What began in 2016 as a quest for quality sportswear that would go the distance has turned into Castore, a global premium sports apparel brand with Andy Murray as its official kit partner and board advisor. On signing with Castore, Murray proclaimed the products to be ‘the best I have tried and trained in.’
Started by brothers and former athletes Tom and Phil Beahon, Castore has brought on high-profile investors like Robert Senior, Arnaud Massenet and Tom Singh. The brothers were featured in the Forbes ’30 under 30′ list 2019, with the business now seeing an annual turnover of more than £4.2 million.
Luxury Briefing speaks with Co-founder and Co-CEO Tom Beahon about the brand’s journey and what sets Castore apart from the competition.
How did the idea for Castore come about?
My brother and I always knew we wanted to start a business together. We both come from sporting backgrounds and have spent our entire lives playing sport, so starting a sports brand was very natural to us. Growing up, we had always talked about why there wasn’t a premium sportswear offering that challenged the global big-name brands that dominated the market. When we both reached our twenties, this idea had evolved into a burning passion and we knew the idea for Castore as a premium British sportswear brand could be a great success.
In what ways did your own background as athletes inform the concept for the brand?
Being serious athletes, we grew up essentially always wearing sportswear, so had very clear views on what constituted a high-quality product. We also had a deep sense of what sport meant on an emotive level – the passion, drive, self-evaluation and relentless ambition that are key to success in sport. This experience was vital in conceptualising ‘Better Never Stops’ as the Castore brand DNA, which underpins our brand philosophy today.
How did you go about partnering with Andy Murray as an official kit partner and Board Advisor?
The partnership with Andy came about very naturally. Castore was growing extremely rapidly and we knew that our next major step as a brand was to partner with a world-class athlete. We were introduced to Andy by a mutual contact and as soon as we met, it was clear we had similar values and were interested in a partnership that extended far deeper than the traditional athlete-brand deals. Andy is the perfect embodiment of our brand ethos and is an inspirational athlete to people all over the world.
In what ways has technology assisted with the growth of your brand?
Castore is a digitally native brand and this has been fundamental to the growth we have experienced to date. We sold into 18 countries all over the world within six months of launch and now sell in over 50 countries globally. This simply would not have been possible with a traditional brick-and-mortar model. Our digital platform also allows us to respond to customer feedback extremely quickly, which is absolutely key to success in the modern retail market where customers are becoming ever-more demanding.
Who is your ideal customer and how do you engage with them?
Our core customer is aged 30-50, usually with above-average earnings and most importantly, a passion for sport and training. We engage with these customers through multiple touchpoints but probably most vitally is through the use of original content that can be shared via digital platforms. We focus on the training regimes of our athletes, detailed product videos including how garments are made and tested and the stories of people behind Castore who bring it to life. All of this is designed to bring customers into the Castore world and show them who we are as a brand.
What does luxury mean to you?
The definition of luxury lies in creating a product that truly represents your passion. For Castore, that means a commitment to excellence and the never-ending search for innovation, improvement and enhancement. Better Never Stops!
What sets your product apart from the competition?
The quality of Castore products is indisputably superior to any of our competitors. We use unique performance fabrics sourced from family-run mills in Italy, manufacture all products with an advanced engineering partner in Portugal, and test every garment using a rigorous 100-consecutive-day process involving elite athletes and sports scientists.
How do you want your customer to feel when wearing Castore?
All Castore products are created to make athletes better. When wearing a Castore garment, we want customers first and foremost to feel more comfortable so they can focus on competing at their very highest level. For Castore, we are all about finding the marginal gains that enhance the performance of a product and we hope our athletes share this mindset when wearing the garments.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge in starting a brand and are there any learnings that you can share?
There are so many challenges! A major one for Castore was raising the finance that allowed us to really launch the brand in the way we wanted to. There is no simple or easy way to do this and every entrepreneur’s experience will be different. The best advice is to be super persistent and don’t settle for second best. There are some unbelievable private investors out there and working with the right ones will play a major role in helping you build a successful brand.
Do you have any favourite luxury brands that inspire you with your own business?
McLaren – seamlessly fusing the most advanced engineering with a beautiful design aesthetic to create products that are both scientifically and emotionally spectacular.