For Haitham Shamsan, his business encompasses all he is passionate about - design, culture and responsibility.
These have formed the essence of his new fashion brand, Double Crossed – a Cardiff-based company with big ambitions.
Double Crossed has been supported through the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP). The AGP provides targeted support for ambitious growing firms. The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
Here Haitham Shamsan gives some insight into his journey so far and the motivations driving him to business success.
Tell us about Double Crossed?
I guess it makes sense to talk a bit about myself first. My background as a graphic designer has informed the evolution of the business.
As a graphic designer, I've used my skills and expertise to build a clothing brand that aims to take Eastern culture's history and legacy and fuse it with modern, western fashion.
We're based in Cardiff, and we want to be truly global, manufacturing the products in Portugal and assembling them here before exporting them globally.
As a designer, I know the importance of brand identity, so I searched for clothing that represented important values to me, such as sustainability and respect for culture. Unfortunately, I found very few options out there; many brands tend to lean on the image of urban and eastern culture but don't represent or give back to those communities. I wanted to change that.
I launched Double Crossed to create modern clothing that embodies a sense of heritage that would also give back to communities. And we are going to do this through profit-sharing NFTs, charitable donations and campaigning and supporting positive action initiatives. You can check us out on Instagram @designerhks and follow all the latest developments!
What are your proudest moments in business so far?
We're in our early days as a business, but a recent photo shoot for the brand saw us working with 16 influencers and five photographers. It brought the vision I have for Double Crossed to life. Seeing the progression of the business is something I am incredibly proud of.
What challenges have you faced in business?
The business faced several barriers, with COVID causing delays in supply chains. Fortunately, through careful planning and preparedness, I overcame setbacks and have plans to grow the business.
If you were starting again, what would you do differently?
We're still early in the Double Crossed journey, but I think the planning that went into the business meant I've been as prepared as possible. So in that sense, I don't think I could or should have done anything differently. It's all about enjoying the journey!
How has support from Business Wales AGP helped your business?
We've been really well supported by Business Wales AGP – particularly with access to financial advice and planning. We'll be receiving PR support as we look to promote the collaboration of cultures through our modern fashion brand. This support has been so important as we are a young business. As an entrepreneur just beginning my journey of leading a company, I've been keen to access all the expertise I can find! The Accelerated Growth Programme has been integral to connecting me with experts and helping me find my way.
What advice and guidance would you give other businesses starting out?
- First, focus on your branding – your image is always working, and your branding will be your identity to the world.
- Make the audience the core of that branding – your audience is the foundation of your business.
Learn more about Double Crossed.
Further information on the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme.
The Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme is a pan-Wales programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.