I had the opportunity to interview celebrity coat brand designer Zohaib Shah to share his incredible story.
Zohaib’s family moved from Pakistan to Jersey City, New Jersey when he was 13 years old, and he didn’t know any English. The area they moved from in Pakistan was poverty driven so moving to the city was “interesting and still not one of the greatest places” he called it. Therefore, the family faced some hardships in the adjustment.
Eventually he got into some things he shouldn’t have, but eventually he pulled himself together to complete school where he studied accounting. Then he got a job in accounting. This wasn’t enough for him though and felt he had more purpose in life so he decided it was time to do his own thing. This is when he began to think about fashion and wanted to do something with fashion and his company DaRucci Leather was born.
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“My father always pushed me to do something where I don’t have to work for anybody” Zohaib told me.
Zohaib started getting into a coat brand and needed suppliers. He had no idea how to go about it and needed directions, but did not come to play games and was determined to figure it out.
Although he didn’t have a lot of money at the time, he began his own manufacturing out of Pakistan. After much trial and error, samples, etc., he began wholesaling to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, as well as New York.
Starting out, one client complained about the quality of the jacket. Now, Zohaib knew “my product is dope, I just needed to figure it out myself and upsell” he said.
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It was time to go bigger, and there were stores for rent. The money he had made up to this point and $35,000 from a friend helped him purchase a small factory and begin a retail store.
The thing is, he didn’t know anyone in the industry at that time and had to again figure it out. He would take moments alone to sit in the store and imagine the celebrities he wanted to come through and wear his coats. It was only the beginning.
Today, his store is at 1800sq ft and he has one of the high end brands. Celebrities like French Montana wear his brand.
I asked him what it is to be a business owner and he replied, “if it was that easy, everyone would be a business owner”. He continued to say that is the difference between people who will be a business owner or stuck just working 9 to 5 he continues to say.
Zohaib’s biggest inspiration has been his father who unfortunately passed in 2020. Every time he needed something, advice or direction, he would always go to his father, and his father never wanted anything in return. Zohaib’s father sacrificed a lot because “he saw something in his son that Zohaib didn’t see yet”.
He only wishes his father could see all the current success with fashion shows etc.
In 2003 the song “Get Rich or Die Trying” by 50 Cent helped him with his English and is someone he looked up to. So in 2017 he designed a jacket for him and he gave it to him. Not only is the famous music artist wearing a design by Zohaib but 50 Cent is now “a very important part of his life personally, a good friend”.
2020 was the first fashion show for DaRucci with Omari Hardwick, it was a big deal but in the same week he lost his father.
The company plans to go back and “do another bang” and another fashion show in Feb 2023.
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