Pimp your plimmys
Sep 15 2009 by Mieka Smiles, The Journal
It takes guts to put university on hold to follow your dreams. But for 21-year-old Matt Scott it looks like a gamble that’s set to pay off. Mieka Smiles met him.
EVER fancied designing your own footwear? Now thanks to the entrepreneur Matt Scott you can give the sportswear companies a run for their money.
His company Mes Footwork is based on the principle that customers really do know best, allowing those who log on to his website to put their own graphics, designs and text onto plimsolls which are then manufactured by Matt and his growing team.
Former marketing student Matt came up with the idea after designing a pair of plimmys for his ex-girlfriend’s birthday: “About 18 months ago I bought a pair of plimsolls from the ex-Navy store for my girlfriend’s birthday and put pictures on them.
“She loved the present and that’s what sparked the idea of personalised trainers.
“I did some research and put a business plan together and everything just seemed to fit.
“The opportunity was too good to pass up so I thought I would give it a go and just go for it.”
Matt funded the start up of his company through his student loan and by lending some money from his parents: “At that point I invested my student loan and I also got a little bit from my parents. I also got £500 from Newcastle uni,” explains Matt.
From the bedroom of his student flat the business started to come together with the help of a basic sewing machine: “I got some shoes imported from China and started putting designs onto those using a sewing machine in my student flat in Jesmond.
“Then I started to try and drum up publicity by using MySpace and Facebook. It didn’t go boom straight away like you always think it’s going to as soon as you launch the site; you think everybody is going to find it and order a pair of shoes!
“But the business did start to trickle in.”
Now, with the help of a number of grants and awards to support the growing company, the business is going from strength to strength.
Matt, from Washington, has been able to set up a manufacturing unit in South Shields and employ fashion graduate Ellie Mole, 23, to develop a new range for a major high street retailer.