, when Tom and Chris saw an opportunity to provide a high quality but lower priced alternative to the then market-leading brand.

Working with international suppliers Chris and Tom were able to source a product which they could take to market at half the price of competitor products and quickly began to secure sales. Young Ones then started to offer volume sales and customised onesies to University groups such as sports teams and societies.

Young Ones began working with the Innovation Centre at the University of Exeter to consider how to develop a sustainable business which was not dependent on a single product, but rather focused on their ability to spot trends and quickly source lower price alternatives. Having done this once with the onesies, and grown to become the UK’s largest supplier of custom onesies, Young Ones are now preparing to launch some new products which include brightly coloured boat shoes and a T shirt range. The Innovation Centre has been able to award them a student start up grant to support the product development and creation of sales channels.

Both Chris and Tom were Sport Scholars in hockey during their time studying at the University of Exeter and helped Exeter to secure BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Championship titles in 2010 and 2012 and Exeter was ranked number one for the sport in the 2012/13 BUCS rankings. The pair are both now senior internationals, Tom playing for England and Chris representing the USA.

They have spent the summer recruiting student brand managers and representatives and will be embarking on a nationwide University tour during September and October.

Chris concluded, “Being successful in the Den was a real confidence boost for both of us and confirmed that we were on the right track with the business. We hope our new range will enable us to become the next aspirational yet affordable clothing brand that students and young people everywhere will want to be seen wearing.”

For more information, please visit the Young Ones website.

Date: 16 September 2013

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