A letter from the founders
When we launched Castore back in 2016, I don't think either of us would let ourselves think too far into the future. We certainly had our aspirations but we were very much focussed on day to day survival and grand visions seemed to get pushed to the back of the queue.
Today however marks a significant milestone in our journey, Castore has just completed its latest fundraising round. The external validation and belief others have shown in us is extremely humbling and we have brought into the business a number of very strong investors who have built their own companies and in the process forged world renowned reputations. No pressure then…
Before we tell you why we raised this funding, what we intend to do with the money and what it means for the most important people, our customers, we wanted to go back in time and explain why Castore exists in the first place.
By athletes for athletes
Both of us started our careers as professional athletes, Tom in football Phil in cricket - there’s certainly worse ways to make a living. We were both pretty good and could probably have made comfortable livings out of sport but when we were completely honest with ourselves, neither of us quite had the natural talent to really make it to the top level.
Which 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 committed to supporting athletes to be the very best they could be. 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 time since launch has been somewhat of a whirlwind - Castore now sells in 27 countries worldwide, we have won numerous awards for our products, and thousands of people every day train wearing Castore kit. We are certainly only at the very beginning, but we are starting to build something that we’re both very proud of.
But - and this is what really excites us - there is so, so much more we can do. Innovation is core to our philosophy as a brand and so far, we have been constrained at how quickly we could develop new products and features. The new phrase we’re entering as a company will be a real game changer, both for us as a company and for you as customers, in terms of what we can deliver.
Because our vision is to create a brand globally recognised for developing the most advanced, highest quality sportswear in the world. We have a deep, relentless passion to bring this vision to life and this is where the equity raise comes in - now we actually have the means to make it happen.
Slightly contradictory, despite never being completely certain we would successfully raise money, we had been quietly planning (or maybe it was praying?) for the day it happened.
Firstly, expect product to remain at the absolute hart of Castore, so expect lots of innovation on this front. We have been developing new fabrics and working with our factory, looking at how we can advance our manufacturing techniques to create products of a quality unrivalled by anything that has come become them - faster, lighter, stronger are words we live by and bringing them to life in the form of new garments is going to make the next 12 months very fun indeed.
Our vision has always been for Castore to be a multi-sport brand, a higher quality alternative to Adidas or Nike for athletes who demand the best, and the next 12 months will see us enter into sports specific markets for the first time starting with golf and then tennis in 2019. The plans are already in place for what comes thereafter though we will focus all of our efforts of making a success of our first steps into sports specific markets before getting too carried away. 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.
We will also further invest in our website and customer support to ensure we deliver the best possible service to all those who give us their trust and will also accelerate our growing presence in countries where we have been particularly successful. Customers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and the US have all welcomed Castore with open arms and increasing our ability to meet this growing demand is very important to us.
Built to last
As we enter this new chapter in our history, we have been spending more time thinking about the reasons we are doing this. Financing is a necessity for any business to remain alive, but like oxygen to an organism, its accumulation cannot be the only reason for being. A brand must exist for a deeper reason and serve a higher purpose.
In Castore, we want to build a brand that above all else has a passion for creating the best sportswear products in the world - not only to push the boundaries of performance sportswear but to inspire all athletes to be the best they can be whenever they wear the garments. 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.
Finally, 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.
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 trust, we promise to remain human and honest, no matter what the future may hold.
Tom & Phil Beahon