Barnsley College student Luke Jones has a real passion for trainers and has decided to turn this into an all-new business venture, Sketch Customs, with the help of iTrust, the College’s business start-up programme exclusively for students.
Interested in creating bespoke designs for his clients, Luke was inspired to start his own business making custom-made footwear after he wanted himself and his shoes to stand out from the crowd.
Luke, 19, studying Level 3 Sport and Exercise Sciences at Barnsley College, said: “About a year ago I was looking to buy some new shoes and I really liked a particular pair, but I was put off by the fact that everyone around me was wearing them.
“I started to search for different models of the shoe and found a picture of some that were custom-made and loved them so I started to look into how they were made – I found a website that stocked paints especially for leather so I ordered some, customised my own and started to wear them.
“I truly aspire to have my own business and I’m excited to see where it can go with the support of the Enterprise Team, the Prince’s Trust and my friends and family. I really feel that I can make this a success.”
Barnsley College’s Enterprise department is home to the iTrust initiative, a joint venture between the College, The Barnsley Chronicle and The Business Village supporting students interested in starting up a business in Barnsley.
Students who choose to receive support from iTrust, will have access to an array of information and guidance such as mentoring from industry specialists and local businesses and financial investments.
Luke has now sold some of his unique pairs to friends and family but dreams of making it big and with the help of iTrust, and has since set up his own website. Luke is also shortly due to receive his £250 iTrust grant, which will fund a vinyl printer, allowing him to do wrapped designs and subsequently expand his product range.
Jess Widdowson, Enterprise Team Leader at Barnsley College, added: “Luke is an extremely driven individual with a clear understanding of his product and his target market. Since our initial meeting, Luke has worked hard to develop his website and we have regularly caught up to see where he can access further support to develop his brand.
“As well as support from the Barnsley College iTrust scheme, Luke has also been directed to the Prince’s Trust, who will be able to support him further with additional funding and a Level 2 qualification in Enterprise.”