Tom Davies became a sole trader after collecting a triple Distinction* in BTEC Business following two years at Priestley College.
Shoe Shine Boy Restoration already has a two-month waiting list and Tom is repairing two pairs of sneakers every week.
“People are sending trainers to me from the top end of Scotland to the far end of Cornwall,” said Tom, who is 19.
“They are in various states including one that had been chewed by a dog, but the challenge for me is to never turn down a pair of trainers that need restoring.”
Some sneakers have sentimental value to their owners while others are just too expensive to part with.
That’s where Tom steps in. People pack off their favourite pair to him so that he can treat their faded colours and damaged souls.
He mixes his own dyes to match the trainers that arrive and has picked up restoration techniques from various sources including YouTube.
“I watched videos on how you restore old leather sofas and just applied it to trainers,” said Tom, who is from Grappenhall.
Tom’s passion for trainers began at football matches when he saw other fans wearing bespoke fashions that were too expensive for him.
He decided to find a job and during his time at Priestley College held down a milk round, part-time work at an accountancy firm and worked as a tyre fitter so that he could afford to buy what he wanted.
Now he has a collection of 30 sets of trainers including a pair it took six months to track down – he eventually found them in Japan.
“I like a pair of trainers with a good story behind them,” said Tom, whose style also has musical influences including Noel Gallagher.
Tom has been nominated for Priestley College’s Student of the Year, the winner of which will be announced at an awards evening in September.
That same month he starts studying International Business Management with American Business Studies at the University of Manchester.
His dream is to set up a workshop in Manchester and have people drop in when their trainers need treatment.
“One of the reasons I wanted to do this was so that I could pay my way through university, but I hope that maybe one day I will be able to set up a franchise,” said Tom.
For shoe repairs email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Instagram @shoeshineboyrestoration