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A fabric fit for royalty INTERVIEW WITH

Jack Crofts & Tom Houseman


EDITORIAL Produced by: CEO Monthly Publications Design: GB Designs


Foreword 3


elcome to the 8th Edition of Young CEO Monthly, the magazine that aims to bring young known and especially un-known business owners from the age of 16-30 to the attention of the public. WOW! What a few interesting weeks it has been and it’s getting even more interesting day by day. UK and the England National Team are out of Europe and political leaders plus minsters are resigning left, right and centre. But despite of that as the say in the entertainment business “The Show must go on”. And that is exactly what our young entrepreneurs in this month’s edition are doing. We would like to introduce you this amazing duo who are taking the world of fabrics and fashion by storm despite both being only 18 years of age.

Young CEO Monthly is published by CEO Monthly Publications. Opinions and views expressed do not necessarily reflect CEOMP policy. CEOMP accepts no responsibilty for views expressed by contributors. Advertisements and reader offers are not endorsed by CEOMP.

We hope that their story will inspire you to go on an entrepreneurial journey and above all you’ll share it with your colleagues, friends and family.

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Content Page 3 – Foreword Page 4 – Cover Story Page 8 – Business Advice of the Month Page 10 – CEO/Company Profile

4 Cover Story

Vicu単a Royale A fabric fit for royalty

Jack Crofts (18) | Tom Houseman (18)


hat inspired you to start your business and when did you start it?

My inspiration for came in the summer of 2014, after watching a BBC documentary series called Tropic of Capricorn, by Simon Reeve. The program visits many different destinations around the Tropic of Capricorn, showing major points of interest. For only a very brief moment, Simon showed the Vicu単a, and I fell in love with it straight away. I, like most people, had never heard of the Vicu単a before so I decided to do a little bit of research in order to find out a bit more about this magnificent animal. The research made me fall in love with it even more, learning about the significance of the Vicu単a in the 16th century when Inca ruled most of South America. It was when I was conducting the research that I spotted a huge gap in the market, which is why I am where I am today, growing an international luxury brand. In July 2015 Tom Houseman joined the business as director of sales, to help generate leads, look after clients and grow the brand.

Womens Shawl Sketch How did you come up with the name for your business? We knew that we needed to make our brand look prestigious and royal, so the logo was an important part of the branding process. The coat of arms represents prestige all across the world, so this was an

5 obvious fit for us. The name was inspired by our desire to make our clients feel like royalty, after all, the Vicuña is famous for being a fibre fit for kings. We incorporate the British feel to our branding and name as we want to show off the fact we are a British brand, representing royalty and prestige to our clients all across the world. What was your background before starting your business(s)? Tom Houseman - started first business at 14 distributing confectionary to local schools in my hometown of Doncaster. At the age of 16, I started to attend the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy in The Sheffield College- this is where Jack and I met. By the time I was 17, I ran many businesses. One being a James Bond style milkshake franchise called Just Shaken Not Stirred that operated in the Sheffield City College, later expanding to become a popcorn and slushy drinks business. Alongside this, in June 2015, I started up my own clothes brand called Maison Homme which became a well-known name in hometown of Doncaster distributing to the contacts I had. I sold over 100 t-shirts in a month! Jack Crofts - I have always been interested in business and enterprise, from a very young age. My grandad started his first business when he was very young, borrowing £100 from his dad to buy a small building and some joinery equipment. He started off building benches and

I work hard and I take the upmost pride in everything and anything I do period.

selling them to people he knew. He then expanded and sold to the wider area until eventually he had enough money to buy a large group of buildings and open up his own Building Contractors. My grandad has always inspired me as I grew up seeing the enjoyment and perks he got from running his own business. When I was about 7 years old, I got a computer and started my own pretend

company. I called it ‘Crofts Developments LTD’, a property development business. I treated this pretend company as a real one, making a makeshift office in my bedroom and creating leaflets and posters. I enjoyed pretending to run my own business, which is why I decided it was the thing I wanted to do when I grew up. What do you find to be the best thing about the industry your business is in? How much our clients expect detail. It makes all of the work we do so exciting-

Mens Short Jacket Sketch we must make sure everything is perfect and to the highest standards possible. I am admittedly a perfectionist, so the opportunity to be rewarded for getting everything perfect is just what I need. Also, the opportunity to experience the luxury lifestyle is amazing. We have visited exclusive hotels as well as incredible homes- showing us what sort of lifestyle we can have if we work hard. Our market is the complete opposite to normal business. We don’t want to focus on marketing and we limit our sales rather than try and sell as much as possible. This makes our operations completely different to normal business and gives us a much better opportunity to focus on implementing our values into everything we do.

