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Month: May 2024

A load of Pollux

A load of Pollux

The Beahon brothers might not be classicists, but they are exemplary brand builders

The Beahon brothers are good at sport. Tom has played football for Tranmere Rovers, and his younger brother Phil has played cricket in the Premier Division of the Liverpool Competition.

More recently they have shown their prowess at business and brand building. Together, in 2016, they launched the rapidly growing premium sportswear brand Castore.

However, despite their numerous skills, the classics aren’t their strongest suit.

Asked where the name came from, Tom explained it thus:

“The name Castore comes from the story of Greek mythology. And in Greek mythology, there were two brothers, Castore and Pollux who took on the Greek god Zeus, My brother and I thought this was quite a nice analogy for us creating a new business from scratch looking to take on the big guys of the sportswear world”

Jokingly he added “Being the incredibly talented and capable individuals that we are, we thought Castore was probably a better name than Pollux… and so far, I think that’s proven to be the right decision.”

That decision as they say seems sensible as it avoids the potential of some derogatory PR.

However , their grasp of Greek mythology isn’t quite so sound.

While there are different versions of their story, in the most often cited version of the myth Castore and Pollux are indeed brothers but they are in fact identical twins despite Castore being the mortal son of King Tyndarus, and Pollux being the immortal son of Zeus.

Castore was a great horseman and Pollux was a great fighter. (Two brothers excelling at two different sports – sound familiar?)  

Together, the brothers went with Jason on the Argo and saved the ship from a terrible storm.

However later Castore was killed in battle, Pollux rather than ‘taking on’ Zeus pleaded with his father to bring his brother back from the dead.

Zeus agreed to immortalize both Castore and Pollux, if they spent half of their time on Earth and the other half amongst the stars as the Gemini constellation.

Apart from the reason for choosing their name, the rest of their brand building story is impressive.

It starts with a change of direction. The brothers realised that while they were both good at sports, it wasn’t a route to real fame and fortune for either of them, so they decided to go into business together and had spotted what they thought was a gap in the market.

“We had grown up and spent our whole lives in rubbish sportswear that would fall apart and smell.” They thought that there had to be something better.

Sensibly they decided to do some ‘research’; “We spent hours stood outside premium gyms in London, speaking to customers in the pouring down rain, hearing what they did and didn’t like about their current New Balance, Nike, Under Armour, and what their pain points were. The same points were coming up consistently – that it smells, it loses its shape after six washes, it doesn’t quite fit right.”

These insights provided the inside track to what they believed would be a real opportunity – a high-quality, high performing, premium and aspirational brand as an alternative to mass-market companies like Adidas, Nike and Puma.

Having had the inspiration now they needed to put in the perspiration, the hard work. The brothers moved to London and for two years, worked in finance to earn enough money to buy the first products, build the website and launch the business.

They would wake at 5am every morning, working on their idea for a few hours before starting their day jobs, returning in the evening to continue planning from 7pm to midnight They used their annual leave to fly abroad to visit fabric mills and build the necessary business relationships.

They also spent some time defining their brand its purpose and its principle which you can still see on their website (and has some similarities to another premium performance brand – BMW)

“Castore exists for one single reason – to make athletes better.

Utilising advanced engineering and unique technical fabrics, Castore creates premium performance sportswear”

Their  mission builds on their version of the Castore and Pollux story with them taking on the existing ‘gods’ of sportswear.

They explain “The sportswear market has forever been dominated by a small clique of mass-market brands. However, Castore’s vision is to be a premium alternative to its competitors.

Deeply infused into our DNA, our philosophy of Better Never Stops is something we strive to live by every day. The natural brand of choice for discerning athletes who demand the very best, Castore was created to bring a new level of performance to both men’s and women’s sportswear.”

To get their business going the brothers spent £50,000 of the money they’d saved, along with a further £30,000 which came from their parents who re-mortgaged their house – a lovely gesture but one which added a bit to the stress. As Tom has said  “It’s stressful enough starting a business anyway, but when you think that, if it doesn’t work, your parents might be homeless, then that is definitely enough to focus the mind even more. So there was definitely a lot of pressure in those early days.”

Fortunately for them and their parents all their hard work seems to be paying off.

Andy Murray poses during the Castore partnership announcement at the Queen’s Club, London.

They have built a highly successful business, now valued at around £1 Billion. The firm has 500 staff and 25 stores. Their list of shareholders is impressive including as it does Andy Murray and the Issa brothers, Mohsin and Zuber, owners of the Asda supermarket chain.

They have a blue-chip list of partnerships including Premier League teams, McLaren F1, USA Rugby and England Cricket and new deals are being struck all the time.

The company has moved to Manchester

And they are looking to the future. As Tom says “We’re a challenger brand. We see ourselves as a brand that wants to go and challenge the big guys. …”

“And in order to achieve that ambition, we have to be harder working, more creative, more innovative than all of our competitors who are a lot bigger than us.”

And of course to make sure their products definitely aren’t just a load of pollux.

And the moral is building a brand takes a flash inspiration and more than a dash of perspiration