Burton Albion football stars get into apparel design
Two former Burton Albion football stars have come up with an ingenious way to carry your cell phone while playing sports. James Wren and Jack Dyer first met in 2011 while playing for the Brewers and are now eyeing a slice of the multi-billion pound fitness wear market by creating a whole new range of clothing.
The Freetrain Vest started as an idea of the duo as a way to solve that perennial problem of knowing what to do with your cellphone while exercising. The co-founders have spent the past two years working on the products and have now brought them to the UK market.
Called “The Emergence” in a nod to the company’s “emergence as a brand”, according to Mr Wren, it offers 22 different items for men and women, including leggings, sports bras , vests, t-shirts and shorts, Business Live Reports. They will be sold online alongside the company’s basic vest and other items that Freetrain has developed over the past few years, including hats, gloves and a recently launched hydro vest that can carry both a mobile phone and a water bottle.
TOP STORY: Staffordshire school quarantined as police called
Mr Wren said the plan had always been for the business to branch out into other areas, with the new collection aimed at all types of sports. “We knew one product wasn’t going to last the business forever and we always planned to stand out with one product and then branch out into other areas,” he said.
“But with covid and a few other hiccups here and there, it’s taken us a lot longer than we’d like. We’ve been a bit behind in terms of product and it seems like an exciting time now where we have it. One Things come and go… This new collection includes all the essential training equipment.
“The design process was a collaborative effort and reflects my and Jack’s inspirations. It has always been important to us that the products we release are a representation of what we love and believe in.
“The one thing we’ve tried to do that’s probably slowed us down is that the range is about 73% sustainable, so it contains recycled or organic materials.”
The design of the company’s original product, the Freetrain vest, is based on the GPS trackers that footballers wear to monitor their movements during training and is aimed primarily at runners.
It has shoulder pockets for small items while the cell phone sits in the center of the chest, solving the “unbalanced” feeling of carrying it in an armband or bouncing around in a fanny pack.
The co-founders used their own savings to develop designs while working as personal trainers and football coaches, with Mr Dyer’s grandmother knitting the first prototype cut from an old t-shirt.
The first iteration hit the market in 2017 since then it has attracted fans from around the world including Premier League footballers Paul Pogba and Virgil van Dijk and Coronation Street actor Colson Smith.
The company has grown from just four employees 18 months ago, all based remotely, to ten employees, including a social media manager and an in-house designer, and even opened its own office in Aldridge, affectionately nicknamed The Bunker.
“Maybe in a few years we can start looking further afield. We are actually planning at least two more clothing drives this year.
“Sneakers and shoes are something that could be on the horizon, but we want to get it right first and then we will assess that later.
“Any sporting brand worth its salt has to span all kinds of sports and sporting goods.”