Mark Metcalfe Graduated from Leeds Trinity in 2003 with a degree in Media and Management. Since graduating, Mark has gone on to open his own business called The Cricket Bat Boutique.
Mark, born and raised in Lincolnshire, attended St Martins Primary School in Owston Ferry and South Axholme School before attending John Legott College in Scunthorpe. Mark then decided to move north to Yorkshire when he started his Media and Management course at Leeds Trinity University. Since graduating, Mark has had a variety of careers ranging from Training to Operations Management, before opening his second business with The Cricket Boutique.
As a keen cricketer for over 20 years, Mark used his insight into the sport, and the knowledge gained from his degree, to fill a gap in the market and produce quality, homemade cricket bats made from English willow wood. Mark officially opened The Cricket Boutique in July 2016 and now supplies top brands including Aldred, Charlie French, Helygen, Jedi, Mangled, Reaper Cricket, Red Ink and Robert James.
What made you choose to attend Leeds Trinity?
The reason I originally chose Leeds Trinity was we were visited at school by a Leeds Trinity representative who showed us the marketing material for TASC which looked impressive. A few years later when looking to finally chose where I would like to attend I visited the campus on an open day and it seemed the right fit for what I was looking for.
As well as facilities and a course that fitted, one of the other things that appealed to me was the locality to my home. It's always good to be able to give your parents a call when the washing basket is getting full or snack supplies are running low.
What are your best memories from your time at Leeds Trinity?
Apart from the course itself some of the best memories from Leeds Trinity were from my time in Halls. I remember one of the first conversations with my next door neighbour (Joe Harper) in the Student Union bar after a few awkward days of avoiding each other and it went something along the lines of....
Joe - "I heard your loud music when I was unpacking"
Me - "Oh right, it was Metallica"
Joe - "I thought you were a bit strange so have avoided you for the last few days"
Me - "Yea, I heard your music and thought the same"
Both - "Fancy another drink"?
I turns out after that moment we became really good friends and it shows how you can interact and become friends at University with people you would normally not interact with.
I also remember the fact that as students at Leeds Trinity you could order really good pizzas from the local takeaway for about £2.50!
Did your course/time as a student help/influence your career in any way?
Yes! The skills I developed via the Media and Management course have greatly influenced and helped with my career.
The Media skills helped me obtain a role tutoring 6-16 year old's in Video production and basic animation, from this I then obtained further work in Tutoring/Training roles. The Management/Business side of the course helped me progress from the training roles to Management and those skills have now helped with setting up my own business.
Were you involved with any clubs or societies in your time as a student?
Not really, however we did form our own external football get together where about 20 of us would go and play on the local fields on a Wednesday afternoon.
What else have you done since graduating? And what was the breakthrough moment when you knew the Cricket Boutique could be successful?
Straight from graduating, well actually before the official graduation, I had set up my first business venture which was a skate shop called Abrasion in Scunthorpe town centre. After selling this business to another local company I then continued in various other positions (Administrator/Trainer/Training Manager/Head of Customer Services/Operations Manager etc.) I always had the feeling that I had unfinished business with regards to running my own company so after a number of years The Cricket Boutique was formed.
The Breakthrough moment was seeing the website and getting my first sales.
What advice would you have to any students thinking of starting their own business?
The main pieces of advice would be to do your homework properly and also make sure you are ready for all the hard work setting up a business entails.
If you have an Idea, whatever it is, research it as much as possible. You need to find out if there is already the same out there and if so what will make people buy your product/service instead of theirs. Research will also reveal if you really have an idea that will work! It's no good just chatting with a friend and when they smile and nod taking this as conformation that your business will be a success.
Setting up a business is really hard work as you have to try and master all aspects. Unless you are in the very lucky situation where you have won the lottery it is doubtful that you will be in the position to employ anyone so brace yourself to put in lots of hours and not have much time for anything else.
Setting up and running your own business is hard work, stressful and low paid but on the flip side it can be one of the most satisfying things you will do.