"Weve had no other investment along the way, not even a single bank loan, so its all been very organic"
Mike Jukes, Jameson Carter
MANCHESTER fashion brand Jameson Carter has had an incredible three years dominating the affordable streetwear market in the UK.
But that would not have been possible without the three business partners – and childhood friends – Jonny Dawson, Mike Jukes and Craig Tideswell.
After initially investing £3,000 into the business, which began with the lads selling caps out of their bedrooms, the company is forecast to make £10million by 2021.
The trio, from Warrington in Cheshire, first met when they were in secondary school and played football together. However, their team spirit didn’t get reignited until 2016 when Dawson, 28, came up with the concept of the brand.
After approaching Tideswell and Jukes, both 27, Jameson Carter was born in July 2016 – coincidentally a few weeks before the second season of Love Island aired.
With Mike’s brother, Adam Jukes, featuring on the ITV show they jumped at the chance of free nationwide promotion. And with contestants such as Alex Bowen and Olivia Buckland spotted wearing the caps around the pool, sales soon began to soar.
Mike said: “We didn’t have a website or a bank account when Adam went into Love Island, we were just using Instagram.
“People were seeing my brother wearing our caps and because I was controlling his Instagram I kept tagging our business account in his and people were messaging us asking where they could buy the products.”
Off the back of the promotion the show brought the brand, other well-known reality stars began wearing the caps which boosted their sales even further.
Meanwhile, the business partners were still working their usual day jobs alongside picking and packing orders for their increasing numbers of customers.
Jonny, who worked as a sales assistant at a high street retail store at the time, said: “For nine months straight we would do a 9am to 6pm shift, then from 7pm until 2am we would be packing orders and drive them to the post office first thing in the morning.
“It was a total buzz for us because we knew we were getting bigger and bigger.”
After six months of trading, they got their first major deal when they were approached by Footasylum.
Craig said: “We had finally got a warehouse and after two months we outgrew it because Footasylum came in with an order which was too big for the premises, so thankfully they let us use theirs.”
Although Jameson Carter was originally renowned for its stylish caps, the nationwide retailer was keen to extend their collection to clothes.
With Footasylum’s guidance, they began designing and selling new lines which are now stocked in 40 of their stores across the UK.
By the end of their first year they had already achieved £270,000 turnover and a profit of £52,000, with just the three of them working on developing the business.
Jonny said: “We’ve not got 25 members of staff like you would expect for a company of this size.
“We share our warehouse in Derby with Ted Baker and there are 10 people who work on our contract to pick and pack our stock, as well as one employed member of staff who does our social media, videos and website.”
Mike added: “The three of us do all the design, production, booking in and out and invoicing. We all do a bit of everything.
“We’ve had no other investment along the way, not even a single bank loan, so it’s all been very organic.
“For the first year we didn’t take a penny and every single bit of money we made we put back into buying product and marketing – that is why the company has been so successful.”
After their fruitful partnership with Footasylum, the following year saw them gain interest from another major retailer, JD Sports, in December 2017.
The brand is now stocked in 144 JD stores across the UK and Europe, and worldwide online. The collaboration has resulted in an 800 per cent increase in growth, a turnover of £2million and profit of £550,000 in their second year.
It has been such a success that in October they secured their ‘Jameson Carter x Wilfried Zaha’ collection, which featured the Crystal Palace football ace on JD’s TV and national billboard campaign.
By the end of their third year, in July 2019, the brand had achieved a turnover of £5.5million and a profit of £1.5m.
And after seeing a 50 per cent increase in sales compared with previous months thanks to the Zaha deal, Jameson Carter turned over nearly £4m in a six-month period between July and December 2019.
Dawson, Jukes and Tideswell are now planning to crack the US market.
Jonny revealed: “In 2020 we’re going to be going into JD stores in 30 states in America.”
Mike said: “America just puts you on another level, we see ourselves as a Calvin Klein/ Tommy Hilfiger with the premium sound of our name and logo JC, these are massive brands that have started in America and are now worldwide which is our long term goal.”
At the moment, Jameson Carter’s stockists account for 50 per cent of their overall trade, however because online growth is soaring, the comparison of overall trade from stockist will be around 30 per cent of turnover.“
Mike said: “We only sell to key accounts to not over-flood the market, as well as keep the longevity and premium exclusive feel to the brand for our retailers.”
They also plan to hire more staff as they expand their womenswear collection and bring out lines of trainers, accessories, sunglasses and fragrances.
Jonny said: “Our vision for the future is that we want to still be here in 10-15 years.
“We aren’t just looking for a quick buck, we want to smash it in the US and internationally.
“A long-term goal of ours would be to get a flagship store in Manchester or London too.”