July Issue 2010

By | People | Profile | Published 10 years ago

“When you enjoy your work as much as I do,
it does not feel like a burden”
– Shoaib Shafi

Shoaib Shafi has business in his blood, there is no doubt about that, but he has gone where no Porsche-driving, market junkie, Crescent Group third generation protégé has gone before. Shoaib broke out of the mould to enter the glitz and glamour of the fashion world, confessing that the excitement of it all keeps him going everyday. The dashing young entrepreneur had creativity in his veins from the very start. Family members say that from a young age, Shoaib liked to paint and he has honed his talent through the years.

The Crescent (family) Group has remained united for over 60 years in a host of businesses — jute, cotton, sugar, steel pipes, insurance, modaraba and textiles, including made-ups and garments. They are known for their honesty and across-the-board respectability. Shoaib, whilst maintaining all of that, launched the family name into the fashion world. Ready-to-wear seemed like the next logical step for Crescent Bahuman since the factory makes around 30,000 pairs of jeans everyday. But the difference lies in emerging from the backstage production room and into the limelight of the paparazzi-filled world of fashion. Starting his training from the bottom of the ladder, in CBL, Shoaib has carved a niche for himself with his retail brand Stoneage. He says, “Stoneage to me is less of an idea and more of a process that developed and evolved with time. I always wanted to create something on my own, but I was not sure what it was going to be. After gaining a basic grasp of the apparel business, I started research on the retail industry. Then I put together a small team and we spent a year preparing to launch our first store in 2005.” The inadequacy of human resources in Pakistan was, and still remains, the biggest hurdle in Shoaib’s endeavour. Pakistan does not have adequate educational institutes and the retail industry is still in its infancy. Hence, the pool of competent individuals required for design, sourcing and marketing is very limited.

Despite numerous skeptics, the pressure of the business never overwhelmed the young businessman. He says, “When you enjoy your work as much as I do, it does not feel like a burden.” He spends time with family and catches up on sleep on the weekends but maintains a strict line between his work and his personal life. According to Shoaib, the key to growth is learning from your mistakes, and he made his fair share of them, but that never stopped him from taking the initiative and pursuing his passion. He says his family has been a source of inspiration and their unwavering support has been proved to be his biggest strength.

Shoaib’s future plans include his new and exclusive line of products called ‘Bloodline’ that will eventually become a separate brand with its own stores. Shoaib says his “goal is to build a portfolio of apparel retail brands on a global scale — brands that are conceived and grow in Pakistan but are capable of competing internationally.”

See more young entrepreneur profiles here.

Maheen Bashir Adamjee is an APNS award-winning journalist. She was an editorial assistant at Newsline from 2010-2011.