Hair gel tycoon's football boot dream
As pupils sweat over their exam results they may be reassured by the story of Bolton-le-Sands entrepreneur Scott Michaels.
Scott left school with no qualifications to speak of and started his working life sweeping up for Morecambe hairdresser Colin Brown.
Today he runs a thriving multi-million pound business with glamorous links to Hollywood and has just launched his latest venture with help of contacts in the football world.
Scott, 35, has branched out from hair styling into football boots with a nod to his heroes of the past.
His ‘Stylo Matchmakers’ brand is a reboot - so to speak - of a type of boot once worn by football legends Kevin Keegan and George Best. Since Scott launched the footwear at Hotel Football near Manchester United’s ground Old Trafford in May, the fame of the boot has spread to all four corners of the earth.
Selling football boots is quite a left-field move for the ex-Carnforth High pupil, who made his fortune through a range of hair gels and waxes.
To date almost 1.5m of Scott’s Hairbond products have been sold worldwide at a total retail value of more than £25m.
The dad-of-one was inspired to make and sell football boots when doing a promotional photo shoot for Hairbond in Dalton Square, Lancaster, with Blackburn Rovers players Paul Gallagher and Craig Conway.
“As a kid I loved football boots and three million people play football in the UK so there’s a big market for them,” said Scott.
“I went away and read ‘The Shoe Dog’ by Nike creator Phil Knight. That gave me an idea of how the shoe industry works. I realised there was a gap in the market. Today’s football boots are bright colours. I wanted mine to be ‘old school’.”
Stylo Matchmakers were popular boots with top professionals in the 1970s but hadn’t been made for decades until Scott resurrected them.
“The strategy is to sell the boots to football clubs,” he said.
“So with help from my brother Stefan (Stylo Matchmakers global sales manager) we’ve taken the boots to places like Preston North End, Leeds United, Blackpool and Newcastle United. (Morecambe manager) Jim Bentley also spent time helping me with contacts.
“We’re also taking the brand to the States. That’s my mission, to dominate the world.”
With help of a global distributor and Scott’s contacts worldwide, the boot is already selling in Holland, South Africa, the USA and Australia.
So Scott is confident Stylo Matchmakers can eventually match the success of Hairbond.
And as a self-made man, he has advice for kids who have failed exams and may be worrying about their futures.
“Coming from leaving school with no qualifications, the only way you can get any success is you’ve got to be the hardest working person in your industry,” he said.
So after hair gel and football boots, what will the Bolton-le-Sands tycoon dabble in next?
“As you get older your tastes change,” he said. “So next time it might be cars, property or even spaceships!”