Kelvin Eromosele, a Business Administration and Entrepreneurship student of National Open University of Nigeria, is the Chief Executive Officer of Eromosele Classic, a shoe-making company in Surulere and Lekki, in Lagos State. The young entrepreneur, who produces international standard shoes locally, in this interview, tells EKONG EKPENYONG about his trade and why people should patronise made-in-Nigeria footwear
Do you intend to be a shoemaker after your studying Business Administration and Entrepreneurship in NOUN, and when did you start this trade?
I started the practice since I was in secondary school. When I finished my secondary education, I didn’t get admission into a higher institution on time. While awaiting admission, I continued with the trade. Even when I got admitted to NOUN, I started multi-tasking in my business, my studies and other activities.
So, how do you see the shoemaking business generally?
Shoemaking is interesting, but needs constant practice to make one efficient. At least, I am able to make good money from it, to take care of my siblings’ financial needs.
In the early stage of the Coronavirus Disease-induced lockdown, did you, like other businesses, encounter challenges in the business?
Yes. In the first two weeks, I was scared of going out due to the lockdown. Then, all shops were shut, including my space at a mall in Lekki, due to the crises. That period, I invested a lot of money to buy raw materials to make footwear for Easter and even Ramadan. But there were no sales due to the pandemic.
When you started the business, what are the difficulties you encountered?
People, normally, prefer international products to local handmade ones. At a time, I almost gave up the business due to lack of acceptance from customers. But thank God, today I have been able to restore the market by convincing my customers that locally-made shoes are better than foreign ones, in terms of creativity and exclusivity.
How lucrative is the trade?
Though sometimes we don’t make sales, I make at least N200,000 monthly.
How have you been coping with the relatively harsh Nigerian economy?
I thank God for everything. For now, customers are still coming; it is just that sales are not moving as usual due to high cost of raw materials. However, we cannot sell the shoes below the cost of production. For instance, the hard sole we usually bought at N800 has increased to N1,500; and the gum that we bought then at N500 has been increased to N1,000. However, the prices of raw materials are not still stable at the moment.
Has there been financial assistance from your family and/or acquaintances to support your business?
I am an orphan, so I have no sponsor, except my elder sister, and my Church. I am a Catholic. They supported me to start this trade till it got to this point. Though am still putting things in order.
What difference do you see between an employee and entrepreneur?
For me, it is a great achievement being a boss. If am to work for someone, I don’t think I will be paid more than N80,000 monthly. But as a young entrepreneur, I can pay myself N150,000 monthly, pay my shop rent, pay my staff and also expand my business.
Do you have a mentor? If yes, what have you gained from him or her?
Yes I have a mentor by name Ifeanyi Nnabuife. He is my boss and currently based in Asaba, Delta State. I learnt this business from him. Through him, I was able to learn a lot of things about life and wellbeing.
What is your target in this business?
I want to set up a bigger company, create job opportunities, and make people see the need for Nigerian-made shoes.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.