The common stereotypes of young Asian Muslim men in Bradford is that of boy racers, street gangs or turning to drugs.
TV Programs like ‘Hometown A Killing’ and ‘Lost Boys’ continue to feed into this narrative, but one young man wants to prove that, that’s not the reality of young Pakistani men in Bradford.
Fifteen-year-old Ibrahim Ai invited Asian Sunday to his brand-new store opening, based on Thornton Road in Bradford. The teenager is ambitious and wants to prove that Bradford’s young Asian men are hard-working and have an entrepreneurial side that’s never spoken about or highlighted.
From an early age Ibrahim has seen his father, Hasan Ali work hard and build a career in retail, with his most successful retail brand The Bazaar over the last decade. Ibrahim spent many evenings and weekends watching his mother and father graft away in retail both managing other market traders and their own café and market stall. Inspired by their work ethos and success, Ibrahim decided to start his own entrepreneurial journey.
The Titus Salt student wanted to own his own retail snack shop with a difference. He began following trends on social media site Instagram and there developed his spark for establishing his own snack shop – Snacks R Us
Snacks R Us offers a wide range of snacks and confectionery that is not commonly available on the high street. Items such as a large bag of Cheetos Flamin Hot, breakfast cereals like Oreo cereal, strawberry Krispies and Reese’s puffs and a large range of soft drinks such as Chuppa Chupps, Millions, Mountain Dew along with the very popular Chocomel are available at the shop. These can be purchased on a retail or wholesale basis.
Ibrahim was lucky he didn’t have to go far for investment, as both his parents loved his business plan and agreed to not only offer him some capital, but even provided their family owned retail premises, (which used to be a fabric store run by Hasan’s mum) to base his business from. In fact, the entire family is so proud of Ibrahim’s initiative that Ibrahim’s grandma (Hasan’s mum) also offered some investment for the business.
Loaded with the perfect investment and location, Ibrahim was further supported by his friends, who volunteered and help clean the place, and stack the shelves.
The only question was, how does a teenager juggle running the business alongside his studies, especially as he will be doing his GCSE’s this year.
“I work during weekends and most evenings, all other days my aunty helps to run the business, so that it doesn’t affect my studies” said Ibrahim.
Ibrahim’s family and friends have really got behind him, to help make his vision a success.
“The response has been great so far, as everyone has come forward to offer their help and help me make Snacks R Us a huge success. Ibrahim told Asian Sunday
“Some of my dad’s friends who have their own wholesale business have come forward to help out and get me the best deals, so I can offer them to my customers.”
“Having this business will make me more responsible and hopefully give me focus in life. I think my friends are also very excited at my venture and having them supporting me means, we all have something more meaningful to work for in our spare time, rather than be hanging out with the wrong crowds.”
“I want to be an example to other young Asian boys by showing that working hard is important and not only help set a good example for young Pakistani Muslim boys, but it will also be good for my future and my family.
Ibrahim’s father, Hasan Ali said: “This was all his idea, his mum and I simply supported him with some financial backing. My mother is also very proud of Ibrahim and is supporting him in a generous way.
“I am really proud though that my son is now running his business in the same premises that my mum ran her fabric business from. As a young child I remember spending my time in this shop helping my mum and now I will be spending some time here helping my son.”
Asian Sunday wishes young Ibrahim and his new venture Snacks R Us all the best for the future.
Snacks R Us is open Mon – Friday 7am – 8pm, Saturdays 12noon – 8pm and can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.