Perseverance led designer to success in the South

Moyes Mohammed is grateful to Southlanders for welcoming him into the automotive community. PHOTO...
Moyes Mohammed is grateful to Southlanders for welcoming him into the automotive community. PHOTO: NINA TAPU
There have been plenty of bumps along the road of life for Moyes Mohammed.

But running his own business at 32, he seems to have landed on his feet.

Leaving home at 15, moving into a boarding house and watching his start-up business flood, are all challenges he has successfully overcome.

He now wants to help communities.

For Mr Mohammed, going out on his own early meant eventually leaving Auckland and heading south — finding his passion in Invercargill’s automotive community.

"I left home at 15 because of the stressful environment that I grew up in. My parents split up and it was getting too much," he said.

"I moved into a boarding house, started working for a butcher, but still went to school."

Despite his rough start, the Dunedin-born graphic designer withstood his struggles, found his way to Southland and has now opened a graphic design and automotive accessory outfit.

He opened the AM Solutions retail store two years ago after humble beginnings had him selling decal stickers from the boot of his car.

"People see this store and think I’ve made it but they don’t realise what I’ve gone through to get to where I am today," he said.

He lacked direction during his time at high school, which almost curtailed his studies.

But his school dean encouraged him to go on a Spirit of Adventure course.

That lack of direction loomed again when he was considering tertiary studies. Fortunately a counsellor helped him navigate his way around university life.

"I got a tertiary scholarship to study graphic design at Unitec. I would never had made my way to university if it wasn’t for the help I was getting from my counsellor."

A relationship break-up and being away from his son threw a few curveballs into the mix but his counselling sessions helped him to become philosophical about the challenges.

"I realised that if I hadn’t have gone through those hard times then I wouldn’t have gone after my dream," he said.

Graduating with a graphic design qualification spurred him to look further afield after life in Auckland became unattractive.

"The Auckland graphic design market was competitive and people were really cut-throat.

"I got invited to a car run in Invercargill and found out that this place was all about the automotive world."

The Southland automotive community’s love for cars lured him to Waihopai five years ago, igniting his dream to start his automotive graphic design and accessories business.

Word got out about his enterprise and so he shifted his business to his converted garage to deal with the growth in clients.

Working as a graphic designer and an automotive accessory retailer from home proved to be a winning formula, so he took that as a sign to expand and opened his own store.

All the hard graft seemed to be paying off until the store became damaged by a leaky roof last year, making his plant and equipment useless.

"I thought I was going to close last year. The whole place started leaking with water. I lost all my computers and machinery and thought it was the end of me."

Insurance came through, the building and roof were repaired and he was back on his feet again.

"When I walk into my shop every morning I think about how I got here and have so many people to thank for their support. I want to do the same for others and for me it’s about growing communities."