A North East entrepreneur who quit university to pursue a career in the fashion industry has expanded his online clothing business.
James Boyle, 25, launched Paradice in 2012 after successfully selling tie-dye t-shirts to fund his university place. Following his initial success, James decided to drop out of university to grow his online business, with the help of his sister Nikki, 30, and his mum Linda.
James has now launched a womenswear collection to the brand, which initially will feature the same designs as the menswear range, alongside the signature Paradice motif. However, James is also working on developing a wider range of designs which will be unique and more feminine than the existing collection.
As well as recently launching the new range, James’ ambition is to get the Paradice brand stocked by retailers, and eventually open his own store. The womenswear range, like the existing menswear collection takes inspiration from art, rave, music and culture. The launch of the women’s clothing range comes after the business has seen a significant increase in sales and profits in recent months.
James said: “Designing the women’s range was a lot of hard work, but I’m so glad to release it and promote the Paradice name further. There are lots of exciting things planned for the brand going forward.”
When James was younger, he was told he would never be successful in life because he was deaf. He used this as motivation to do all he could to succeed, and says much of the inspiration for his clothing comes from his own personal journey and overcoming adversities.
In 2016, James took part in a market place event held at Grainger Market, which was led by Business Sparks, an enterprise programme run by Reviving the Heart of the West End. The programme helps budding young North East entrepreneurs get their business ideas off the ground. As well as providing one to one business advice, the programme also offers mentoring opportunities with existing business owners, an office space, and access to grants to kickstart business ideas.
Through the Business Sparks market place event, James, Nikki and Linda were introduced to Pink Boutique, who mentored them and were on hand to offer support setting up the brand properly, as well as office space to operate from.
The Business Sparks programme, which has helped dozens of aspiring entrepreneurs began running again in October this year, and was recently shortlisted for the NatWest skills and Opportunities Fund.
James said: “I took part in the market place event organised by Business Sparks as I had hit a wall, and was struggling to make the business grow. Through the Business Sparks opportunity, and learning about other success stories, and networking, the business was turned around. Business Sparks had great tips and advice on how to build our business, which was fundamental to the success of the business today. They also put us in touch with Pink Boutique, who offered us guidance on how to run the business properly.”
Hannah Morrow, development officer at Reviving the Heart of the West End, said: “The Business Sparks course is designed to give young people a platform to test out their ideas, with lots of support behind them. It also offers them a chance to network with existing businesses who can offer their expert tips and advice. Through our network of contacts, James has been really successful with Paradice, and has even offered to be a mentor for the Business Sparks programme in the future.”