BSSC Year 12 student, James Campbell, is a young creative who already has three-year’s experience in the growing industry of limited edition, customised shoes and clothing—and he’s about to expand big time.

At 7pm on Saturday 12 November he will launch the JC Soles Custom Footwear website.

“Alongside about 100 shoe designs people can choose from, I have 20 limited-edition hoodies on offer and a plan to expand into other clothing,” James says.

What began as a hobby is looking like a career.

However, this expansion was triggered by some pretty bad luck: James suffered a burst appendix in July and spent almost three months recovering.

“I was stuck in bed at first and couldn’t do any of the painting or hands-on aspects of the business,” James recalls.

“The idea to set up a website and broaden the business felt like it came out of nowhere and I thought, ‘I can do this’.”

James realized he needed to offer more than shoes and saw the possibility of producing high-quality limited-edition clothing.

“I also decided to act on all the enquiries I’d had about accessing materials for people who want to have a go themselves,” he says. “So I’ve developed DIY kits.”

A vinyl cutter James has been using to make stencils for shoes was put to use, along with a heat press, to create novel clothing designs.

James’ biggest challenge setting up the website was not just time off school—he also had to dip into his savings to back up his dreams –and is first foray into the world of websites showed him there was plenty to learn.

“Looking back I can see how much more professional the business is now compared to my first year,” he says. “There have been so many people who’ve supported and guided me.”

Poised to leap into a new phase, James is planning to keep ahead of trends and one day have a bricks and mortar business that also runs custom sneaker classes for those wanting to learn the skill.