Written by Student Nannies
FRANKIE THOROGOOD, 28, Founder, TCA
TCA has been providing exceptional sportswear on Amazon since 2010, with over 500,000 products sold. They design and test all their products at their offices in London. Frankie set up the business as soon as he left the University of Manchester. Here are his tips to making it in sportswear…
1.Tell us a bit about your job, what the average day looks like and what’s involved…
I run a young and rapidly growing sportswear brand, so my days and weeks can be extremely varied! Last week I met with the bank to secure funding, gave feedback on our new website design, planned a photoshoot and tried to hire a finance analyst. This variety is pretty normal – when you start your own business you need to be capable of doing different things.
2. How did you get into this industry and what tips would you give to students for routes in?
I started the business by spotting a trend and being first to market. I was the first person in the UK to sell ‘Football Snoods’ which was a huge craze in 2010. Footballers started wearing neckwarmers, called snoods, and I tried to buy one myself and nowhere stocked them. So I started selling them! If you want to start your own business my biggest tip is: stop thinking about it and do it. If you don’t know what ‘it’ is yet, do something. If you want to work in the sportswear industry, my top tip is: show you are passionate, hardworking and ambitious. These could apply to any industry and are really the only things I care about when hiring.
3. What one piece of advice would you give to someone/a student wishing to forge a career in sportswear?
Start talking to people in the industry, get some experience, work for free if you have to, then be persistent and work your network.
4. Who was the one person who had the most influence on your career to date?
Michael Jackson is my creative inspiration. My mum is the one who paid for my rent and all my expenses while I started a business from my bedroom. She also believed in me and has acted as an advisor and sounding board the whole way through.
5. Considering all the people you’ve met in your field, what personal attributes are essential for success?
Care about what you do. Work hard. Be nice.
6. What do you wish you’d known (but didn’t) when you first contemplated this career? Did you ever contemplate it as a student?
I wish I knew how little everyone else actually knows and had more confidence in my own convictions. When you’re young, you think everyone knows more and do things a certain way for a reason. They don’t know more, and the sooner you realise this, the sooner you will start winning. I always knew I wanted to start my own business, including my time as a student. The problem was I didn’t know what. To refer to my earlier point, I wish I had just done something.
7. What is the best bit of career advice you ever received?
Trust your instincts.
8. What is your career highlight to date?
Seeing a professional footballer wearing TCA on Sky Sports!
9. What are the best and worst things about your job?
Best: Getting to work with other amazing people
Worst: Having to work with some less amazing people
10. What do you think the industry will look like in the next ten years and what skills do you think graduates will need to stay ahead of the game?
No trend, style, business strategy or tactic will last forever, in any industry. It’s vital to think ahead, never rest on past successes and to move on. If you can do these things, you will prove valuable to any sportswear company. Personally, over the next ten years, I think we will see a trend toward owning fewer pieces of clothing/sportswear and an increased focus on diet and mental health as new forms of ‘wellness’.
Frankie’s Mini CV
The University of Manchester (2007-2010)
Cold-calling sales job (2010, 1 week)
Part-time marketing role (2010-2011)
Founded TCA (2010)
Check out TCA’s Amazon store here
Follow TCA on Instagram @TCA.fit
The brand is currently recruiting partners for its Future Famous ambassador programme – young full or part-time athletes with big ambitions and laser focus on results, email represent@tcafit
Frankie at TCA's London office
Women's TCA Switch-Up Reversible Workout Tank Sleeveless Vest Top £12.99
TCA Men & Boys Superthermal Compression Thermal Base Layer Running Top & Tights, £26.99
Frankie's creative inspiration comes from Michael Jackson
Boxer Isaac Chamberlain wearing TCA on Sky Sports