An exclusive Q&A interview on Omotayo Iyanoye Abosede, founder and owner of Omarcollecktionz. Talk about the journey so far.
Omotayo Iyanoye Abosede is a 30-year-old Nigerian from Ondo State. Abosede could hardly get her desired shoe in her size. Shortly after NYSC (The National Youth Service Corps), jobs weren’t coming despite the online professional courses she had taken. Abosede visited a friend and was taken aback at the beautiful shoes her friend had made and sold for profit. Abosede decided to embark on a one-year training for shoemaking.
Exclusive Q&A Interview: The Journey So Far
What year did you start your business?
I started my business in the year 2019. I had just finished my one-year training. I had little to start the business. There were doubts. Whether the industry would be favorable as I haven’t done it before. With no funding from anywhere, I soldiered on and put in all my savings.
What year did you decide to take up the trade?
I have always loved making things with my hands. I love fashionable crafts. Plus, I always admired the shoes my brother wore they were always fashionable and mostly bespoke, and taking up the trade wasn’t terrifying.
What was your mission when you started your business?
I am on the plus side, so finding my size was always difficult. When I started my business, I knew making bespoke shoes for plus-size men and women would be my niche and mission.
What products and services does your company offer?
I make bespoke shoes, belts, and purses for men and women. We cover retail and wholesale.
Have you managed a business before?
Yes, I have. I managed a dry-cleaning business shortly after finishing my NYSC.
How many employees do you have?
Currently, I have no employees. I have an apprenticeship training system. To help individuals carry out on-the-job training to become entrepreneurs in the field.
How do you manage competitors?
I stay on trends and create new designs. I make sure my materials are of top quality from scratch to finish. I also give my customers discounts on referrals and on the number of items purchased every month or year.
How do you reinforce performance amongst your Apprentices?
I reinforce performance by buying them materials to try new designs. Sometimes, I cover their transportation weekly and cash prizes for finishing tasks.
How long did it take for your business to earn a profit?
That would be the year 2020 ending. I started my business in 2019. It took a year for the profits to come in. It wasn’t easy the cost was high, trying to meet up with orders. I was almost running at a loss until the year ended.
What are some of your business strategies?
It has not been easy to achieve the set goals and to be at an advantage over our competitors. We always rebrand, create new designs, devise new methods to advertise and gain recognition, and stay on mission.
How do you advertise your business?
Mainly via social media. I pay for adverts on social media like Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. I put up signage in the city. I hire marketers for one-on-one marketing, in which I participate as well. Where there are people, I will be there to advertise my products.
What are some of the problems you have encountered as a Nigerian entrepreneur and shoemaker?
The first would be sourcing materials. In this industry, getting top-quality material like Italian leather is not easy. The materials here are substandard and on the high side. I want to buy those expensive machines, but the cost of importation in this economy is high. Expanding with no funding is not easy either.
Some delivery messengers here in Nigeria have partly wrecked it for entrepreneurs, creating doubt in our customers by delivering products late, making people scared to patronize business online because of bad experiences, so some of them judge all to be the same. My social media has been deleted severally, I had to start from scratch after losing online customers.
What can you tell other entrepreneurs from your experiences?
The first thing I would say is consistency. It is the key. Be ready for anything and stay online to avoid being shadowbanned. Never stop advertising your products. Remember, no pressure.
What are some of your successes?
So far, the journey has been good. Lessons learned and experience gained. I recently changed my store’s location to be accessible. I moved out from Jakande Estate, Isolo, and now at No. 4 Stella Sholanke Street, Ajao Estate, Airport Road Lagos. We are opening a new branch before the year runs out.
What is your company’s mission?
Our mission is to be the best shoemaking company in Nigeria, designing bespoke shoes for plus-size men and women.
How can people who are interested in your shoes and business reach you?