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News article

20th May 2021

We were delighted to receive the news that a business started by former St Brendan’s student Nick Crook, has recently been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Nick’s company Boardies, designs, manufactures and sells high-quality, distinctive swimwear products in markets around the world. He created it in 2014 after identifying a gap in the market for swimwear that was creatively designed and premium quality, at an accessible price.

The brand has won the award because of the way that it has successfully negotiated the challenges of Covid-19, pivoting to a direct to consumer strategy, resulting in a six-fold increase in online sales to customers all around the world.

We caught up with Nick after hearing his news, and he told us:

‘I loved my time at St Brendan’s and think the A-levels I did really helped spring board my career.  I studied Business Studies, Design & Technology and Communication Studies, as I am very creative and had an interest in marketing.  Much of what I learnt, I still use to this day running my own fashion business, as all three subjects I studied were relevant and provided me with sound academic foundations. 

After Sixth Form College, I went to Loughborough University Business School, graduating with a BSc Hons.  Part of the degree included a placement year and I was lucky enough to get a job working for Reebok.  From there I worked for various sports and fashion brands, Umbro, Levi’s and K-Swiss, before launching my own brand Boardies. 

Winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise is a huge honour and I am proud that my business has received such esteemed recognition.  It goes to show hard work does pay off.’

Nick’s plans to keep Boardies independent, building a sustainable business for the long-term and new categories, with a particular focus on womenswear.

While growth is important, Nick and his team also value the opportunity to use the brand to travel and make a positive impact on the world through charitable and sustainability initiatives.

As a brand intrinsically linked to the ocean, sustainability is embedded within the culture of the business, and Boardies has partnered with fellow London brand RÆBURN to create a responsibly designed collection featuring swimwear made from regenerated plastics, using sustainable trims and packaging. The company has made matching shirts and towels from Tencel fibres, featuring ethically sourced buttons and labels. 10% of profits from these collections will be donated to charities focusing on clearing up plastic in waterways around the world.

You can take a look at the Boardies website here: