Michelle Ekure has carved a niche for herself in an industry where mostly men dominate, when she decided to become a shoemaker.
The young graduate of the department of International Studies and Diplomacy from the University of Benin, in a bid to make ends meet, started making and selling shoes. Surprisingly, she produces male footwear and is doing quite well as a female shoemaker.
The Delta State indigene shared her story with Lukmon of Wazobia Global Times USA, explaining how she ventured into shoemaking.
Lukomon: So Why shoemaking?
Michelle: My inspiration is from God, I never knew I would be a shoemaker. I graduated from the University six years ago, after which I looked for job but to know avail. At sometimes I got employed by a company in Lagos, but the boss was owing too much so I left.
On how it started, there is this other company I buy sandals in Lagos and resell. They sell nice shoes, so one day I thought to myself that I can tell these people to make sandals for me with my label, so I approached them and they said yes. That was how I got my first set of shoes. Then a friend introduced me to a guy that makes shoes. I watch him make shoes one day and I was amazed then I asked him to teach me and he did.
Lukmon: That’s a lovely beginning.
Michelle: hmm. Thanks
Lukmon: So how do you drive sales and who are your target customers?
Michele: My target audience are Men of honours, people like the famous Nigerians comedian Alibaba…lol . I make direct sales, but I drive more sales on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and twitter. Michele leather sales per week is over 50 pairs.
Lukmon: Wow! That’s a great number. You must be a workaholic. Do you have partners?
Michelle: No, maybe someday. But I have people who are learning under me.
Lukmon: How many are your apprentice?
Michelle: There are about 6 of them and more are still coming.
Lukmon: Talking about the Nigerian famous comedian Alibaba. We’ve seen pictures of you with him. Are you in anyway related?
Michelle: No we’re not related, but he is like a father to me. He always wants to see me succeed.
Lukmon: So, if not shoemaking, what would you have ventured into?
Michelle: Maybe work at foreign affairs of British council or UN embassy. I love to be a diplomat .
Lukmon: Hmm. That might come to pass one day.
Michelle: Yeah. (smile)
Lukmon: So, what’s your advice to young ladies that are yet to find their way out there?
Michelle: I always tell people I come in contact with that are looking for job to start something, anything you are good at can bring money to you or just learn a trade.
Lukmon: Is there anything else (e.g unpopular fun fact about you) you’d like to add that might be interesting to our readers?
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Michelle: Hmm… Let them find out.
I’m a very interesting person be with though, I have my moment.
Lukmon: Thanks for your time, we appreciate chatting with you.