Tuck Shop Entrepreneur

Max Brown (Xt, 2022)

I was at College for 15 years from the age of three, made great friends, loved team sports and did OK academically with A levels in Economics, Politics and Psychology.

My first foray into business was at The Prep where I bought and sold with David Noble (NH, 2022). Unfortunately, my business partner and I had a sweet tooth and ate our stock and hence profits. For my second business, FITSZOO, I had identified the increase in the popularity of vintage clothing – I started buying from wholesalers and selling online on Depop, to friends and on a market stall. By the time I left College, we had 280 five-star Depop reviews and, having retained our profits, were able to open a shop in Hereford. Things went well and FITSZOO opened a second shop in Cheltenham in November 2022.

Alongside running the business, I started a three-year degree course in September 2022 at Oxford Brookes studying Real Estate. With the help of Josh Poulain (S, 2022) and James French (NH, 2022), who were on their gap year, I was able to keep the shops open. I spent my weekends driving around the UK, buying more stock and processing it so that the shops had stuff to sell.

(Image right caption: The second FITSZOO shop opened in Cheltenham in November 2022)

Running FITSZOO has taught me a lot. I’ve had a few bumps along the way but that’s all part of the learning process. I set up a limited company, registered for VAT (when I had to), got an accountant, managed employees and payroll, and had to deal and negotiate with suppliers and landlords. The most important thing is to buy the right stock at the right price so I can offer quality and value to my customers. I now have suppliers in the UK, Italy, USA, Pakistan and Thailand.

I’m really pleased with the second, larger shop in Cheltenham, in the Regent Arcade. I wanted a place where people wanted to come and that had a cool vintage feel. It works well thanks to Austin Taroey (Xt, 2022) who helped design and put everything together. I have also teamed up with Rory Jenkins (S, 2022), who has an amazing design talent. We are selling his designs on T-shirts and vintage jeans with brilliant feedback from customers. I have always collected vintage football shirts, so know their value and they have proved very popular too.

(Image left caption: The second FITSZOO shop opened in Cheltenham in November 2022)

As far as the future goes, I do want my own property business eventually but recognise that I need to learn and gain experience first by working for an established business in that sector. I will continue to follow my passion in Vintage clothes and football shirts also.

My time at College taught me many things – keep going even if you are not top of the class, enjoy what you are good at, don’t compare yourself to others, think outside the box and take a risk. If you feel passionate about it, hard work and tenacity will pay off and you’ll learn lots along the way. Be open-minded and just keep trying your best.