The People Behind The Brands: Frankie Thorogood, TCA
BALANCE FESTIVAL TEAM | TEGAN HEDLEY
Apr 14, 2020
What were you doing in your early twenties? At a time when most of us are still finding our feet working for somebody else, Frankie Thorogood was founding a business after spotting a gap in the sportswear market. Fast forward a few years, and that company now serves hundreds of thousands of customers every year.
We caught up with Frankie to find out what he's learned about running a business, about being a leader, and where he thinks the next big thing will come from.
What is TCA’s mission?
To create elite level sportswear that’s accessible to everyone.
How did TCA come about?
I was the first person to sell football snoods in the UK! After that, I noticed compression sportswear taking off in the US and being adopted by professional athletes. I decided to bring it to the UK, I started working with suppliers and developing my own product. I started working from my bedroom with £100 of my own money, TCA now has over 250,000 customers each year.
How has the brand's purpose evolved since the company was first founded?
I am intensely competitive. I believe in always trying your best at whatever you’re doing and I can’t stand laziness or defeatist attitudes. The drive to prove myself and show that I could build a business is what fuelled me at the start of the journey. That mindset is now at the core of the TCA brand. We believe in always giving your all, that actions speak lounder than words, and that the journey often is the reward. Our purpose as a brand is to stand for those values and help cultivate them in our customers and the world.
Tell us about a ‘lightbulb moment’ where you knew your business had the power to change lives?
I spent 12 months developing our first legging. I spent so long working with suppliers to achieve the most perfect fabric and keep it consistent across colours. It took so long but when we sold out the first batch of stock, I knew the strategy I believed in would work. If you put in the hard work in and do things that others aren’t willing to, you can achieve special results. We’ve reached so many customers now, using that simple idea.
What has been the greatest challenge to your business so far?
As a solo entrepreneur and founder, you get used to doing everything yourself, and being a perfectionist, you get used to everything being done just so. At some point you have to accept that you cannot grow your business and achieve your goals alone. Working through that, learning to hire and delegate to a fantastic team was my biggest challenge but created the most powerful outcome.
Do you think wellness has become a way of life for your consumers?
For lots of them - yes. Even if they don’t realise it. For me, wellness is a combination of physical, mental and emotional health. When you start down a path of consciously paying more attention to those and implementing habits to support and improve them, it becomes a way of life. I’ve certainly seen that change in myself.
On a personal level, what is your mantra in life?
Get rich or die trying. Kidding. I haven’t got it down to a sharp quote yet, but we are only given one life, and since we are lucky enough to be given the gift of life, we should make it our persistent endeavour to immortalise ourselves, no matter what field of endeavour we choose.
What advice would you share with anyone wanting to launch a new business?
If you’re umming and ahhing - just start it. Don’t try and make the perfect plan before you start. Do something and see where it takes you. That advice served me well at the start of my journey. And most important- trust your gut.
What are you most excited to discover at this year's Balance Festival?
I drink a lot of protein powders, so I am keen to find new ones that taste good, have the nutrition I need and don’t cost the earth! Also, the limited edition TCA x Balance product that comes with every VIP ticket!
What do you think is the next big thing in the world of wellness?
Emotional health. Compared to mental health, emotional health will focus more on interpersonal relationships, being aware of your emotions and improving communication with other people. I think better communication could solve almost all the world’s problems.