I played for England but quit football for fashion – My label made £6.6m last year and I’m on the Rich List worth £88m
FOOTBALLER, Reece Wabara, hung up his boots in 2017 to launch his own fashion label – and now he is worth £88million.
The former Man City right-back felt uninspired by his footie career and decided to kickstart his profitable side hustle.
Free for editorial useReece left football for fashion and is now on the Times Young Rich List[/caption]
The TimesThe company is now estimated to be worth £100 million and Reece pockets 83 per cent of the shares[/caption]
After his contract with Man City ended by mutual consent in 2014, Wabara jumped into entrepreneurship with both feet.
Following former school mate Lewis Morgan, who co-founded Gym Shark, the then 22-year-old launched and invested £15,000 into Maniere De Voir.
He told previously said: “I kept asking, where can I maximise my potential to be great.
“I always had a way of dressing that was different and Lewis (Morgan, co-founder of Gymshark) said to me, ‘You should do something in fashion’.”
Despite a rocky start, profits today have doubled to £6.6 million from last year and Oxford Street, London will soon welcome Wabara’s first store.
Sport icons including Anthony Joshua and Raheem Sterling have donned apparel from the brand,
And Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards is also reportedly a supporter.
‘FOOTBALLER TO FASHION’
Man City recruited Reece when he was 16 and by 19 he had been offered a three-year £1million-per-year deal.
But this was ended in 2014 and the young player struggled to regain a place in a first team.
He bounced around on loan to various clubs including Blackpool, Doncaster Rovers, Barnsley, Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers.
By 2017, the 26-year-old decided the only pitch he wanted in his life was in the fashion board room.
He previously said he “knew my football days at City were coming to an end” and his dad encouraged him to find another source of income.
“The transition from footballer to fashion owner was a gradual one and only when the numbers and politics in football started to eat away at me did I need to make a choice,” he told Sports On Screen.
“My football wasn’t progressing in the way I intended it to.
“The business was progressing at an alarming rate and I had to choose one or the other because focus is important.”
And focus he did, working seven days a week around the clock to get his business on its feet.
In a genius business plan move, the young entrepreneur designed and produced more women’s clothing in Maniere De Voir.
“Men are very simple by nature,” he said.
“There’s only so much you can do with those silhouettes.
“Whereas women are more experimental – and they shop a lot more, typically.”
The inclusion of women’s clothes massively helped boost sales and Manière de Voir’s biggest-selling lines include £100 high-waisted cargo pants and £90 vegan leather corsets.
Much of the range is designed by Reece himself, including £30 T-shirts and more expensive £90 tracksuits.
From his first year turnover of £1million, some seven years later he was raking in £30.2million.
Talking about his success sky-rocketing overnight, he said: “I was super-naïve, so I just thought that was normal.”
“My football wasn’t progressing in the way I intended it to, the business was progressing at an alarming rate and I had to choose one or the other because focus is important.”
Reece landed himself a spot on the Sunday Times Young Rich List – above footballer Marcus Rashford and level with rapper Stormzy’s net worth.
Yet Wabara, now 31, still told The Times he often feels like a “failure” because his dreams of becoming a successful footballer were shattered so quickly.
He said: “I honestly don’t feel I’ve achieved that much.
“I honestly feel like I’m just getting started.”
This year’s Times Young Rich List includes four other people who attended South Bromsgrove High School.
Ben Francis and Lewis Morgan, who founded athletic wear giant Gym Shark.
Another successful gym wear brand for women, Aybl, now worth 10s of millions, was created by Reiss and Kris Edgerton.
At 30 and 29, the brothers opened up about the fact they used to brainstorm ideas on Skype with the UK’s youngest billionaire.
They spoke about their rise to success – from feeling lost after leaving their studying plans behind, and making a mere £150 a week.
But it doesn’t appear teachers at the school were the source of Reece’s inspiration.
“No — I can’t even remember their names,” he joked.
The Manchester-based company is now estimated to be worth £100 million and Reece pockets 83 per cent of the shares.
KEY TO SUCCESS
The fashion designer believes taking the time to create a sustainable approach is key to making his fortune.
The 31-year-old highlighted the balance between being brave enough to take the risk but smart enough to keep within your financial means.
He said he has borrowed limited money and even paid himself an annual salary below what his footballer pals would earn in a week.
He said: “Grow slowly, target sustained profit over short-lived accelerated revenue and always focus on your customers, not your competitors.
“Don’t let monetary success create complacency or make you think you are untouchable.”
He advised keeping the company of people who will be honest with you and try to stay out of the limelight.
When asked if he thinks his brand will take him to the main Sunday Times Rich List, he said: “Let’s see, I’ll do the best I can and see where it lands me.”
InstagramReece landed himself a spot on the Sunday Times Young Rich List[/caption]
InstagramThe fashion designer believes taking the time to create a sustainable approach is key to making his fortune[/caption]
Getty Images – GettyMan City recruited Reece when he was 16 and by 19 he had been offered a three-year £1million-per-year deal[/caption]
Getty Images – GettyBut this was ended in 2014 and the young player struggled to regain a place in a first team[/caption]