People often asked me why I called my business Charles Tyrwhitt. The easy answer is, it sounded better than “Nick Wheeler”.
Charles Tyrwhitt are my middle names. It also seemed right to remember my forebear, poor Sir Hercules Tyrwhitt, slain in 1067 on a bridge in Northumbria. If Hercules was prepared to be slain in battle, the least I could do was to name my little shirt company after him.
Born in Ludlow, Shropshire, I only ever wanted my own business. I tried my hand at many different disastrous ventures – photography (too claustrophobic in a darkroom); Christmas trees (too seasonal); and bespoke shoes (only ever fitted pixies and clowns). Nothing really worked.
Until I started my shirt business in 1986 - from my room at Bristol university.
I dedicated the time I should have spent working on my geography degree to selling shirts - by mail. I forked out ￡99 on 5,000 leaflets, ￡199 on an Amstrad word processor and little Charles Tyrwhitt was born.
Fast forward 35 years and Charles Tyrwhitt has grown from shirts and ties, to everything a man can want. From that single Bristol bedsit, there are now 38 stores and a team of 750 amazing people who make Charles Tyrwhitt what it is today.
Away from the business, I’m married to Chrissie Rucker, founder and owner of The White Company and we have four children and a menagerie of dogs, horses, sheep, and pigs. I’ll do anything to bring menswear to the fore and once cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats in full pinstripe, brogues, and a beautiful Egyptian cotton poplin shirt. Doubters may scoff, but that’s my version and I am sticking to it!
Charles Tyrwhitt has come a long way from those early days and we have achieved much, but it is the next 35 years that really excite me. I do hope you will join me for the ride!