This local business owner was motivated to create a helpful outlet for others because of the difficulties he encountered as a young man.
Chirag Shah, 33, co-founder and CEO of The Current Agency and Made Equal Clothing Co. wants to help and inspire people to be more open to sharing their stories.
Shah was born and raised in Panama City and later moved to Marianna. He had a rough time growing up because he was bullied and hazed by his peers from a young age.
Before being accepted into a school in Marianna, an administrator told him and his parents that he would need to change his name because “Chirag” would not be accepted.
He agreed to change his name to “Chris” in the hopes of making friends and being accepted, but not much seemed to change.
“I thought my seventh-grade year couldn’t get any worse, but it did, that’s the year that 9/11 happened,” said Shah. “I was called a terrorist, I had an American substitute teacher who would from time to time make jokes like, ‘Hey, there goes Chris, somebody check his backpack. He may have something in it.’”
Shah struggled to tell his story because he did not know how, which was the reason he started his business Made Equal Clothing Co. The clothing brand sells sneakers, socks, tees, crewnecks and joggers. Although Made Equal is a streetwear company, there is a deeper meaning behind it.
“What I really want Made Equal to be is a platform,” said Shah. “I want it to be a platform for people of all walks of life to talk about their adversities in a safe place.”
Shah believes that right now, his purpose in life is to genuinely assist others.
“I tell people if there is one thing that I want people to remember me by is that, hey there goes Chirag, he helped at least one person,” Shah said.
Eduardo Loumiet, CEO of Ruvo’s company and a friend to Shah, has known him for some time and interacted with him in multiple facets.
“From marketing and branding to community service, he is always willing to serve the community,” Loumiet said. “He is always looking out for others, especially those in need. I am honored to call him a friend and hope more people have the privilege to interact with him in the future.”
In 2014, Shah founded The Current Agency, a digital and creative marketing firm based in Tallahassee. The company provides full-service offerings, including web design, social media management, video production, photography and branding.
He started The Current Agency because he has always been timid and wanted to be more confident. Being an introvert made it difficult for him to open up, but he understood that to succeed, he would need to begin interacting with others.