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Republished from Outright #55 - by Aiden McLaughlin

Cutting your teeth in any new business venture is tough. Luckily Peter Younghusband has been able to call on family, friends and teammates to get a grip on things and find his feet.


Younghusband grew up in Zimbabwe where his father was a successful businessman. At one point, the family had seven or eight businesses running at the same time. The entrepreneurial gene has certainly made its way to the next generation; one of Younghusband’s brothers owns an engineering firm in Nelson and his oldest brother runs his own jewellery company. Now, PYRANHA, an ever-expanding performance sock range, is the latest family business to emerge.


“The idea just came. I was buying these socks from China and then I had a lightbulb moment. So I put my brain on it and it was a simple as that; how easy would it be to change what it looked like and could I have my own brand on it,” says Younghusband.


“I came up with the brand name PYRANHA; it’s initial based, with mine at the start and my wife’s at the end. Harriet’s maiden name is Anderson, so the name fits both our names. I came up with a logo based on the piranha fish and I put an order through to get these socks during COVID lockdown times and it was as simple as that. But the product was terrible, it was a terrible sock, so that was the hardest bit; how can I make a product that people want to buy it because it looks cool and it’s a good product,” he says.


Younghusband put a lot of research into materials and quite a few samples later he landed on some socks he was happy with and it went from there. He’s previously referred to them as ‘trampoline socks on steroids.’


“The first order came and it was one order and only two sizes, and your friends bought some and that allowed you to make a slightly bigger order the next time. One turned into three, three into five and suddenly I had five different colours and it organically grew. Three or four years down the line and it’s something that could actually generate me an income and I could slot into after cricket has finished, or even alongside it.”


As the variety of PYRANHA socks for sale has increased, Younghusband has collaborated with his Wellington teammates, many of whom now have their own socks. A quick visit to the website brings up ranges from Devon Conway, Amelia Kerr, Tom Blundell and Rachin Ravindra. Away from cricket, Silver Fern and Pulse netballer Maddy Gordon also has her own PYRANHA grip sock.


Another line that the business has developed, is licensed products. Younghusband’s wife, Harriet, is a licensing manager for NZ Rugby, which has opened up a new set of ideas for the company.


“Harriet’s expertise really came in. She’s really well connected in that space. I got in touch with managers from various organisations. We started off with Football Australia, buying the licence to produce some socks. Then New Zealand Football came knocking after they saw that product. That was amazing and got me into Rebel Sport stores for the first time, which was so exciting. The Football Australia sock is a really cool product as well, based on the jerseys that the women played in during the Football World Cup. New Zealand Cricket has flowed on from there which is a deal I’m excited about as it’s so close to home,” says Younghusband.


PYRANHA has also produced golf polo shirts recently. Younghusband’s teammates at Wellington play a lot of golf and it’s something he discussed with a few of them. He put some designs together and got some samples in from various factories, picked the one he wanted and ‘just went for it’ on an initial small order. He’s hoping it’s a market there he can keep tapping into.


Younghusband studied a degree in Commerce where he was able to learn about business, but soon discovered there are so many things that you just can’t get taught in a lecture theatre. To aid his development, he has also been able to take advantage of business mentorship opportunities through the NZCPA.


“I used it a couple of times and I chatted to someone who had knowledge in the retail space and he gave me a few really good pointers. I’ve used an accountant as well to ask some questions. Jo (Murray) has been an amazing supporter of the company and whenever I need answers, Jo’s the first person I go to. The players association just have someone you can go to every time. There’s never any questions that go unanswered which has been a great help,” he says.


Away from playing and PYRANHA, Younghusband enjoys coaching and has been involved with Scots College over the winter.


“I have one eye on it post-cricket at the moment. The fielding part is something I’ve always been passionate about and it’s got me to amazing places, fielding for the Blackcaps many times. It’s certainly an option going forward. I’ll tick all the boxes I have with playing over the next few years and see how far I can go and how long I can go,” he says.


The Younghusband’s now have a son, Luca, and with so much going on with cricket, business and work, it presents ongoing challenges.


“It’s become a lot bigger than I expected it to be. The challenge is time pressure around little Luca and cricket and home and Harriet trying to do her job and then I’m asking her to help. It’s going really well,” he says.


“It’s certainly a juggling act. You're effectively away for six days at a time [when playing cricket] and the business has got so busy that I’ve had to lean on Harriet to do some of the work when I’m away, but it’s been nice; it’s been a good break away from cricket. I’ve got something to go to and focus on and because it’s been going quite well, it’s exciting, it’s not like I’m trudging off to something I don’t want to do. I can’t wait to get home and get into whatever I’m doing.”




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