‘Broke’ pals become multi-millionaires selling clothes worn by top footballers

Mates have turned their lives around by launching a fashion brand now worn by Premier League stars.

Joe Johnson, 30, and Josh Riley, 28, both "came from nothing" to become multi-millionaires with Joe even buying his mum and dad a house with the profits.

The pals' luxury sportswear line, YelirWorld can be found in the massive walk-in wardrobes of Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Virgil Van Dijk.

It is not just footballers who have been pictured wearing their tracksuits, caps and hoodies, as London rapper Fredo can also be seen modelling YelirWorld's latest releases.

Joe Johnson, from Wallasey, Merseyside told the ECHO: "I still can't describe how much everything has changed and how it has all happened in the last three years."

All the unique designs at YelirWorld come from Josh and Joe, inspired by their travels across the globe.

Joe, who has lived in Paris and Barcelona as well as around the UK, said: "I have always been mad into fashion, so when I moved to Paris to be with my girlfriend, Georgia, I just networked."

He followed Georgia, 28, on to Barcelona where she was studying fashion and languages for university and said that "the Catalonians are mad into fashion too".

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Joe added: "Me and Josh are very different people, but when we get together to design we just come up with the same ideas.

"Like me, Josh has travelled and done different jobs, he was a plumber with his dad before he became a personal shopper – one of the first on Instagram.

"I went to work with him and it just felt like the right time."

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Joe said he remembers opening YelirWorld's first bank account with no money in April 2018 but this year, he and Josh will turn a profit of nearly £9m.

He said: "I always used to boast 'I'll be a millionaire at 21' and I was broke and moving from job to job – I have done every job you can think of and never stayed longer than three weeks.

Joe and Josh, originally from Bolton, had some help from Joe's girlfriend's dad Dave Witt who has experience in clothing lines, he has acted as a mentor and provided advice, which he says they are so thankful for.

He said: "We learned everything on the job. We would sometimes ask Dave if he was coming to meeting with us and he would say 'no, you have got to learn to do this for yourself'."

The efforts were worth it as orders from around the globe kept piling in, spurred on with the help of some famous footballers.

Joe said: "When we first started Trent Alexander-Arnold wasn't as big a player as he is now, but he bought from us and now loads of the Liverpool players do, Van Dijk, Curtis Jones, they all buy it.

"And the Everton players, Holgate, Godfrey…"

But it was when Wayne Rooney stepped off his plane in America to sign for DC United dressed head to toe in YelirWorld.

Joe said: "We couldn't believe it, we had players from DC United making orders, then when those players moved, orders from all over."

With some of the earnings he bought mum, Michelle, 47, and dad, Dave, 48, a house, adding: "I felt I just had to, they have always been so supportive and I haven't always been in a good position.

"They were worried when I didn't hold down jobs, so this is a way of thanking them."

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