Young entrepreneurs: Archie Hewlett, Duke & Dexter
The 21 year-old creating slip-on shoes worn by the likes of Tinie Tempah and Ryan Reynolds
Name: Archie Hewlett
Company: Duke & Dexter
On the eve of beginning a psychology degree at the University of Durham, then 18 year-old Archie Hewlett decided his talents would be better put to use starting a quality slip-on shoe business – so he took out a £9,000 loan and did just that.
A fan of velvet slippers, Hewlett wanted to steer the classic British style away from its pretentious association and inflated price tag, but not sacrifice on quality like the myriad of cheap imitations on offer. With not much on offer in the middle ground, the young entrepreneur decided to plug the gap himself and launched Duke & Dexter: a slip on shoe brand selling a range of affordable, contemporary designs for men and women in a range of styles and materials.
The company has found a host of celebrity fans, including Justin Timberlake, Tinie Tempah, Poppy Delevingne, Ryan Reynolds, Tyson Beckford and Eddie Redmayne to name a few. It’s also partnered with an enviable roster of retailers including Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty and Fenwick.
Fewer than two years after launch, Duke & Dexter has become a global business and achieved an impressive £1m turnover in 2015 – so far without any additional funding. 21 year-old Hewlett has already achieved what many clothing brands take decades to do, but this is just the beginning.
The company’s first independent store is due to open in Covent Garden later in 2016 and he plans to partner with key retailers in the world’s major cities to increase Duke & Dexter’s global exposure. This young entrepreneur took a classic product, reinvigorated it and created a hugely successful global brand – we can’t wait to see what he does next.