Jersey 53
Sarah Spence

Member Article

Turning Passion into Profits

Ali Cree has always had a passion for hockey so when the opportunity arose for him to run his own company within the UK designing and selling hockey jerseys he jumped at the chance.

The company, Jersey53, now designs clothes for a variety of sports and has customers all over the country.Ali is keen to ensure that the company’s key aim is to provide the personal touch in the UK right from the initial contact and to prove this he once drove over 200 miles to deliver an order personally enabling one team to play in their new clothes that same night.

Ali visited the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) and was appointed business adviser Chris Craig. The project is being part financed by the European Union’s ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-13, securing £1.07m ERDF investment. Working in a consortium led by North East Enterprise Agencies Ltd (NEEAL) local Enterprise and Development Agencies in the North East have matched this ERDF investment with £1.07m of their own funds.

The BIC caught up with Ali to find out more.

Who are your customers?

My customers fall into many demographics; from Boldon Girls Football Team to my main partnership team the Sheffield Steeldogs Ice Hockey Team. All of the products sold are very unique, so a one off birthday jersey order isn’t abnormal in my day to day routine. Each customer is exclusive in what they want to achieve and that is what makes my job very satisfying.

Who has been your biggest client so far?

Recently I was able to add the Braehead Clan to my list of clients, they are in the Elite Ice Hockey League. I am providing them with a special edition of Breast Cancer Care jerseys which will not only be worn by their latest signing Drew Miller of the Detroit Redwings who is in the National Hockey League, but also the ambassador for breast cancer care, Elizabeth Hurley.

What would you say to others wishing to take the same route?

I would say refrain from jumping in with two feet first. Attending the BIC and initiating my business plan really helped me see the aspects of the business which I hadn’t planned for or even thought about.

Why did you turn to the BIC for advice?

After looking at the BICs website I decided to give them a call. I was given an appointment with business adviser Chris Craig who gave me lots of practical tips and advice. I still can’t believe I got all this help and it was free.

The North East BIC offers a wide range of products and services to support the needs of anyone who wishes to start a new business, and assists over 150 enterprises in the getting off the ground each year. To contact the business support team call 0191 516 6149 or email

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Sarah Spence .

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