This September, BPF caught up with candid and brilliantly funny, Asif Majid, CEO and founder of award-winning design and build practice YU Spaces & Partners. He gave us an insight into how the company began and what it is like to advice, design and build for high net worth clients from the world of Sports, Entertainment and Media amongst others. He also talked about his early life in Sports Management working on branding and marketing iconic sports brands such as Ferrari, Spanish Football League, Premiership and many well-known sports personalities.
We would also like to congratulate Asif Majid on winning the “London Asian Businessman of the Year Award” at the Hurlingham Club this month!
What made you get into the field of design and build?
Prior to setting up YU Spaces & Partners, I worked in Sports Management for over 18 years primarily working within the Football and F1 sector. I was looking for a career change after years of travelling and working abroad. Having spent many years living and working in Europe primarily in Spain and Italy, I became fascinated by interiors and architecture. I had some idea of construction as many of my summers were spent working on building sites. I began by convincing an architect to let me do a loft conversion and the rest they say is history.
What advice would you have for young British Pakistanis wishing to follow the same career path as yourself?
Construction is a tough business as I have found out to my cost. It is not a job for the faint-hearted or if you don’t have thick skin. It’s a real pressure industry where any error can involve thousands of pounds. I would suggest start by doing several smaller projects and gradually build up. Also look at eventually doing your own designs and offering a full turnkey service. The more control you have over a project the less chance of errors occurring.
Having worked with some of the leading brands in the world such as Ferrari, what has been the highlight for you when working with such prestigious brands?
This is what I tell young British Pakistanis that anything is possible if you want it badly enough. If you set your goals high and aim to work with prestigious brands especially in global brand development, it opens so many doors for you. When I started out in the early 90’s, I was one of the few Asians in the Sports Industry which at times was tough but through my hard work, I gained the respect of my peers. Nothing will be given to you on a platter and you have to be prepared to make sacrifices. I worked within the Sports Marketing industry, as well as, with Ferrari, La Liga in Spain, several clubs in the Premier League, Serie A and several F1 teams and drivers on merchandising, intellectual property and image rights.
Have you always had a passion for design?
Funnily enough, working in the sports industry was my first passion but I always loved contemporary design. Now I can mix the two as we have a lot of interest in our designs from people within the sports industry, mainly footballers, who seem to like our designs and we are getting a large following on social media.
What inspires you to keep working and focusing on your career?
When you spend years working for something and see no results then suddenly when you get that first recognition it feels amazing. I am blessed to work with such talented people from around the world. We have partners in nearly a dozen countries who all bring their unique style and design to YU Spaces & Partners. We have recently been approached by TV and Media companies who are taking an interest in what we are doing. We were also recently featured in Sports World Magazine and the feature has become so popular that they have asked me to become a regular columnist in the area of property and design.
What has been your most successful business venture to date?
Coming from a marketing and branding background, I have always looked to evolve. The beauty of YU Spaces & Partners is that we never stand still and are always on the lookout for new designers. I think starting YU Spaces & Partners has been the best business venture to date and no doubt it has opened other doors for us in terms of interior design and manufacturing our own bespoke furniture, designs and products for our clients. We will be launching our new range of kitchens in 2018 called YUCUCINE designed by some of the most famous kitchen designers in the world. I also still advise on branding and marketing and am working with ex- Manchester United and France forward Louis Saha on his new App AXISSTARS, as well as, a columnist and advisor on Sports World magazine.
How have your earlier years helped to shape your career and business?
My earlier years have shaped me in many ways as my parents came to the UK as immigrants in the early 60’s and taught me the value of hard work and loyalty. My mum has been my greatest inspiration and has always believed in me even when many others did not and she continues to be my mentor till today. My love for travelling and languages has helped me to understand and learn about different business cultures across the world. I feel more British Pakistanis should live and work abroad to gain vital life skills and broaden their outlook.
On a closing note, my mum had a saying which has held me in good stead “When you lose money you lose nothing but when you lose your integrity you lose everything”