Most men I have encountered since I started my shoe making business do not really believe me whenever I tell them I am a cobbler. Only a few men then give me a trial without minding the fact that I am a woman.
This was said by Uzuegbunam Adeline Chiamaka, a 3rd year Anatomy student of the Olabisi Onabanjo University. Schooling happens to be just one of the majors in her life, as there is shoe making. Adeline is a shoe maker who makes beautiful quality handmade shoes, sandals and slippers for men.
Since 2016, Addy Shoes has been in existence, so how has she been able to combine shoe making with a course in medical school? To that, she answers, “I have been able to combine my studies by working during weekends whenever I am less busy. Also during the middle of the night too and when I am on holidays, I try to make a lot of shoes to sell before resumption.”
She also expresses the fact that she has encountered a number of challenges, “The challenges I have faced in my business are lack of investors and the reaction I get from men when they get to find out I make shoes.” According to her, they tend not to believe her at all and may end up not patronizing her.
Today, hardly can businesses survive without investments of any kind and so Adeline talked about how the search for investment was coming on. She said, “I am really not finding it easy to get investors to fund my shoe making brand. Especially because now, most investors are looking towards the area of technology.”
Adeline employs social media marketing for her products as she markets them on Instagram, Facebook, and other e-commerce sites. “I also walk up to people to tell them that I make shoes for men at banks, schools, churches, conferences etc.” She also handles competition by doing promo sales. “I give 10% discount to every new customers, add extra packages during festive period and free low price rate for delivery services during festive period.”
“I wish it was easy access to funds and low cost equipment.” She says when asked about challenges she faces in her business. She goes on to talk about how low cost equipment and tools will go a long way to boost productivity in her business.
Her long term goal is to make Addy Shoes a global brand like Nike and Adidas. It appears this long term goals are in sharp contrast with her current position as an Anatomy student, and so when asked about that, she says, “Well, with anatomy, I plan to become a surgeon, and so, I would basically further my studies to become one.” “I have always dreamed of becoming Nigeria’s first female surgeon and shoe maker. I have a belief that before I am done with medical school, my business will be stable in the sense I will have been to achieve my given target for my business.”