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Our Story


Founded in 2017 by childhood friends Ben James Boon and Harry Cromwell Griffiths, James Cromwell was born to disrupt the swimwear market. They identified a gap in the market for a high quality product at a reasonable price point.

 

Our journey so far

March 2017 - The conversations began to launch a brand, and launch it in time for summer. Many late nights followed, learning how to transfer basic hand-drawn concepts into print-ready designs. Eight months later, the first 300 pairs of shorts arrived. Although not exactly the summer launch they had planned, Ben and Harry prepared for their first Christmas fairs.

 

January 2018 - After two slow days of their first trade show, Ben managed to secure their first 5* spa hotel - things were looking up. The show ended up being a success, coming home with four new stockists.

 

March 2018 - with little knowledge in the world of PR, Harry set about contacting publications to try and drive people to the fledgling website. After many an email telling him off for contacting inappropriate people and not following any kind of press release statement, finally a good result - The Sunday Times Travel Magazine’s April edition

 

May 2018 - After a failed Kickstarter campaign, it was back to the factory to refine the quality of the shorts. There was one area that proved to be the biggest headache - the toggles. With another 300 pairs of shorts being made, the pressure was on to create the perfect toggles.

 

June 2018 - Following the success of the Christmas Fair circuit it was thought that this could be replicated in the summer by attending a series of country fairs. Unfortunately, this was an expensive lesson in “know your audience”, although much Prosecco was consumed not a lot of shorts were sold!

 

July 2018 - As the summer continued, it became clear that amateur photography was not going to help sell the new delivery of shorts. Something had to change quickly to start generating some cash! In partnership with The Boat Club, out on the South Coast, Ben and Harry watched the shorts come to life.

 

November 2018 - After a failed attempt at online advertising, the pressure was on leading into Black Friday weekend. In a matter of hours the budget was burnt through, website traffic sky rocketed and the sales began to come in, it was looking like a few people would be getting new swim shorts under the Christmas tree.

 

April 2019 - The upcoming summer season arrived and still the new SS19 collection was not ready and lead times with the factory had still not been mastered. However, the all-new Navy Bold Green Turtle and Mint Bold Starfish samples had arrived - it was time for another shoot with the newly appointed marketing agency.

 

August 2019 - Ben and Harry knew their online presence had to improve if there was any chance of surviving. So in the summer 2019 they brought onboard a specialist digital market team. Finally, over the August bank holiday weekend, the first £1,000 online day came.

 

October 2019 - STOCK STOCK STOCK was the agenda for the end of the year and the biggest order to date was placed with 1,000 pairs arriving just in time for the winter… again!!

 

April 2020 - Following the success of the online advertising in the previous year, they gambled on a four day advertising test to the European market which had a fantastic response. James Cromwell were going to be stocked in Bulgaria, Malta and Rome within weeks.

 

June 2020 - With weekly orders running into the hundreds, the day finally came to move out of Ben’s family home and into a commercial unit. As part of the move, free worldwide shipping on all orders began - James Cromwell was travelling the world!

 

This is the story so far. Follow the journey on Instagram @JamesCromwellClothing

 


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