Matthew Burgess: From Customising Trainers to Running a Worldwide Business

Matthew Burgess, from Boothstown, started customising trainers at just 17-years-old while he was studying at Pendleton College. He had become the talk of the campus when fellow students would notice him wearing trainers with colourways they had never seen before. Burgess customised his first pair of trainers for a classmate for £25. Last year, a pair which his company customised sold for £10K at an auction.

Once the requests for customisation came in, without missing a beat, Matthew created an Instagram account called MattB Customs and a website to take orders. The formula was simple, classmates would buy their pair of trainers from traditional retail stores and then hand it over to Matthew to customise it with a bespoke design for a fee.

Matthew’s drive was borne out of the disappointment he felt he subjected his parents to the day he failed his GCSEs. At 16, Matthew left Walkden High School with just three GCSEs in graphic design, media studies and physical education. Since creating MattB Customs, he has gone from customising sneakers for punters at the Trafford Centre, to running a lucrative side hustle while at Sheffield Hallam University with the help of close friends, to collaborating with Stella McCartney and having his design featured at London Fashion Week, to building an elite clientele which includes stars like Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and many more – and working with major corporations like Google and Netflix.

Matthew himself is a motivated, knowledgeable and determined businessman. But also a personable, down to earth young man, he has managed to keep things very modest and grass-roots, running what is essentially a local family business in Salford. Among some of the other staff is a friend he met in Sheffield and an old high school friend who Matthew designed a pair of football boots for, back when he was just starting out. Matthew is now hoping to create opportunities using his brand in the form of apprenticeship schemes for young people in the area who aren’t looking to go to university.

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