Daniel Huxtable

Daniel Huxtable of Fightwear Store UK

Blackbelt kicks on with new business

A 20-year-old university student and third dan black belt who has three world titles to his name has launched his own bespoke fightwear apparel business.

Daniel Huxtable started Fightwear Store UK early last year whilst he was studying design at The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and working as an instructor at his family’s martial arts school which has gyms in Gorseinon and Dunvant.

The business offers custom designed martial arts and boxing gear which feature Daniel’s exclusive points fighter branding. Customers can choose from a large selection of clothing, kick boots and gloves, which feature designs including Welsh flags, Japanese anime and camo prints.

But where Daniel really brings his design skills to the fore is the ‘design your gear’ section of fightwear store website, which allows customers to submit a brief or specification of what they want their kit to look like. Daniel then uses software to design mock ups for review, which are then manufactured by his suppliers.

Daniel has had mentoring and business support from the Big Ideas Wales programme, part of the Welsh Government’s Business Wales Service which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

And Daniel’s t-shirt designs are already being worn by some of the world’s top martial artists, including Krisztián Jároszkievicz, Chris Aston, Elijah Everil, Natasha Baldwin and Roland Veres.

Veres, who is widely recognised as one of the world’s best young fighters and is set to become a huge star of the future, recently approached Daniel with a request to design his own personal gloves. Daniel and Veres are currently working on a series of bespoke designs for Veres to wear in all his future fights.

“I’ve always been business focused and love to keep my mind busy at all times, so it was always an ambition of mine to run my own company and be my own boss”, says Daniel.

“Being able to combine my love of martial arts and graphic design into the formula for a successful business is a dream come true.”

Daniel has been studying karate and kickboxing since early 2004 and was awarded his Third Degree Black Belt in April 2016.

He has represented Team Wales in the WKA World Championships in Germany in 2007, Florida in 2008, Spain in 2009, Edinburgh in 2010, Italy in 2013 and 2014, Spain in 2015 and Italy again in 2016. Daniel is also the British Kickboxing Council Wales Ambassador.

His father introduced him to martial arts when he was bullied as a child. His family are stalwarts of the Welsh martial arts scene, with his father, mother and sister acting as instructors at the family’s martial arts academy, which has over 370 members.

Daniel teaches at the academy on five afternoons and evenings a week, as well as attending university and running his company. He credits his strong work ethic with his diagnosis of dyslexia at a young age, which he says has driven him to succeed.

Daniel said: “I was six or seven when I was diagnosed with severe dyslexia and as a result had to change schools so I could be in a learning environment which better suited my needs. I switched to Ffynone House School in Uplands and it changed my life. With much smaller classes and focused attention from teachers I thrived and I credit much of my success today with my time there.”

After doing his A-levels at Gower College Swansea, Daniel enrolled at University of Wales Trinity Saint David to study graphic design, where he met Kathryn Penaluna, the enterprise champion at the university, who introduced him to Big Ideas Wales and helped him pursue his entrepreneurial dreams.

Kathryn said: "We are thrilled for Daniel. He’s a fantastic example of a student applying entrepreneurial thinking to their studies to start their own business. At UWTSD we embed enterprise into all our courses. Not only does it enhance the student experience, it also increases employability when they graduate. Daniel is one of our success stories and is already acting as a role model to his fellow students. We are all excited to see his business evolve and grow.”

Daniel added: "I had heard of Big Ideas Wales on social media but Kath made me understand the scope and scale of what they do. Like Kath they have been really supportive in helping me get my brand off the ground."