The combination of a great idea, entrepreneurial enterprise and a passion for their product has taken two young men from Devon to the pinnacle of the beautiful game.
The football-loving duo of Jake Self and Cameron Sangster founded the fabulous RAREBOOTS4U in the summer of 2016, when they were both just 16 years-old, a business model based on buying and selling rare and classic football boots.
In just a few years, the concept has literally become an international triumph, with global football icons like Karim Benzema, Xavi, Steven Gerrard, Mason Mount, and many more, among their customers.
Jake attended Brixham Community College and then studied a Sport Diploma at Torquay Academy, while Cameron was a student at Ivybridge Community College and played for two years as a professional footballer at Plymouth Argyle before the pair decided to focus on their growing enterprise.
“It simply started from a conversation about how we could make some extra money,” said Jake and Cameron. “We always wanted the latest shoes and football boots as kids. With a passion for football and football boots, we decided to create an Instagram page called RAREBOOTS4U in the summer of 2016, after our GCSE's. We were 16 years old and this was just an idea.
“Our thinking was that we would begin buying and selling rare and classic football boots, as we saw a gap in the football boot market that was not competitive at the time and we saw huge potential to exploit.
“We started with £200 each, no capital, no investment and no specific knowledge in business, Just a small amount of money, which was awarded to us by our parents after completing our GCSE's, so we started from quite literally around £200 each.
“After buying and selling for a year and starting to create a name for ourselves, we had several professional footballers in the Football League now buying from us regularly. We ensured our business fundamentals were solid: Quick shipping, fair prices and good customer service.
“Now at around 10,000 followers on instagram, we had our first big name footballer contact us. Ethan Ampadu had just moved to Chelsea from Exeter City. We supplied Ethan a pair of classic F50 Adizero for free in return for advertisement on his social channels.
“We knew that this would put our name out there to many top premier league players. From Ethan, this then led on to his team-mates Alvaro Morata and David Luiz getting in touch and requesting us to source specific classic boots for them, which we then supplied and repeated the same strategy we had with Ethan.
“Word of mouth is the best form of marketing in our experience. If a high-profile footballer is talking well about your company, then people listen and take notice of you. One player leads to another, and then we really began to snowball and attract some seriously crazy players.
“Some of the names we then went on to supply included Xavi, Ivan Rakitic, Joao Felix, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Alex Lacazette, Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil, Ousmane Dembele, Bruno Fernandes, Ansu Fati, Marcelo, Gareth Bale, Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Romelu Lukaku, Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Declan Rice, Jude Bellinghem, Mason Greenwood, Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Jack Wilshere, Callum Hudson Odoi, Rodrygo Goes, Dani Alves, Mauro Icardi, De Ligt, Ricard Puig and many more...
“We have now been full time in business for two years. We work every day from our office in Devon.
“To this day, it is still just the two of us who operate every aspect of the business. This includes customer service, emails, instagram DM's, website form enquiries. It also includes packaging orders every single day, managing the back end of the website, the marketing, the player acquisitions, planning our stock launches and finding new stock.
“We don’t like to look too far in advance. If we are becoming 1% better every day, then we know that in 3/4 years , the progress will be significant.”
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