Dad who was redundant then set up clothing brand and made Leeds United deal looks to help homeless people
and live on Freeview channel 276
Sohail Rashid launched his Aime Dieu last year and his hoodie designs can already be found in Leeds United club shops.
A number of celebrities from footballers to Love Island stars have been snapped in his gear, and he’s looking to get involved with other clubs in the Premier League and Spain’s La Liga.
Sohail, who works in education at City and Guilds in Wakefield, said: “I’d worked at HSBC since I graduated then I got made redundant out of the blue. I had no plan B.
"After the heartbreak of working so hard and being let go I wanted to do something where I am the boss and I call the shots.
"The next few months during Covid I sat at home. I watched ten seasons of Shark Tank, the American Dragon’s Den.
"I thought ‘what can I do online, to keep the overheads down – I’ll try clothing, I like hoodies’.”
The designs are all homemade and Sohail, from Liversedge, tried factories around the world to bring them to life before he was happy with the product.
Celebrities who have worn Aime Dieu items include Barcelona and former Leeds United winger Raphinha, Manchester United and Marseille defender Eric Bailly, Brazil and Real Madrid legend Roberto Carlos, Too Hot To Handle's Chloe Veitch, Love Island stars and Hollywood actor Sean Faris.
Sohail, 45, said he emailed Leeds former chairman Andrea Radrizzani every day for a year to make the arrangement.
At first he didn’t hear back but he didn’t hear a ‘no’ either.
So he stuck at it and eventually got his meeting, he said.
He’s hoping to repeat the success at clubs including Arsenal and Atletico Madrid.
As part of a new project the firm will donate pairs of socks to homeless charities in West Yorkshire for every item sold.
The brand has already worked with Centrepoint, a charity that aims to tackle youth homelessness.
He said: “I’d like people to think ‘I’ll buy a hoodie from here, the quality is good but also some of that is going back to help people in our local communities’.
"I want to make a difference and I want to make sure if I’m successful I give something back.”
He said supporting charities would continue to be a key part of his business plan.
Sohail runs the growing business from his home in Liversedge, where he has converted his conservatory into a stockroom.
He said: "It’s important to never give up. When I started out and was made redundant I was in a bad place. I thought ‘what does the future hold, I’m too old to do something new’.
"If you are in a dark place – the country isn’t in a good place, people can’t afford to put food on the table – then find something you can do as a side hustle.
"The motivation should be about how much you want it. You’ve got to be dedicated and graft.”