Small business owner, Shea Gribbon, received a pleasant surprise when he spotted the first British winner of the Tour de France, Sir Bradley Wiggins, wearing his company’s kit in an Instagram picture.
Gribbon, 24, started up a company called The Shoe Dr, which offers bespoke shoe customisation and has already supplied WorldTour rider Harry Tanfield with his own special design.
With each piece of work, Gribbon throws in a pair of socks and one such order went to Wiggins’ son last year.
He said: “Bradley happened to pull on the pair of socks I sent to his son before going out for a run one morning and shared a picture of himself on social media wearing them.
“That was pretty cool to see, and proved to be great promotion for my business.”
Based in Northern Ireland, Gribbon offers customised designs on cycling shoes, football boots and sneakers, while also repairing, refurbishing and cleaning shoes.
Gribbon was the person responsible for hand painting Harry Tanfield’s personalised Yorkshire shoes that he wore during the time trial at the Vuelta a España 2020
As his shoes are proving so popular Gribbon, a product design graduate from Coventry University, quit his day job to completely focus on his shoe company which had grown in his first year and a half thanks to various professional riders wearing his work.
He thanked his university for helping him get this far: “I use many of the skills I learned and mastered at uni every day, from computer aided design, to Photoshop and model making.
“I loved my time at Coventry University, and my advice to those who are still studying is to enjoy the course and absorb as much as you can.
“Be open minded about jobs, you have so much time to explore and try things. And if you have a side hustle you’ve been working on, give it a shot and grow it patiently without thinking about the money.”