IF YOU want to do it, you can’ – that’s the mantra of three young entrepreneurs who have opened a new streetwear store in Basingstoke.
Twenty-year-olds Aaron Barton and Jake Larkin, and Jake’s 19-year-old cousin Ben Larkin, have opened Rucksack Society, in Wote Street, after securing a £25,000 loan.
Ben said: “It frustrates me when I see people my age are moaning that they can’t find a job and can’t do anything.
“We really believe if you want to do it you will do it. Don’t put barriers or obstacles in the way – just smash through the barriers and do it – that’s what we did.”
The store sells American skate brands including T-shirts, caps and shoes from the likes of Diamond Supply Co, The Quiet Life, Rip N Dip and local brand The LAB.
“We had a rough idea of opening a streetwear shop last year,” explained Ben. “We started off looking at banks but they wouldn’t touch us – banks don’t touch people of our age at all.
“But we were not taking no for an answer. We didn’t have any money behind us, but we wanted to do it any way.”
By chance, Ben saw on Instagram a blog by Grime Daily, promoting a competition for young entrepreneurs by Bigga Business, which is part of a social enterprise called Bigga Fish.
“We submitted our business plan and they got back in touch with us the next day – they liked the idea,” said Ben.
Between them, Ben, Jake and Aaron were able to secure the £25,000 loan to get their business off the ground, securing their shop unit in the Top of The Town.
Chuffed with the location, Ben said: “This unit was empty for four years. I don’t know why because this is one of the best locations in Wote Street, just outside Festival Place.”
And business is going well for Rucksack Society.
“There is not a store like this anywhere in town,” said Ben.
“People who shop for clothes like ours typically shop in London. But we like this town – this is the best town in England and we wanted to bring the excitement and the boutique feel of London to Basingstoke.
“There should be a shop like this in every town and now we’ve got one.” He added: “We’ve even had people coming in from London asking if we can deliver.”