6 What three areas do you focus most on in your business? Conservation Until 2008, the Vicuña was protected by many laws and marked as an endangered species after hunting of the animal meant the population was at risk. However, due to conservation work within South America, the population of the Vicuña is on the rise once more, now up to around 300,000.

We are committed to working closely with our clients and our suppliers to ensure the population of the Vicuña can continue to rise. We simply can’t afford for such a beautiful animal to be lost forever. Personalisation Everything we do is personal- no two Vicuña Royale products are every the same. We design our products to the specification of our clients, letting them choose the design and sizes of their garment. We also offer the opportunity for our clients to add their initials and their family coat of arms to their product. It is this level of personalisation which we believe our clients deserve. We even use a chauffeur to deliver our products- driving a luxurious car, wearing a cap and white gloves. Quality Such exclusive products need to be of the highest quality possible- we would offer no less than perfection. At each stage of production, our manufacturers keep a close eye on the products as they are being made, they are not simply left to be

automatically produced. Working with the best manufacturers in the country, people who are masters of their trade, we can ensure we are producing the best for our clients. What is your work ethic like? Lots of late nights, early mornings and non-existent weekends, not exactly living the average 18 year old’s life. However,

we do manage to juggle our work life with our social life. We both enjoy partying and socialising with our friends- both business contacts and our personal contacts. Both Tom and I believe that focussing on nothing but work will make you bored of it and lose your passion, so we must work as well as enjoy the rewards our work can bring!

How did you fund your start-up? In November 2014, Vicuña Royale came second in the Edge Challenge National Business Competition. The judges in the competition were blown away by the uniqueness of the idea and by how feasible Vicuña Royale is. The award meant the opportunity for Jack to meet former Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg as well as Dragon’s Den entrepreneur, Theo Paphitis. The rest of the money we have needed to

7 fund our business has come from our own personal savings, as well as money we have generated from small enterprises we have run alongside Vicuña Royale to help fund our passion. If an investor wanted to invest in your business what would they be investing in? We currently wish to fully expand internationally, focusing on places like Dubai and Paris; very affluent countries. We also wish to visit Peru in order to meet our suppliers in person and build a stronger, more personal bond with them and the communities who farm our fibre. An investor would be investing in two entrepreneurs who live and breathe business. We have done so since we were young and we will continue to do so all of our lives, building up our business empires. We are the people who have the drive and passion to make Vicuña Royale a success. They are also investing in a brand like no other. Vicuña Royale is incredibly unique and has the potential to catch the eye of the affluent markets all around the world. What would you consider your main achievement so far in your business and personal life? Jack - My first big achievement was winning the BiG Challenge 2012 with a business idea called Scrabtagz, then when I came second in the Edge Challenge with Vicuña Royale in 2014. It was this recognition from such an early stage which encouraged me to keep on going; showing how much potential the business had. I now wake up every day proud of the fact I have started and developed this brand, giving me the determination to continue doing amazing things with my life. Tom - My main achievement in business was starting my first ever “real” business ‘Just Shaken Not Stirred’ and just watching it operate on the first day of trading knowing that I stared it. Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years’ time?

We both want to continue expanding Vicuña Royale, building the brand and expanding into many more cities. We believe there’s a huge gap in the market for us to fill and we can provide many different services and products under the Vicuña Royale brand- plans we already have prepared for future release. On a personal level, we also wish to continue building our own empire like our inspiration, Richard Branson; starting businesses in many different sectors, solving many of the world’s problems. We want to grow and grow, becoming huge names in the business world. All, of course, whilst being sustainable and ethical, setting the standard for people who wish to follow in our footsteps. What is your #1 advice to another young person thinking about starting their own business? Just do it! There’s nothing better than waking up in a morning and going to work knowing that you did all of this yourself. You made who you are. Don’t worry about getting financial support; we found it impossible to get financial help too. Instead, you have to make it on your own. Start smaller and easier enterprises on the side; we sold popcorn and slush in our college to raise the money we needed. There’s also so much help out there. We have had help from many mentors and advisors, as well as companies such as the Edge Foundation and Wosskow Brown Foundation. If business is your passion, don’t let anything hold you back. No obstacle is too large; no reward is too small. One day, it will pay off.

