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Where does Castore come from?

A brand founded in 2016 with ambitious projects from Andy Murray to Premier League

Where does Castore come from? A brand founded in 2016 with ambitious projects from Andy Murray to Premier League

The news that is filling the British tabloids is that of a new agreement between Newcastle and Castore, former technical sponsor of Rangers Glasgow. The new signature puts an end to the over ten-year partnership between the Magpies and PUMA, but also opens the doors to a breath of freshness that was needed by the club, the city and the Premier League.

The story of Castore, a Liverpool-based sportswear brand, begins with a strong concept: "Walls are there to be climbed over". When in 2015 Tom and Phil Beahon decided to dedicate body and soul to their dream, abandoning young careers among cricket and football professionals, they would never have expected 5 years later to have historic Premier and Premiership teams among their customers. The walls referred to by Tom, the elder brother, have not yet been bypassed, but the project and the direction it is taking allows the brand to see a new horizon.

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It is a story that in some ways is also Italian. When a 22 year old and a 25 year old - ambitious and prepared - decide to create a sports brand, the first thing they do is buy a ticket to Italy. The first wall was know-how and what better destination to learn how to make quality fabrics? The visits to the Italian, then Swiss and Portuguese factories in the following months resemble the crazy ideas of guys at the head of a start-up. Yet that trip in 2015 changed the perception of everything. The idea of creating a luxury sports brand begins to take shape. "We went to these mills and factories knowing nothing about clothes manufacturing, but we were passionate about what we wanted to create, and people responded to that" admits Tom in an interview with the BBC in 2019.

Once the obstacle of know-how was overcome, the economic one remained. In 2013, Phil Beahon is in his final year of law at Newcastle University and in a meeting organized by the faculty he meets Sir Richard Branson, a billionaire British entrepreneur, founder of the Virgin group, who is there for a lesson on support for start-ups. In that same year he will launch the Virgin StartUp program, which will be useful in 2016 to the founders of Castore to launch the first online store.

The first productions are dedicated to different sports and among these there is also tennis. After a couple of years of stability and positive numbers, the turning point arrives in March 2019. As you can imagine, Castore's story is not linear and neither is this turning point. The strategy of a brand, especially when it comes to market expansion, is to get in touch with an athlete who guarantees visibility and credibility. Castore has always professed himself as a manufacturer of "highest quality sportswear" and this has attracted the attention of "secondary" personalities such as coaches and trainers such as Matt Little, Andy Murray's longtime fitness coach. The former number 1 in world tennis immediately falls in love with the outfits and the quality of what his trainer wears and goes firsthand to knock on Tom and Phil's door. After a couple of meetings, Castore became the official supplier (at the modest sum of £ 1 million until 2027) to the two-time Wimbledon champion. In addition to being an ambassador and the first great athlete to believe in the Castore project - creating a dedicated line "AMC" - Murray became a shareholder of the brand.

Murray's signing and the agreements with Rangers and Newcastle - with the latter only going into effect from the 2021-22 season - are tools that allow the brand to estimate £ 12.5 million in revenues at the end of 2019, with over 8 million coming from an e-commerce that is climbing rapidly. Although the project was born in 2016 on the web, just over two weeks ago the first flagship store was inaugurated at 31 King's Road, in the Chelsea district of London. But in the strategy of the Beahon brothers, one of the keystones is represented by the pop-up stores: "We want people to believe in the story of Castore. In a popup they can feel the product, touch and feel its quality, talk to our team. and learn more about who we are. The first tests have been very positive and have contributed a lot to increasing sales".

If this were not enough to testify the quality of the path and the product, the brand signed an agreement with the luxury stores Harrods, ready to host a space dedicated to Castore. From the Manchester City youth teams to the experiences among the pros in Spain for Tom, to the experience of Phil who firsthand touched the "religion" of English cricket, passing through the evenings spent doing market research on the field to understand how to enter in different markets - to date the brand is sold in over 50 countries around the world. Those walls have not yet been climbed, but the path taken is right even if unconventional.