Shaaiq Choudhry has made the transition after leaving Worcestershire at the end of last season from being a professional cricketer into a successful business career by launching a new fashion brand.
The former slow left-armer set up Brothers Circle with his business partner Naveed Ahmed and the Rotherham-based company has gone from strength to strength since it was launched in early October.
The profile of Brothers Circle has been boosted by stars of television programmes such as Geordie Shore, Ex On The Beach and Love Island wearing their range of snapbacks and beanies.
Choudhry’s former Worcestershire team mates Moeen Ali, Joe Clarke, New Zealand internationals Mitchell McClenaghan and Colin Munro as well as England and Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid and Nottinghamshire’s Harry Gurney are all helping to promote the Brothers Circle band.
“It’s something that I talked about doing in the summer. I stopped playing, Naveed approached me to try and get something set up and it was too good an opportunity to turn down so I jumped at it,” Choudhry said.
“We have both set it up and got it running and it’s taken off really well. It’s only been running for two months but we have had a very good response so far.
“A number of reality television stars and sports people are wearing our gear. We’ve had guys from Geordie Shore, Ex On The Beach and Love Island who have taken a liking to our stuff.
“That has helped us a lot. They have posted on their social media platforms as well so that has brought in a bigger audience for us. Some of these guys have got 100,000 followers and so that has raised our profile.
“We have had a few cricket lads Moeen, Ajmal and Harry Gurney and Mitchell McClenaghan and Colin Munro. Colin is going to be one of our sponsored players he’s got our sticker on his bats. That will be good for us especially if he gets an IPL gig.”
Choudhry, who already has a degree in ICT, is currently studying for a degree in graphic design with the Interactive Design Institute and has used those skills to help establish Brothers Circle.
“It’s a partnership predominantly. I have done all the design and the website but I have done a lot of it simply because I have been out of work,” Choudhry said.
“My business partner has a day job. We have both put in a steady amount of work to get it up and running. It took four or five months to plan it all and get it all going.
“Once it’s going that’s when the marketing takes over which is what I am now focused on.
“I have been fortunate that my business partner has invested as well. But the costs of setting up and getting it started was quite costly.
“We were learning as we were going on. You make a few mistakes here and there but generally I think we have kept our costs to a minimum.”
As well as helping to set up Brothers Circle, Choudhry has also secured a job as a software test analyst based in Leeds, a post he will take up in the New Year.
Throughout the process of setting up Brothers Circle and applying for day jobs, Choudhry has been able to call on the support and advice of Lynsey Williams, one of the PCA’s team of Personal Development and Welfare Managers, which has helped to smooth his transition from professional cricket.
“I wouldn’t be where I am now without the help Lysney has given me. She has always given me a nudge to give it that bit extra,” Choudhry said.
“She has always backed my ideas. I have had some crazy ideas along the way and there has been some confusion about where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do, but Lynsey has always provided that support I have needed.
“The thought of not playing cricket and not having a regular income and having to find a different career is quite daunting. It’s not something that’s easy to do.
“But Lynsey provided all the support that I needed and has got me to where I am now.”
Further information about Brothers Circle can be found at: www.brotherscircle.co.uk