Vicuña Royale

Vicuña Royale

Vicuña Royale

8 Business Advice of the Month

What’s Your Leadership Distinction? by Onyi Anyado | Multi Award-Winning Global Leader, Youth Speaker, Entrepreneur

I believe we are living in an extremely exciting period where becoming a leader of distinction is the order of the day and decade too. When a 15 storey building is built, a deep foundation is dug which ensures the building can stand the test of time. Regarding leadership, to become a leader of distinction, it is critical you know what the foundation of leadership is. My three quotes below will give you a clear understanding. “Leadership is bringing people into new realms of excellence and challenging them to become distinguished in their chosen field.” ~ Onyi Anyado “Leadership isn’t about age but rather, leadership is about influence, impact & inspiration.” ~ Onyi Anyado. “The essence of leadership is in its simplicity and the simplicity of leadership is in its essence.” ~ Onyi Anyado. VISION To become a leader of distinction who continually educates, equips and empowers people, it is vital you have a clear and defined minimum 5 year vision. I always tell my audience and clients, “Your vision is connected to your gifts, talents and passion”. So with this truth, your leadership potential is inside of you and is waiting for you to identify, nurture and grow so in turn you can inspire, instruct and influence those around you to become leaders of distinction too. Your vision should infuse my ‘one thing’ principle. If you are going to positively educate, equip and empower people, your one thing has to speak when you’re silent and work for you when you are sleeping.

What are Facebook, Porsche, Nike and Gucci known for? Yes, social media, cars, trainers and clothes. From their ‘one thing’ vision, it grew into a global brand but as a leader of distinction, start where you are, start with what you have and start your global and generational vision, now. What do you see for the next week, next 6 months, next year and even beyond five years? Do you see possibilities and opportunities or, do you see problems and obstacles? In my journey of distinction, when obstacles came my way, I used them as platforms to see more opportunities to solve problems around me. As mentioned earlier, your leadership potential is inside of you and is waiting for you to identify, nurture and grow. Two ways of igniting your leadership potential is 1, you have to be ‘fed up of being fed up’ and 2, you have to look for problems to solve in a particular industry. From this, you could create an app, online programme, product or service. In fact, a combination of my two points will truly ignite your leadership potential so you can start your journey of distinction. Have you noticed, a firework isn’t a firework until it is lit, so, with this truth, now is the time to ignite your leadership distinction. It will take you being constantly disciplined, determined and dedicated to becoming distinguished in your chosen field, why? There is a multitude of people who need to be influenced, impacted; inspired by your vision, values and voice.


Onyi is the founder of Onyi Anyado Media House and is a multiple awardwinning Global Leadership Speaker, Entrepreneur, Life Coach & Author. From his message of distinction, Onyi speaks on educational, business and corporate platforms around the world teaching, training & equipping people how to become distinguished in their chosen field. If you would like How to become a leader of distinction™ to be delivered in your organisation or at your event, please send an email with full details to

Onyi Anyado

Onyi Anyado

10 Business / CEO Profile

From movie screens to running an Honest $1.7 Billion company


essica Alba is a Golden Globe-nominated actress whose career includes roles in films such as “Fantastic Four” and “Little Fockers,” as well as television series like “Dark Angel,” “The Office” and “Entourage.” Like most great ideas, The Honest Company was inspired by a need that wasn’t being filled. In 2008 Alba was newly engaged to Internet entrepreneur Cash Warren and pregnant with their first child. At a baby shower thrown by family and friends, she remembers her mother advising her to use baby detergent to prewash the piles of onesies she’d received as gifts. She used a mainstream brand and immediately broke out into ugly red welts, harkening back to a childhood spent in and out of emergency rooms and doctors’ offices. Now covered in hives again — and wary of having her baby relive her own experience — Alba spent late nights on Google and Wikipedia researching the contents not just of the offending detergent but also of everything in her bathroom cabinet and under her kitchen sink. What she found terrified her: petrochemicals, formaldehydes and flame retardants in everyday household products from floor cleaners to mattresses. Some were listed on the ingredients label plain as day, with others disguised under the catchall of “fragrance,” which is entirely legal. So in January 2012, Alba and business partner Chris Gavigan launched The Honest Company, a collection of toxin-free household goods, diapers, and body care products. Since then The Honest Company has experienced an absurd level of growth. In its first year selling products, it hit $10 million in revenue. Today the company is focused on growth over profits, boasting a current valuation to match: $1.7 billion. That figure means Alba, who owns between 15% and 20% of the company, according to a source with knowledge of her investment, is sitting on a fortune of $200 million. She’s on her way to earning a spot on FORBES’ new ranking of America’s Richest Self-Made Women, just $50 million shy of Beyoncé and Judge Judy, who are tied at number 49. The only other two celebrities to make the inaugural list are Oprah and Madonna. The difference is that foursome made their money in their core field, media and music. Alba, at a young age, has done it in a completely unrelated industry. The California native comes from modest beginnings, and never lost her zeal to share her good fortune with others. She is actively involved with charities such as Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, ONE, Habitat for Humanity, Project HOME and more. Alba’s personal weatlh today stands at £263 Million | $340 Million | €307 Million. (Forbes) Adapted from


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YCEOM Issue 8  

This is the 8th Edition of Young CEO Monthly, the magazine that aims to bring young known and especially un-known business owners to the att...

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