Life after football doesn’t get much better than the Barry Young story.
While some players have struggled to find a path beyond the heady days of AFL football, Young forged his own, sometimes rocky, path well before he retired as a player.
He owns bedding company Jaspa Herington which is now a rare domestic manufacturing success story, exporting woollen products to countries as far flung as Russia, China and Ireland.
The eldest of six children from St Arnaud in central Victoria, Young credits his strong work ethic to his mother and father who not only worked as sales people but also ran a farm with up to 2000 sheep.
“There are a lot of memories of caring for animals and feeding sheep through drought. It’s a little ironic that I now have a business in the wool industry, but it’s a great natural and renewable fibre,” he said.
Young started his football career at Richmond in 1989 and finished with Hawthorn in 2000, but made his name at Essendon as one of Kevin Sheedy’s tough men through the mid to late 1990s.
“There are a lot of memories of feeding sheep through drought”
His work ethic and persistence has delivered great success in the business world.
While playing at Richmond in the late 1980s, Young was working at Jaspa Herington as a sales representative.
When Jaspa Herington hit difficult financial times in 1991, Young took a massive risk and bought the company.
Juggling football and his own business may have contributed to the end of his time at the Tigers, but it put him under the wing of one of the great thinkers of the game – and he and Sheedy still keep in touch.
“My favourite Kevin story involves a trip I took at the end of 1996 to San Francisco,” Young said.
“Flying a day later than the team, I arrived at the airport to see I was sitting next to ‘Sheeds’.
It made for an interesting flight. We finally got to San Francisco after way too much talking and there was a crazed fan at the airport, desperate to get Kevin’s autograph.
“Kevin turned to me and beamed: ‘See Barry, I can’t go anywhere in the world without being famous!’
“He is the most positive person I know.”
Working with The Woolmark Company, Jaspa Herington sells high-quality Australian-made quilts and underlays across the world, proving that locally grown and made product can still be successful.
Jaspa products are available in Spotlight and Big W while Herington products are found at David Jones, Harvey Norman and independent outlets.
Source: PROMOTION AFL RECORD