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Young fashion indie in hunt for star apprentice

Independent retailer Ashley Ali has launched a competition inspired by BBC2 series The Apprentice to find a trainee to shadow him for six months as he looks to expand his six-store young fashion business.

The 24-year-old managing director of Liverpool-based indie mini chain Paparatzzi will conduct a nationwide search to find his protégé.

If the apprentice impresses Ali, they will be given a budget with which to open the next Paparatzzi shop. Ali said: “The successful, winning candidate will come and work with me for six months and see all aspects of the business, from buying to dealing with staff. I will then give them a budget to open their own shop which they will manage entirely themselves.”

Ali added that if all goes well, he hopes to open a further three shops for his ‘apprentice’ to manage.

Paparatzzi stocks well-known brands such as Lipsy, alongside independent wholesale brands which enable him to keep his offer on trend but with low prices. He said: “The exchange rates are a problem, but with the new shops opening I have a stronger negotiating power, which is crucial.”

Ali, a law graduate, started selling clothes to his fellow students while at university and saw a gap in the market for edgy, fast fashion at low prices.

“It’s a great opportunity, because landlords are willing to do a deal. There is no better time for an independent to succeed.”

Ashley Ali, owner, Paparatzzi

He said he would still forge ahead with opening new stores, despite the tough economic climate. “I have the success of the other shops behind me and I am able to take advantage of the lower rents available in this market,” he said.

“It’s a great opportunity, because landlords are willing to do a deal. There is no better time for an independent to succeed.”

The competition coincides with the launch of Apprentice Week on Monday which marks the beginning of a year-long campaign run by the Learning & Skills Council that aims to demonstrate the importance of apprenticeships.

To apply to become Ashley Ali’s apprentice at Paparatzzi, send a covering letter and CV to Paparatzzi, 6 Eastbank Street, Southport, PR8 6DW.

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