30th July 2021 — When two Bedford School boys Henry Cudjoe and Alex Edun set up their custom design business ‘YBK’ (Your Best Kicks) as part of a school Business Studies project, little did they know that their designs would decorate the boots of Team GB rugby sevens star Dan Bibbi, at this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The 17 year-old boys, who have been running their business at a profit for almost a year now, have been working hard to create unique designs on trainers and learning how to expand their business through networking and building recognition.
A milestone moment for the boys came when they sought the help of local entrepreneur and Old Bedfordian Harry Beard (13-18), who introduced them to individuals in the industry who could help them. One of these introductions was Luke Treharne (Welsh Rugby International), who commissioned the boys to design a pair of boots. From there, they connected with Dan Bibby (England 7s player), who also sent a pair of boots to be customised.
The boys were, therefore, delighted to see Dan wearing the ‘Maui’ adorned boots that they had designed when they watched him play for Team GB in the Olympics earlier this week. During the final against Argentina, the boots were shown in close-ups twice. During the first close-up, Rob Vickerman (one of the commentators) remarked, “How about those boots - the Moana!” The boots were also pictured on social media feeds from England Rugby, GB Rugby 7s, World Rugby 7s and Work Rugby ES.
Henry Cudjoe, who customised the boots, explained, “It was really easy and relaxing to work with Dan. He was really easy going and nice to talk to regarding completion and the design he wanted. He didn’t give me any details on the design that he wanted; he just said that he wanted a Maui themed design. Based on that I began to create a design from scratch and asked whether it would be alright if I could keep his design a surprise; he agreed to that with no issues and was excited to see the outcome. After about a month of back-and-forth conversations regarding updates on the boots, he mentioned that he was going to be going to the Olympics and that he would really like to take the boots with him.”
Dan has been hugely supportive of the boys and has kept in touch, sending them photos of him wearing the boots. He has also shared their details on his own social media, and the boys hope that this will help create more contacts in the future.
Alex Edun, the other half of YBK, said, “Henry and I have been extremely fortunate to get a pair of our customs to Tokyo 2020. It really is so nice for someone to show appreciation of our work on a global stage the sheer size of the Olympics. It’s such a huge achievement, one which we will never forget!”
Henry added, “Major thanks go to Daniel Bibby; without him and his support none of this would have been possible. He took a chance with me, and as he said he would, he took my art to the greatest stage, the Olympics. Thank you! Words cannot describe my gratitude. Alex and I are just over a year in, so this is a huge achievement for the both of us. There are very few 17-year-olds who are fortunate enough to achieve what we have in the past few days! I am truly grateful!”