The following piece was contributed as part of Business News Daily's byline series:
I'm a 25-year-old entrepreneur and I run an international sustainable fashion brand, Tom Cridland, with customers on six continents. We're best known for The 30 Year Sweatshirt, which we guarantee to last for at least 30 years.
I've grown my business using a £6,000 ($7,915) government loan into a leading sustainable fashion brand over the last two years. What many people don't know, however, is that it was Elton John's drummer, Nigel Olsson, inspired me to persevere with Tom Cridland when times were really hard.
A rough start and a leap of faith
I was almost hopeless and had run out of money trying to start up the Tom Cridland brand two years ago. I sent an offer of a complimentary pair of our trousers via a publicist to Nigel Olsson, who has been Elton's drummer since 1969 and was one of my favorite musicians.
Much to my surprise, I had an email from Nigel himself the next day, saying he loved the look of my designs. Since then, he has ordered every pair of Tom Cridland trousers and commissioned custom jackets and sweatshirts, as well as become a friend.
Nigel gave me the faith I needed to keep trying to establish Tom Cridland in the fashion industry. We have since campaigned for sustainable fashion with The 30 Year Collection, been included in the Sustainia100, been a finalist in Fortune Magazine's Cool Companies Competition and gone on to make clothing for the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Stiller, and Rod Stewart among other notables.
Nigel, however, remains our favorite ever customer and a true friend. I will never forget how close to giving up I was before I received that first email from him. He and his wife, Schanda, have been so supportive to my girlfriend and business partner, Debs, and me.
If you ever find yourself at an Elton John concert and notice how amazing the drums sound and how happy the man playing them looks, you can also rest assured that he is also a bona fide gentleman too.
About the author: Tom has been designing clothing since the age of 18. At 23, he founded Tom Cridland, specializing solely in creating the perfect pair of trousers. He quickly built a vertical luxury menswear brand that specializes in what CNBC described as "quality over quantity retail." Follow Tom Cridland on Facebook and on Twitter.
Edited for length and clarity by Shannon Gausepohl. Have a great entrepreneurial story to tell? Contact Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our contributed content program.