Business story: Jordan McCabe, Aztec Diamond Equestrian
16th July 2019
Durham-based Aztec Diamond is an equestrian clothing brand which was founded in 2014 by Jordan McCabe. The business specialises in affordable, on-trend garments for women and children, selling direct to its customers online.
Can you remember your ‘lightbulb’ moment when you first came up with the idea for Aztec Diamond?
I’ve had horses since I was a child and from a young age, designing my own equestrian clothing range was all I wanted to do. Horse riding is an expensive hobby so I used to work in a yard to earn some extra money and I realised then that the only equestrian clothing available was either very expensive, or it didn’t have the look I wanted. There was a real niche available for a high street version which is both affordable and fashionable.
What motivated you to take the leap and start your own business? Why was the time right then?
I went to college to study textiles and business but left after a year to launch the business – that was in 2014 when I was 18. Four years later we turned over £1m.
During my time at college I received an inheritance and that’s what prompted me to write my business plan and give the business a real go.
Did you found Aztec Diamond on your own or was it as part of a team?
I founded the business on my own, although we’ve quickly grown to a team of nine, including my mum who is a joint director.
What business support or advice did you access to help turn your business idea into a reality?
During my first year I had the support of a mentor who was a specialist in product development, which was valuable as we design and develop all our products from scratch. I also accessed support through TEDCO who helped with questions around sales regulations and taxation, and put me in touch with other support organisations.
How fast did your company reach a £1m turnover?
Every year since we started we have doubled our revenue and in year four we hit £1m turnover. As we’d identified a niche in the market there was very little competition for the first few years and the business grew very quickly.
Can you share some of the highs and lows you’ve experienced along the way?
The best part of the job is seeing a product which I have drawn from scratch being produced, worn, and having people tell me that they love it. Also being able to work with my family every day is another highlight.
In terms of low points, we often find our products being copied by other brands – it means we’re doing something right, but it also shows that there is so much more competition out there now.
I’ve always been very dedicated to the business, so I did miss out on a lot of social aspects when I was younger but it was worth it and I’m making up for it now.
What support do entrepreneurs need to turn their business idea into a reality?
Support and advice is really important. You can’t know everything yourself so having another pair of eyes to look things over and being able to talk to someone more experienced in business can be really helpful.
Why is the North East is great place to start a business?
I think the support for businesses in the North East is fantastic. There are so many great businesses based here and lots of direct support for entrepreneurs. The cost of doing business – for example premises and rent – is also lower so there is really no downside to being based here.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs looking to start a business?
Make sure that what you’re doing is unique and that there’s a demand for it. Look at what else is out there in the market that could compete with you. And stick to working on what you believe in.
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