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October 13, 2020 5 min read


There I was sitting in the doctor’s office

After a series of surgeries, months in bed and years of problems, I finally got a diagnosis…

The diagnosis was sh!t but it was far better than not knowing what was going on with my body.




Throwback to the credit crunch of 2008…

A final year student of architecture that needed a year in practice, which meant getting a job!

Impossible, right?


I was up against 500+ other students just like me (as well as fully qualified and experienced architects) all going for the same jobs.

So, it was back to the drawing board (literally) as I had to rely on the skills I did have and apply them elsewhere.

I was able to use my design skills to do branding and graphic design freelance work and quickly developed a niche within the sports supplements industry.


And then the problems started…

An abscess (in a very uncomfortable position!) appeared.

I got it looked at by a surgeon and my surgery was scheduled in – but it was going to be a complicated procedure.

With that in mind, and not knowing how it was going to affect my ability to work, I knew I needed to look at other routes to make sure enough money was coming in.

So, with the money I had saved for my tax bill, I decided to invest in some clothing…

200 garments in total, which included 2 t-shirts, 1 vest and 1 hoodie.

I designed labels and stitched them onto every single garment (with a little help from my mum – what are mums for, right?!

And so, Samson was born!


Then came the surgery…

With the first surgery, I had drains put in to enable further surgeries (yep, there were more to come)

But that didn’t stop me from launching Samson online… the day after that very first surgery!

In the early days, we were lucky if we sold 3 items a week!

Add to that… with the drains in, I couldn't sit down and couldn't walk very well and essentially spent 6 months in bed.

Eventually, I had the second round of surgery.

They cut the wounds open to heal and, as they couldn’t sew me up, I had a nurse come round every day to pack the wounds with dressing to encourage them to heal from the inside out.

Still, Samson went on…

In fact, 1 week later, YouTuber and strongman Elliott Hulse shared some items I sent him on his channel, and we got over 50 orders over night!

My fiancée packed the orders, but I snook out to take them to the post office while she was at work.

I let the excitement get the better of me but ended up collapsing and had to get a taxi the 1000m home!

My wounds healed and my surgeon said it was unlikely to happen again, as I:

“didn’t have Crohn's Disease, didn’t smoke and was a big strong young man” … (his very words)!

I was finally able to train again and put myself through a bit of transformation to drop all the fat I had put on from over 7 months in bed.

But 2 years later, I still hadn’t stopped bleeding from the last surgery.

Like an idiot, I hadn’t told anyone and eventually mentioned it in passing to my GP, whilst complaining that I really struggled with my mood and getting out of bed on a morning.

I was prescribed with anti-depressants for depression and sent for a colonoscopy.

So, there I was sitting in the doctor’s office

After a series of surgeries, months in bed and years of problems, I finally got a diagnosis…


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It was Crohn’s disease.

The diagnosis was sh!t but it was far better than not knowing what was going on with my body.

It was a relief to finally get an explanation for all the things that had caused me issues since I was a kid, although it was equally frightening, as Google is not your friend in these situations!

But life went on… and 1 month later, my son was born.

After about 2 years of trial and error with drugs, we found one that really helped.

It’s an immunosuppressant, which I have to be hooked up to in hospital every 8 weeks.

It also makes me very susceptible to infections and there are cancer risks with it, but the side effects are far better than not getting treated.


Samson Overcame Adversity

Now, small pieces of our work are spreading around the world, which is amazing and I am super grateful every time we get an order placed.

In all honesty, if I didn’t have Samson, I probably would have been signed off on permanent sick leave years ago!

(And I think if I had got into architecture, I would have been fired by now due to the amount of toilet visits I have needed!)

But Samson has had its challenges along the way too…

We have had a big-name company try and shut us down, claiming we were in breach of trademark.

We have had people rip off our products, from all around the world.

Just like Samson – who used his strength and power to overcome adversity even when the odds were stacked against him – we did too, and we are still here.

From a kitchen table in a studio flat…

To 1 room in a house…

To 3 rooms in a house…

To a 1400sqft unit!

And now we are looking to move again!


My Story isn’t Unique

Most people don't have it easy, but we don't hear from those people.

We see the winners, we see the staged social media posts, we see the f**king highlight reel.

But this isn’t real life!

Samson isn't about Instagram likes, or f**king skinny tea.

We aren't about fast cars or claiming you don't use steroids when you do.

Samson isn't about fake plates, teeth whitening kits or arse implants.

We are not the elite, we are not fast fashion.

Samson is about real strength, real people and real development.

Our products reflect this ethos - they are straight talking, hard wearing, training staples.

They aren't products made in china, shipped en-masse and sat waiting to be picked by a robot.

We design, print, photograph, pack and ship all of our gymwear ourselves, by hand from our warehouse in central Bradford.

And our goal is to promote the values of Stoicism and promote the people that utilise strength training in any of its forms, to overcome life's true challenges.

If you’ve read this far (thank you!), then perhaps this story resonates with you?

Perhaps you have your own story of overcoming adversity – if so, we would really love to hear from you.

Stay strong.


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2 Responses

Luke Deacon
Luke Deacon

April 29, 2021

I thought your brand was great before. Now I love it knowing the story.

Humility, gratefulness and stoicism. Something I want to wear every day.


October 30, 2020

Keep going mate, you’re an amazing Example of grit and determination 🦾

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