Ted Gibson is the Founder of Coalo, an e-commerce marketplace for men’s fashion and lifestyle brands with a focus on sustainability. He launched the website just a few weeks into the Covid-19 pandemic, and has been working with The Prince’s Trust’s Enterprise programme to grow and develop his business ever since.

“Coalo is a one-stop shop for men looking to buy clothes and lifestyle goods that are good for the planet. I represent nine brands who all work in men’s fashion and vet them for their ethics, sustainability and impact on the planet.”

“As a business, it has grown from a combination of my interest in men’s fashion and my passion for sustainability which I’ve grown since I was first interested at school. The thought of running a business aligned to that passion became really important to me and the idea for Coalo was born. I used to work for Amazon, which inspired the e-commerce side of the business.”

The Prince’s Trust was recommended to me many times along my journey. It has a brilliant reputation and I used to live very close to one of the centres. I always walked past meaning to go inside. Eventually I signed up in December 2020 – the time was right. I’m still working full time for an agency that helps companies set up on Amazon and I would like to move to running Coalo as my full-time job, so I reached out to The Prince’s Trust for support.

“Although I had the idea for the business before the pandemic, it was March 2020 – just a few weeks into the first lockdown – that I actually launched the website. The pandemic has been my only frame of reference for the business! I really enjoyed the four-day Explore Enterprise Course although it’s a shame it wasn’t in person.”

“The highlight for me has been working with my Next Steps mentor. He is so knowledgeable, and he has set me up to succeed. I’ve learnt to think about the fundamentals of business. I had done that a little before, but The Prince’s Trust encourages you to focus on the fundamentals when you write your business plan, which was really useful.”

“My plan now is to focus on the business as much as I can, growing it to a point where it makes sense to do it full- or part-time. I’ll be continuing to work with The Prince’s Trust and I’m moving from my Next Steps mentor to a Business mentor to support me to grow traction.”

“If you want to start a business, definitely look at The Prince’s Trust’s materials. It’s always surprising how much you can do for free or on a limited budget so do as much research as possible, test things out, talk to people – that way when you do take the leap you’ll be in the best position.”