Coco Business Inspiration : Tom Cridland

Tom Cridland is a brand founded by a young entrepreneur of the same name. From the young age of 23, Tom launched his first product and since then he has gone from strength to strength. 

Here, he takes time out of his busy schedule to chat to us at House of Coco about his brand, plans for the future and more…

When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
I founded Tom Cridland in 2014 when I was 23 to make the perfect pair of men’s trousers and sell them direct to customer online. I took out a £6,000 government start-up loan and jumped head first into the fashion industry with no previous experience. We soon had the honour of making Tom Cridland trousers for people like Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Craig and the brand has started to take off.

Whats your background?
I first designed clothing when I was 18 and I sold nearly £3,000 worth of “SWINE 09” t-shirts in a single week of school and donated all the profits to Médecins Sans Frontières! That said, I actually studied Modern Languages at the University of Bristol before starting Tom Cridland so, as you can imagine, I had plenty of time to watch The Sopranos before I actually began to work hard.

How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
I run three businesses with my girlfriend of seven years, Debs, and we are the only full-timers! Aside from Tom Cridland, we co-founded Tom Cridland Public Relations and Tom Cridland Entertainment.

We plan to establish Tom Cridland as the world’s leading sustainable fashion brand. Tom Cridland Public Relations has 15 clients already and we plan to grow it to become a leading PR agency for  fashion and showbusiness, as well as entrepreneurs. Tom Cridland Entertainment is currently producing a record at Abbey Road and developing a documentary.

We are hiring in September to help us achieve these goals quicker and to ease a workload that has become extremely intense.


If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
I think we are very blessed and I appreciate how lucky I am to do what I love for a living. I’ve definitely made mistakes as I go along due to a lack of business training but there is nothing that sticks out in my mind as a major regret.

What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Starting a full fashion business with just £6,000 is harder than you might think! We couldn’t even afford our first stock order, let alone marketing, packaging, a fancy website or a trade show. We’ve grown the profile of our brand through hard work alone and a promotional budget of £0.

Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
I hugely enjoy singing karaoke at what happens to be the best karaoke bar in the world – Cafe da Ponte in Lisbon.

What are your plans for the brand for the rest of this year?
We are launching The Entrepreneur’s Shirt.

The Entrepreneur’s Shirt is an opportunity for you to support entrepreneurship in the developing world and amongst young people, whilst getting a sustainable Italian cotton Oxford Shirt in return.

We started Tom Cridland, our fashion brand, with a £6,000 government start-up loan 2 years ago when we were 23. We have campaigned extensively for sustainability in the industry with The 30 Year Collection and designing clothing is true labour of love for us.

We are keen to give back and support aspiring young entrepreneurs, as well as those in the developing world who deserve the opportunity to start businesses and work their way out of poverty. We also want to campaign for a greater focus on nurturing entrepreneurial talent and providing basic business training in our education systems across the world.

In this spirit, 5% of The Entrepreneur’s Shirt campaign will be donated to Young Enterprise to inspire and equip young people in Britain to learn and succeed through entrepreneurial endeavour. Based on research statistics published by FreshMinds, students who participate in Young Enterprise programmes have a better understanding of business than their peers and are twice as likely to start-up their own company.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of any healthy economy and, yet, in the developing world it is nigh on impossible for many people to have the chance to work their way out of poverty through entrepreneurship.

DEKI is a revolutionary charity that changes that and a further 5% of The Entrepreneur’s Shirt campaign will also be donated to them to help them give people in countries like this the chance to create sustainable livelihoods by providing access to micro-grants and business training.

Together we can provide greater support to aspiring entrepreneurs who need it and lead a trend towards greater business training in our education systems.


To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
Making clothing for Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Stiller, Rod Stewart, Hugh Grant, Stephen Fry, Jeremy Piven, Nigel Olsson, Brandon Flowers, Robbie Williams, Nile Rodgers, Michael Portillo, Stephan Merchant, Frankie Valli, Daniel Craig, Neil Young, Danny McBride, Miley Cyrus, Clint Eastwood and Kendrick Lamar.

Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Los Angeles or Lisbon?
London gets too intense for us after a few days, with so many work meetings and then socialising in the evening. LA is beautiful, spacious, sunny and relaxed, the dining is amazing and it is the home of the pop culture that we grew up with. That said, I’m half Portuguese and have been coming to Lisbon several times a year since I was a child. Lisbon is an incredible city and near some of the best beaches in Europe. For heritage, food, wine, nightlife, views and general quality of life, you cannot beat it. It is also amazing how reasonably priced everything is there. Of all the cities in the world, Lisbon is my favourite.

Best thing about London to you?
The majority of our friends live in London and we love catching up with them.

Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
Listening to advice from people in the fashion industry is a bit like asking someone from Made In Chelsea how to become famous. The chances are you won’t want to do it their way!

The best advice I’ve received has always come from my parents. Tim Ferriss has some pretty wise words for aspiring entrepreneurs too.

Guilty pleasure?
Binging on episodes of Entourage whilst eating large platters of bacon dipped in hot sauce.

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