Ripon businessman turns sports passion into triathlon clothing enterprise
Against the odds a Ripon business man has successfully launched a triathlon clothing brand thanks to a crucial lifeline offered by a Yorkshire funding organisation.
Carl Burrows, founder of Larco Sports, a premium lifestyle sports brand supplying triathlon clothing, said he found high street banks put hurdles in his way when setting up his business.
After approaching the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) Carl was able to access funding, launch his business and take on staff.
He said: “I needed support as a start-up and was struggling to get it from the high street banks.
“I came across the Business Enterprise Fund which has been helpful from day one. My adviser knew about the sporting industry and I was given £20,000 from BEF which formed the stepping stones to get me up and running.”
Larco Sports was formed in January 2013 and supplies wetsuits, trisuits and fashion ranges with a unique design edge enabling full body movement. Coming from background of textile weaving in Bradford, it is no surprise Mr Burrows returned to his manufacturing roots and now utilises technically advanced materials for his clothing that maximises comfort and performance for a triathlete.
Carl had a diverse career which has seen him turn his hand to the property market, but his underlying passion for manufacturing and sports wasn’t being fulfilled.
He said: “I spent about ten years in the property sector but my passion and background was in textiles. My family used to weave in Bradford, Cleckheaton and other parts of West Yorkshire for Marks & Spencer’s.
“I have also always been interested in sports and used to get frustrated when I couldn’t get the right equipment I needed. This gave me the inspiration to set up my own business.”
Now as well as having the equipment, Lacro Sports also has a very experienced and innovative design team, with members formerly employed by American sportswear giant Nike and tennis specialists Head.
Mr Burrows said he hopes the business could gain pace in the future and become nationally recognised. The success of the Brownlee brothers in the triathlon and the profile generated by high profile triathlon enthusiasts such as Formula one driver Jenson Button could mean increased popularity for the sport, bringing with it more opportunities for Lacro Sports.
He said: “The business is going really well and quickly. It began operating properly at the start of the year.
“I have a couple of people working for me and have a new starter beginning in July.
“My long term hopes for the business is to get catalogue and the possibility of a national presence.
“I would say BEF did what it said on the tin and I would recommend them to anybody, but would advise people to ensure they have a good business plan prepared to go with.”