Shami Ahmed (1962)

Many successful entrepreneurs have been migrants into the communities in which they have achieved success, and this continues to be a feature of 21st century European life. Shami Ahmed is an outstanding example. He was born in Pakistan and moved to Burnley, the north Lancashire town once celebrated for its cotton-weaving mills, when he was two years old. In 1966 his father began to sell clothing from a market stall, and soon afterwards opened a shop, where Shami worked even before he left school. He formally joined the business at the age of 16, and soon realised that his primary interest was in wholesaling. He encouraged his father to establish the Pennywide Cash and Carry on Bury New Road in Manchester in 1980. He observed that denim was very fashionable, and in 1985 formed the Joe Bloggs Clothing Company which sold quality jeans at reasonable prices. 

Joe Bloggs became the first British company to hold a place amongst the country’s top ten jeans brands. The 1980s was the decade when Manchester’s dance culture was dynamic, and the Joe Bloggs brand was central to it. The business has grown under the name Juice Corporation to encompass high street fashion, casual wear and accessories, as well as the core Joe Bloggs brand, and has show rooms all over Europe. 

Shami Ahmed is amongst the outstanding figures in the history of Manchester celebrated in that city’s Museum of Science and Industry.