The journey

An Albanian Odyssey

the beginning of our story

Alban immigrated with his parents to the US when he was only 13. He had no way to connect with his friends or family back home. There were no Albanian TV shows. The Internet wasn’t accessible by the masses and calling via landlines was very expensive.

Thank God there were soccer competitions! Those were the holy grail for Albanians in the US. The Albanian National Team would play and hundreds of thousands of Albanians would proudly cheer up.

As the internet and the technology grew further so did the access people had into them. Forums and chat rooms were a great place Alban would go to connect with fellow Albanians and discuss soccer matches and how one Albanian player did compared to another one. One question would come to his mind more often though: Why can’t I buy my favorite team’s jerseys online? 

From a Why...? question it evolved into a How to…? question real quick given the entrepreneurial spirit Alban developed in the land of opportunities.  It was 2015 when it happened.

officially in

business

The long search for a jersey took Alban back to the roots. He couldn’t be more than happy that this search led to Albania, the only place he could order from. On the other hand it was so difficult and it took so much time to order a jersey online and given that Alban learned all the process while going through it all meant only one thing: business opportunity

He ordered a few pieces and sold them in no time. Then ordered about 100 more pieces and again, all gone. The first bigger investment was a heat press machine over which Alban would lose a handful of products in the trial and fail process but this led to greater possibilities. Now every customer could order a customized jersey. This meant Alban was officially in business and for obvious reasons the name would be ALBANFOOTBALL

What the hell am I doing here?

don't play it safe

While ALBANFOOTBALL became the first ever e-commerce to sell the Albanian National Soccer Team’s jerseys the team itself qualified for EURO2016.

Alban that until that time was studying business, taking care of ALBANFOOTBALL, and working at the family business saw that he couldn’t handle everything from his little apartment and that business was growing fast. At the end of 2015 Alban moved to Albania.

The golden year

2016

It was the best year for the Albanian National Team and the Albanian pride. It was perhaps the first year in modern-day-history that the news in the European continent mentioned words such as talented or beautiful Albanians. Our country got huge recognition internationally and the greatest spiritual upliftment in the last 30 years since the fall of the communism.

The atmosphere, especially in Albania, was phenomenal. Every square, street or coffee shop in Tirana was buzzing with joy, friendliness and pure love for one-another. There was no separation, no crimes, no violence. All the energy was channeled into a big brotherly dance. Albanians were all united against the opposing team.

Growth and challenges

ALBANFOOTBALL

With the growth new challenges arose. Albania didn't have the capacity yet to understand e-commerce and to provide the needed infrastructure.

But even with this Alban teamed up with Eklid Meço, a partner in Albania that would soon become his best friend and business would boom in numbers never seen before.

All these made Alban a more wise and experienced business owner and taught him a great deal about Albania. 

Exploring

HOME sweet home

Alban started to travel all around Albania. After the European championship's hype faded he took time to immerse himself in this new reality he was living and loving.

He met Rudina in a meditation class- a true discoverer- and they madly fell in love with one-another.

Here comes the love

Rudina showed Alban a new way of getting to know his country and himself.  After dating for a while and traveling a lot they started to live together and be best friends to each-other. Now they are husband and wife. 

The wholeness is more than just...

the collection of parts

The two of them were exquisitely complementing each-other. The gap Alban missed from not growing up in Albania would easily be filled by the storytelling nature of Rudina. The lack in business education Rudina had would be passionately compensated by Alban.

the new idea

unity is strength

Having experienced all what the Albanian spirit and culture was about, Alban realized that were precisely these elements that an Albanian immigrant lacks the most.

Together with Rudina he gathered all the graphic designers he had gotten to know in the past 2 years and proposed to them the idea of creating beautiful and meaningfully designed apparel about historical characters, symbols and events. For every sold product the respective designer would make a profit.

Here it comes

SHQIPFUL

A new beginning

Play
may 19th

2018

Alban and Rudina founded what at that time would be called REDxBLACK and latter matured into SHQIPFUL. The Albanians around the globe would finally have something meaningful and beautiful to wear on everyday life.

Now this husband-wife duo spends their life between Albania and the US while continuing to work with SHQIPFUL that allows them to always be in touch with the Albanian community.

If SHQIPFUL's story resonated with yours or you just want to say hi please reach out at tung@shqipful.com.