When we launched Castore back in 2016, I don't think either of us would let ourselves think too far into the future.
Whilst we certainly had a clear vision for what we wanted Castore to become, we were far too focussed on day to day survival for grand aspirations to feature too prominently in our thinking.
This month however marks a significant milestone in our journey, Castore is officially three years old. This is an important milestone for any young business and yet for us it feels strangely insignificant, an event worth noticing but simultaneously completely irrelevant in the context of what we are trying to achieve. The business is moving forward so quickly that even the thought of slowing down and reflecting on the past feels as though it would somehow risk the momentum we have.
In the last three years, our founding vision of building Castore into the number one premium sportswear brand in the world has slowly but surely started to come true and the pace of growth has exceeded even our most ambitious expectations.
Whilst the trajectory of the business has undoubtedly been hugely positive, there has been many moments where we have faced challenges others would deem entirely insurmountable and experienced more so called failures than we care to remember - these experiences have only served to strengthen our resolve. Entrepreneurialism is not a life for everyone but to us it feels right in a way that is hard to tangibly define to others who have not experienced the same uniquely volatile highs and lows themselves.
Though we spend the vast majority of our lives perennially switching between being intensely focused on the present and passionately debating the future, we feel the three year mark is a sensible moment to go back in time and explain why Castore existed in the first place.
By athletes for athletes
Both of us started our careers as athletes - there’s certainly worse ways to make a living. We were both pretty good and could probably have made livings out of sport but when we were completely honest with ourselves, neither of us quite had the natural talent to really make it at the top level. This realisation occurs to many elite athletes who are then left with a choice - continue down the same path and accept mediocrity or change direction and continue the search for excellence somewhere else. We knew the latter choice was the only one for us.
This joint decision led us to Castore -
as two people who have worn sportswear all of our lives, we know from experience that the quality of garments created by global brands is often average at best.
Nothing existed for the more discerning athlete who wanted to wear the very best when it came to quality and performance but equally wanted to look good in their training clothing. Our vision was to build the first truly premium sportswear brand, focussed on developing the highest quality performance garments in the world and with a DNA relentlessly focussed on enhancing athlete’s performance.
Though Britain is home to so many iconic brands, no British sportswear brand has ever really competed on the global stage and we want to change that.
Better Never Stops
The three years since launch has been somewhat of a whirlwind - Castore now sells in 37 countries worldwide, many of the world most prestigious department stores proudly stock the brand, we have won numerous awards for our products and thousands of people every day train wearing Castore kit.
Whilst we are certainly proud of these achievements, the journey so far has only made it more clear to us that Castore is at the very beginning of a journey that has the potential to become incredibly exciting - more importantly, we both indisputably believe we are building a company and culture that we are incredibly proud of.
The singular aspect of Castore that has inspired us more than any other has been how our Better Never Stops brand DNA has grown to take on a life of its own.
We came up with Better Never Stops as our guiding brand principle 3 months into the launch of Castore, whilst sat in the office late at night (one of many) talking through any and everything relevant to our fledgling business. It felt right straight away and has continued to feel right ever since. Hearing customers get as excited by Better Never Stops as we did during that initial discussion has been one of the proudest we have felt as founders.
Without suffering, pain and hard work, there is a natural limit to what can be achieved - this is as true in life as it is in business. To push yourself into a space others are too unable to go requires a certain confidence those who fear failure simply cannot muster and so often separates the winners from everyone else. We have a deep, relentless passion to bring Better Never Stops to life every day, create the highest quality sportswear in the world and build a brand that inspires all athletes to be the very best they can be. Every person who understands this intuitively understands everything we want Castore to become.
Some Things Matter More
Whilst every entrepreneur will have different motives when starting a company, when we founded Castore our primary desire was to build something - a brand, a company, a culture (at that point we weren’t quite sure) that inspired athletes.
The emotions connected to sport and competition stir something deep inside both of us that can most simply be descried as a will to win. What winning actually meant was not entirely obvious to us but the feeling was very real and over the last three years the definition of winning has gradually started to become more and more clear. It really is amazing what a deep drive, determination and will can do in life and Castore is a testament to what can be achieved through a sheer refusal to give up.
What has evolved since the earliest days however is our overall perspective; whereas three years ago our tunnel vision of what we wanted Castore to be resulted in us being entirely self involved - and many of the people closest to us would (correctly) say exceptionally selfish. Now, as Castore has grown and we have started to build a team of extremely talented, hard working and ambitious people around us, we have slowly realised that this experience is not just our own and that bringing people into the journey who share our passion for Castore has been the most memorable experience of all.
The last 12 months in particular has seen a unique culture start to build within the business. Any athlete who has been part of a winning team will know this feeling - when you enjoy spending time with your peers as much away from the workplace as within it, when you know that if you fuck something up, there will always be someone there to cover your back, when the feeling of achievement somehow feels better because you have shared it with people you have genuine affection for. We know that teams like this don’t come around often - they must be cherished and kindled because a special culture can be the most powerful tool in a company’s armoury.
We want to create a company where meritocracy rules, that no matter who you are or where you come from, a little bit of talent and a lot of hard work can lead to special things happening.
Built To Last
As we continue to build Castore into the world’s number one premium sportswear brand, in the coming months and years you will see Castore products worn by more elite athletes and teams around the world. Plans are already in place that will see us expand into a number of additional sporting categories as we bring our superior product and Better Never Stops ethos to more people than ever before. There has been a tendency in the past for some British brands (with a number of notable exceptions) to think slightly smaller than our American cousins - there will be no risk of that with Castore.
As our journey continues, we will remain true to a quote from one of our earliest investors made -
“an engineering company that happens to be focussed on sportswear”.
A relentless comment to innovation, product excellence and ensuring athletes remain at the heart of absolutely everything we do will allow Castore to continue to offer something different and better to customers all over the world.
Our desire to win has only grown in the last three years, we want to be a brand that is known for winning, that does what it does better than anybody else and never stops striving for improvement. If we stay true to these things, hopefully this will only be the beginning of the Castore journey and we will look back in a few decades time and know it all meant something.
Business is simply war minus the bullets and we love going into the trenches every single day.
And to those who’ve followed Castore from the start, we’d like to say a special thanks. None of this would be possible without your enthusiasm and support—which continues to immensely humble us. To those who’ve just recently come aboard, a very warm welcome to you. You’ve joined us at a very exciting time so hold tight, we plan to make the future pretty special.
In exchange for your continued trust, we promise to remain human and honest, no matter what the future may hold.
Tom & Phil Beahon