A young businessman has told how he dropped out of university and spent the last of his student loan on a suit so he could get to meet his mentor.
Josh Lockwood realised university wasn’t for him and splashed out on a suit so he could pitch his business idea to Huddersfield tailor and entrepreneur Scott Hufton, founder of Owen Scott Bespoke.
The duo hit it off and launched BE VIP, a lifestyle clothing brand, as a joint venture in 2016.
Josh said: “I’ve always known that if I wanted to make something of myself, I’d have to do it for myself.
“I left school and went to the University of Huddersfield. I quickly realised it wasn’t for me, so knowing that Scott was well-known locally, I went into his shop and spent what was left of my student loan on buying a suit, just to get the chance to speak to him.
“My gamble paid off and I somehow managed to convince him to start BE VIP with me. The rest is history, as they say!”
After three years, the brand evolved, and the business partners realised that they needed to expand their range of clothing.
Rather than rush it, they took their time to create a range of products which had a strong brand, and that elevated quality, to compete with high-end designers.
BE VIP relaunched in June, with a capsule range of hoodies, t-shirts, swim shorts, hats and loafers, starting from £45.
An exclusive loafer brand, BE VIP quickly became the footwear of choice for young 20 and 30-something party-goers and influencers who wanted a luxurious, high-quality loafer without the high price tag of a Louis Vuitton.
And now internationally-renowned DJ Tom Zanetti has been unveiled as the new face of the brand.
While Josh is the driving force Scott is still involved in the business, and the line has been heavily influenced by his 17-year background in tailoring. Each piece has a hint of tailoring added to make them unique.
In the four months since its launch, thousands of products have been sold nationally, which are shipped straight from the firm’s fulfilment company based in West Yorkshire.
Speaking about the launch, Josh said: “We are incredibly proud of the brand that we’ve created. It’s taken a long time of working behind the scenes to get to this point.
“We were pretty much silent for two years whilst we tested hundreds of different samples, from the fabrics to the fit, even down to the detailing on the eyelets.
“We knew that there was a huge opportunity within the middle to high-end clothing sector to build an aspirational brand.
“Our brand embodies the party-goers and the Ibiza lovers. That’s why Tom Zanetti is such a good fit. He is very down to earth and aspires to achieve, he’s very humble and he puts his all into everything he does. That’s what BE VIP is all about.”
Josh was just 16 when he set up his first business, buying Fruit of the Loom t-shirts and branding them up with his own logos.
It’s been a busy few months for Josh, having welcomed his first child in June 2021.
The brand is now working on an exclusive VIP lifestyle members-only club card.