A POSTGRADUATE student from the University of Salford, who started his own business designing and selling headwear around the world has just signed a deal with the NHS.
Ali Nowroozi, who completed a Master’s degree in Business Management at the University of Salford, went on to founded Avakino limited – Masumi Headwear.
The Manchester-based headwear manufacturer, has created its own range called Masumi Headwear “www.masumiheadwear.com” which is specifically designed for people living with hair loss.
People who suffer hair loss as a result of medical conditions such as alopecia or through chemotherapy have to deal with the emotional effect of losing their hair, which can have a big impact on their lives and add to the trauma of illness. Therefore the NHS often prescribes wigs or headwear to help people cope with the side effects of treatment.
Avakino only started trading towards the end of last year but is going from strength to strength, providing headwear for all occasions. Ali has just secured a host of contracts to supply exclusive products from his range, including the likes of Maggie’s Centre at the Christie Hospital, York Cancer Care Centre, Huddersfield and Pinderfields Hospital.
The company also distributes to countries such as Denmark, Spain, France and the USA and others, and recently have been shortlisted for £20000 prize as a finalist at Venturefest Manchester Innovation Showcase Manchester.
All products are made from natural fibres to provide headwear that is light and cool.
Ali, who has worked in the wig industry for a number of years before setting up his company said: “While working the industry I realised just how vulnerable some of these patients are and I just wanted to do something to help them. A lot of the products on offer were just not attractive or were too itchy. I wanted to create something much better.
“Being an entrepreneur and running your own business is very challenging but I got a lot of support from Salford after I left and they provide lots of opportunities for networking and meeting like minded business people. It gives your business a real boost having that level of support, both from the university and the Growth Hub.”
“As a new entrepreneur, I could never imagine we would be where we are in such a short period of time,” reflects Ali. “I strongly believe the business has only managed to achieve so much because of the great support behind us.
As a proud graduate of Salford University, Ali is often very keen to support its academic community. He now delivers talks to postgraduate students at Salford University Business School.
And due to Avakino’s fast growth, Ali has taken on two interns from Salford University’s Graduate Programme, in collaboration with Santander, and is now planning to move into dedicated business premises as he continues to expand the business.
“It means a lot to me to be able to create opportunities wherever I can,” explains Ali.
“Having graduated from Salford University’s Business School, it’s great to now be able to go back and create opportunities for the bright minds of the future – it’s truly an incredible privilege and something I’m very proud of.”
Nurse Michelle-Anna Moffatt, 35, from Dumbarton suffers from alopecia. She has started a blog, diary of a bald Barbie aimed at helping others cope with the condition. She said: “About two years ago I was getting ready for work and having a shower when big clump of my hair fell out and over the next few days more and more fell out. It was devastating, it really impacts your confidence. I discovered the amazing products that Ali produces and loved them straight away. Wearing them really gives me a confidence boost.”