Pastor brothers
UK-born entrepreneur duo, the ‘Pastor brothers’, ended their schooling at age 16 after realising that a conventional educational structure or career path did not suit their entrepreneurial ambitions. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Known commonly among friends and family as the ‘Pastor brothers’, UAE-based British siblings Levi Pastor, 21, and Solomon Pastor, 28, often get randomly quizzed on how they turned out to be millionaire businessmen after starting not one, but two businesses – all while still young.

But like other successful entrepreneurs, they too share a tale of humble beginnings. The UK-born entrepreneur duo ended their schooling at age 16 after realising that a conventional educational structure or career path did not suit their entrepreneurial ambitions.

"My parents, who have been in the fashion industry for over 30 years, owning a personalised, tailored fashion logistics company for some of London's most prominent fashion magazines and PRs, taught my brother and me how to make it yourself and appreciate your earnings,” said Levi.

“We both were involved in our parents' business, which took care of logistics for press photoshoots and invitations for events such as London Fashion Week. This helped us get the ins and outs of an affluent-centric business, and in turn became the driving force behind our businesses.”

Turning $300 to $25 million in 8 years

Solomon was the first of the two to leave school after playing professional football until he was 21 years old. When the business of selling high-end sneakers picked up, and once his younger brother Levi joined him in the business later, they expanded their business from selling just sneakers.

When asked about the beginings of his business, Solomon went on to recall spending $300 (Dh1,100) to buy his first two pairs. Later, he resold those to invest in more exclusive sneakers and fashion drops. He also resold those products to fund the launch of a e-commerce portal.

Now, eight years on, the business has gained a net revenue of around $25 million (Dh91.8 million) after they widened their collection to include high-end art, home accessories, timepieces and jewellery, premium beverages, private jets, yachts, aside from their usual trendy sneakers and apparel.

Levi says, "We hope to one day expand and dive into hospitality, solely targeting concierges or luxury hotel and hotel residents to offer our services to their clients and eventually expand into luxury real estate as well.

Moving business base from London to Dubai

"We currently have around 125 high net-worth clients which includes celebrities. In the first year of business, we also started working closely with a small number of artists in the music industry. We styled several music artists, assisted artists with their wardrobes on tour.

"Now, our celebrity clients would ask us for styling advice for their outfits, spot the outfits we were wearing, and ask us to order the same pieces we would wear." Levi added that collaborating with online luxury platforms allowed him to be one of their top-grossing suppliers out of 1,250 partners.

In 2021, the brothers partnered with online luxury retailer Farfetch to become an official supplier, which is when they got a chance to move their London-based business to Dubai in February of 2022, with the e-portal getting the young entrepreneurs to service their private clients within the region.

"After working in an industry where the products we sell to clients are also investment pieces in which we invest ourselves, we have invested in several properties in Dubai, several luxury watches by Audemars Piguet, and some art pieces we cannot name," said Levi.

Key expenses incurred by the entrepreneur duo
Levi says, "The expenses needed to launch the website were around $12,000 [Dh44,075], and since then, the company has used profits from orders to keep reinvesting in the company without any reliance on loans.

"The company was founded in London, and at the beginning of 2022, we opened our Dubai base, where we have an office. Our investment in Dubai was mostly spent acquiring a trade license and Emirates IDs for founders Solomon and Levi. This expense was around Dh47,747 [$13,000].

"All other expenses were expenses such as rent, which cost Dh102,841 [$28,000] a year. More recently, we are in the process of opening an office or private showroom for clients, which will cost around Dh587,664 [$160,000] in rent and renovation."

Two money rules the brothers use to build their business

Rule #1: Replenishing a savings stash helps keep the business running when short of cash

Levi admitted that there have been times of cash crunch when running the business, but he said that because they had a savings stash to fall back on, they were able to keep their business running, especially to manage routine expenses.

“There have been hard moments when we used funds saved to reinvest into the company to pay employees, suppliers or marketing expenses. We prioritise putting savings back into the company for things such as marketing, content creation, and updating the e-commerce store," said Levi.

Rule #2: Constantly reinvest earnings into a separate business or investment to grow profits

"As businesses are versatile, having a secondary income stream is wise. We reinvest in assets that give us residual income, such as a restaurant business, property, timepieces, art, and vehicles."

While the founders constantly find themselves avid consumers of luxury goods, and both of them run the business and appreciate luxury goods as consumers with a personal connection to the luxury products they market, they say it is always essential to work cost efficiently in business.