‘It’s not easy to compete with Nike’, says founder of Dublin’s newest athleisure store

Thomas Beahon, co-founder of sportswear brand Castore, opened its flagship store on Grafton Street this week as part of its global expansion

The 1,690 square foot store was officially opened by Castore’s co-founder Thomas Beahon

Sportswear brand Castore opened its flagship store on Grafton Street in Dublin this week, which offers premium sports and athleisure products across the store’s two floors.

The 1,690 square foot store is the first of the new concept to be rolled out by Castore, which plans to unveil an additional 24 stores globally.

Officially opened by Castore’s co-founder Thomas Beahon, the concept store features products from the brand’s Light collection of technical activewear and its spring-summer collaboration with Reiss that launched in January.

Also available is teamwear from the brand’s sponsorship of kits for Leinster Rugby, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI), McLaren Formula 1 and Oracle Red Bull Racing.

“Ireland felt like a really natural market for us to launch in – the retail scene is really strong and dynamic, and given our partnerships with Leinster Rugby and the FAI it felt right,” Beahon said at the press launch of the store.

The British sportswear brand was founded in 2016 by Thomas and his brother Phil as a digitally-native brand, but retail has always been in the pipeline: “I’m a big believer in retail – people can experience the brand in an immersive way that they can’t do digitally. AI might be a threat to the industry, but I really believe in the power of retail,” Beahon said.

“Castore has to be a step ahead by creating quality-driven products, focusing on premium craftship and being obsessive over details,” co-founder Beahon said
Castore’s latest concept store on Grafton Street

The brand’s quick rise to prominence can be mostly attributed to their sponsorship of sports teams’ kits, with football teams like Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers all sporting the brand’s layered bird wings logo on their gear over the years.

There are currently 15 teams across five sports listed in the sponsorship section Castore’s website. Its first partnership was with tennis legend Andy Murray in 2019, who has since become a shareholder and board advisor.

Since launching, Castore has expanded into a business of more than 500 employees valued in 2022 at £750million (€877 million), with customers worldwide, the Athletic reported last year.

Castore’s focus is on “premium performance products made to last” which utilises advanced engineering and technical fabrications to offer features like flat lock stitching for ventilation, mesh panelling and ergonomic seams.

This is the brand’s unique selling point, according to Beahon, when competing in a market of the world’s biggest sportswear retailers.

“It’s not an easy thing to create a sportswear brand that competes with Nike. Most people will see that as a threat, so we have to be able to zig where they zag.

“I use the analogy of being a speedboat in a market of oil tankers. Castore has to be a step ahead by creating quality-driven products, focusing on premium craftship and being obsessive over details,” Beahon added.

“It’s a David versus Goliath situation, but we could never have imagined this scale of success eight years in, so I’m not worried about the future.”