Hard work and competition the foundation of Louis' success
THIS week's High Flyer is Louis Pearson, founder of OLY Clothing – a Portadown based training and lifestyle clothing brand.
What was your first job?
My first job was a paper round, earning a grand sum of £5.21 per week. I then got a job in a bar, pulling pints and collecting glasses, which I kept on while studying at university. I especially loved it because it allowed me to meet lots of different people.
What qualifications do you have?
I recently graduated from the University of Ulster Jordanstown with a BSc Degree in Health Physiology. Prior to that I completed BTEC Diploma in Exercise Science at Southern Regional College. I also have multiple fitness qualifications, including CrossFit Level one, which enables me to coach in any CrossFit gym.
What do you attribute your success to?
I believe hard work and competition formed the foundation of my success. I've always been competitive and put everything into being the best I can be, especially when it came to sports and business. I competed in athletics from the age of 5, before playing top-level provincial rugby until suffering a career ending injury at 20 years old. This background in sports has taught me valuable lessons that have transferred into my approach to business. I believe that if you're willing to work harder and smarter than the guy next to you, you put yourself in a position to come out on top. I also like that sports shows you how to face up to losing and rejection, a tough but incredibly valuable lesson for anyone.
How would you describe yourself to someone who'd never met you?
I don't take myself too serious. I love to laugh and enjoy myself. I enjoy meeting people and hearing their story. I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for what I do. I'm hard working and motivated on whatever projects I put my mind to. I enjoy simple things.
Who do you look up to in business?
Andy Frisella – an entrepreneur and social media influencer from Missouri, USA. He and his company started from humble beginnings, but through perseverance, hard work and treating the right people way, he has amassed a business empire that enjoys sales in excess of $100 million a year. I relate to him in a lot of ways, and because I know he's done it, why can't I?
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
I have developed a strong leadership structure that ensures responsibility runs throughout the team. This makes people feel valued and that their input is important and allows a company to move forward faster. Communication, especially in a big team is paramount too.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
Simple – bigger market space. Northern Ireland is an incredible space to grow or test a service or product. The feedback loop is fast, the Northern Irish people are ruthlessly honest and we're lucky to have a relatively affluent economy. However, for large scale growth, our mini economy is limited.
What website or app could you not do without?
It's really hard to select only one, so I am going to go for three. I really can't do without my phone's notes app as when an idea comes into my head, I need to make sure I write it all down. I also couldn't live without my podcast app, especially for long drives and travelling. I also have to mention Spotify as I love music and don't go a day without listening to something.
What was the last book you read?
Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. An impressive book about the paradoxes of leadership and how it's a balancing act, much like life.
What car do you drive?
Peugeot 207. I will own a Maserati Grand Turismo one day however!
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I was born completely deaf and with over 10 surgeries I managed to get my hearing back.
What's your greatest passion outside work and family?
Serving and helping others. I love positively impacting on people's lives and this is something that is extremely dear to me. I actively include charity involvement in our business model and take great responsibility in trying to help others when I can.