Sheffield teenager launches a very high end yarn firm - selling scarves for £6,000.

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It’s finer than cashmere, 60 times more expensive and comes in one colour - brown.

Sheffield teenager Jack Crofts has set up a company to sell ‘the world’s most exclusive yarn’ - a scarf costs a staggering £6,000.

Jack Crofts with raw Vicuna wool, a ball of yarn and a knitted sample - worth �500.

Jack Crofts with raw Vicuna wool, a ball of yarn and a knitted sample - worth �500.

The enterprising 17-year-old is believed to be the first in the UK to import Vicuna wool, from a South American animal related to the alpaca, which was highly-prized by Inca royalty.

It is the thinnest natural fibre in the world, too delicate to dye and the eye-watering cost means only the very wealthy need apply, says Jack, a budding tycoon who still lives with his parents in Stocksbridge.

Now, he has set up Vicuna Royale to sell scarves - in brown - on a word-of-mouth basis, to maintain that all-important exclusivity.

It sounds unusual, but this is no schoolboy dream.

A mum and baby vicuna, source of the world's finest natural fibre.

A mum and baby vicuna, source of the world's finest natural fibre.

Jack, who attends the Peter Jones Academy in Sheffield, won £3,000 in a national competition, the Edge Challenge judged by Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis, with his business plan.

He spent the money on sourcing a supplier in Italy, a manufacturer in Leicester and aims to start producing scarves next month.

The academy - part of The Sheffield College - has helped set up a meeting with a wealthy developer in London who could be his first customer.

He said: “It’s very exciting, I live and breathe the business now. I go through stages when I get used to it, then something big will happen and I get excited all over again.

Jack Crofts with a Vicuna wool sample - worth �500.

Jack Crofts with a Vicuna wool sample - worth �500.

“You don’t see many brown scarves around, with the right branding and its intriguing story I think it will be instantly recognisable and a must-have for those with the money.

“I’m 17 going on 30, I know. But I’ve always had this passion for business.”

Jack got the idea after watching a BBC documentary on the Tropic of Capricorn which mentioned the Vicuna. At the time he was on the look out for a project after applying to the Peter Jones Academy, which requires students to start a business.

Research appeared to show there were no UK importers after trade restrictions - imposed to save the animal from extinction - were lifted in 2008.

In Peru, the high-altitude camelid runs wild because it is too agile to fence in. It is rounded up and shorn every two years, he says.

Jack added: “They used to think it was easier to shoot than to shear and numbers crashed to 5,000 in 1960. An international trade ban was imposed in early 1976. Today there are about 180,000 and they are farmed under licence by Peruvian communities.

“I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of it. I just thought, ‘there’s a lot of money to be made here’.

“It’s a new market in the UK. But all my advertising and promotion is backwards, I don’t want it in shops at all.”

Jack’s business nous showed through early in life. He was in a four-strong Stocksbridge High School team which won the BiG Challenge - a Sheffield business competition for children - in 2012 with Scrabtagz, novelty items in the shape of Scrabble tiles.

The prize, sponsored by law firm DLA Piper, was an all-expenses trip to Dubai, flying business class.

Last year he got the best GCSE grades in his school - eight A* and two A’s - and was considering ‘A’ levels and possibly Oxsbridge.

But the lure of real business was too strong.

He added: “I was weighing my options for a few months, but after I visited the academy I knew it was what I wanted to do. Now, all my course work is on the business, there’s no way I could have done ‘A’ evels at the same time.”

But being 17 is not a great age - he’s too young to borrow money or apply for business grants.

“It’d be useful if my birthday was next week but it’s not until November. I can see a reason for the age limit, but it really annoys me.”