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One question that lingers on the tongues of many Nigerian youths is - “How do I monetize my passion?” Nobody has a straight answer to this question but as the creative mind behind a bespoke footwear brand that has garnered an impressive record of sales over the last two years, one can say that Moyinoluwa of Korrey Leathers seems to have figured out the answer to an extent.
In today’s Daily 2k story, Moyin takes us through everything that happens behind the scenes of her life as a business owner in Nigeria.
We are great admirers of your business. Can you walk us through how it all started?
My love for luxury footwear basically inspired Korrey Leathers. I have always been big on beautiful shoes and slippers. Like I’d literally see someone and the first thing that will catch my eyes is whatever they are wearing on their feet. I used to pay attention to my feet as well because I didn’t want anybody to ever catch me slipping. So when sapa almost choked the living daylight out of me, I just knew that it was time to monetize my love for footies. It made sense to me because it’s not exactly a business that you see many women doing and footies are essentials that are always in demand.
Interesting. How long ago was this?
My brand is still pretty much in its early stage, I’ve only been at it for two years. I started when I was still in university and we are still going.
How would you describe the journey so far?
I’d say the most challenging part of this business has to be the earliest days. As a new business owner, it is not exactly easy to get people to know about your product, it is even harder to get them to buy. And that’s kinda understandable because a lot of people have had horrible experiences with online vendors. You can’t blame them if they have trust issues. When I was just starting out, I felt I had much to prove to my customers. I was very heavy on quality products and great customer service, and I still am. I’d say that is the actual reason why my business is doing well now. I still remember when my friends and family members were the only people that used to patronize me (laughs). Omooo, thank God for growth sha.
Levels don change now. So have you ever considered your gender to be a hindrance to your shoemaking business?
I’ve always loved a good challenge. So if people say that something is a man’s job, I’d be curious to know why. I am actually not a stranger to picking interest in things that I’ve been told that women are not supposed to take interest in. I was learning photography and design at some point and people will always ask me if I was sure I wanted to continue because according to them, those jobs were only for men. At the time when I started, I didn’t know any woman that was into shoemaking. I literally had no representation so I had a few doubts but I decided to give it a shot. You would also be surprised that certain opportunities open up to women working in male-dominated spaces like this. Sometimes, people go as far as referring people to me simply because they want to encourage me not to give up. I mean, that coupled with the quality of my footies too.
What kind of future do you envision for your business?
Shoemaking is more difficult and exhausting than people think. It’s time-consuming and stressful. Supplies are also so expensive right now and customers don’t really seem to get that. Honestly, when I think of the cost of production, it makes me wonder if I’d ever focus solely on shoemaking. I’ve even had some customers ask me if it’s not just to make slippers, “what’s the big deal”. And I’m always like if only they knew the kind of work that goes into producing what they call “just slippers”. Right now, I’m open to new streams of income and career paths. I’m not limiting myself to only shoemaking. No matter what career path I settle for at the end of the day, the only way from here is up.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a small business owner in Nigeria?
I’d say one of my biggest challenges at the moment is the inflation in the prices of materials. When we increase our prices, customers are always quick to assume that we are just being extra. I really wish our footies can be the same prices as they were in 2020 but times have changed and the economy is after business owners especially. Don’t even get me started on electricity wahala because I can actually cry when I deep it.
How do you prioritize self-care as a business owner?
One thing that I try to avoid is being burnt out. Money is good but good health is even better. Most business owners focus more on money than actually taking care of themselves. Personally, self-care to me is about the little things. Say, for example, I’m trying to design footwear and it isn’t working out the way I planned it in my head, I’ll just take a break, watch a movie and try again when I’m more relaxed. This life no suppose hard. Business owners are quick to feel like failures. Maybe they aren’t selling as much as they used to or business is generally moving slow. That can be tough on one’s mental health. Whenever I feel like that, I just go and fix my nails or make new hair. I’ll probably buy a new dress too, go out to eat something and just do anything that makes me happy.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you say this business has impacted your finances?
I’ll rate my financial life a 6 because my business has made me more independent. I don’t have to seek anybody’s help before I take certain decisions or pay for stuff. I wouldn’t say I’ve fully attained the height of financial independence but I’m getting there. When I was still a student, I hardly asked my parents for anything because my business was doing quite well. If you ask me this question again next year, it would most likely be a 10.
Asides from shoemaking, how else do you make your daily 2k?
I am also a content creator for brands. I create content that communicates a brand’s message to its target audience. I also have a 9-5 job which is kind of my major source of income.
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As a young child, you looked forward to adulting. It always looked fun to you. You couldn’t wait to become independent, receive instructions from no one and take ‘charge’ of your life. But it’s not what you expected. You eventually find that the transition to adulthood can be challenging due to financial concerns, family obligations, and the realities of the day-to-day life of a working adult. It’s overwhelming! It hurts even more when you think about the economic status of the country and its influence in making things difficult around us. The rate of inflation makes things very expensive and the little you get to save does not seem to be acquiring enough interest. By the time savings targets are met, the prices of your wants or needs experience a rapid increase.