Nigerian Made Shoes Not Inferior To Imported Ones –Afolabi | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nigerian Made Shoes Not Inferior To Imported Ones –Afolabi

Seun Afolabi
Posted: Oct 2, 2016 at 2:25 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Oluwaseun Afolabi is chief executive officer of Marvellous God Designs Limited, a company that is into the manufacture of footwear for men and women. He spoke to Ikechi Nzeako on the quality of the shoes his company is making and the challenges facing Nigerian manufacturers. Excerpts:


What did you have in mind when you started the company?

There is massive unemployment in the country and there is need to be daring and innovative.

However, what led to start the company were passion and the need to do something different and create employment for other people in the country, especially the youth and that is what we are doing at the company.

What is your background?

I studied economics and leaving the university there was no job. I had a friend who was very good at making shoes. I learnt a few things from him that I needed to start and I sent some people to him to train them as shoemakers and I manage them.

How long have you been in the business?

We have been in the business for five years now officially and unofficially we have been in the business for about seven to eight years.

Who does the designs of the shoes that you manufacture?

I do all the designs and my members of staff do the manufacturing

How has it been manufacturing shoes in the country?

For a company to have lasted seven years, there is something that they are doing right. What we want is for the economy to further support the business. The country is not supporting the business in any way; there is no form of encouragement, you have to do everything on your own. You have to provide power on your own; you have to get the raw materials on your own and getting them is becoming increasingly difficult because of the harsh economic situation in the country.

The prevailing exchange rate has made things go worse. However, the market has been there. Our hallmark is quality and it has spoken for us over the years; that is the situation so far.

In terms of quality, how do you compare your products to those imported from abroad?

The truth is this we had also ventured into importation of shoes and that afforded us the opportunity to compare our products and imported shoes. What they sell is brand; I can tell you that our homemade shoes are better in quality.

This is because we know the environment; we know how our roads are and we know how the roads are at every time. So I can proudly you tell you that we have made you shoes are better than the shoes that are imported into the country, especially at a time like this that most of products that are imported into the country are low in quality. That has helped us; that has been our strength, giving Nigerians quality for their money.

In terms of price, how to you compare the prices of your products to those of imported shoes?

Our prices are not very high; though the foreign exchange is scarce and difficult to access, because of our strategy a pair of imported shoes that you buy for N45,000 we sell it to you for N12,000 to N15,000.

So our prices are competitively better than those of imported shoes.

What do you say to Nigerians who prefer to buy imported products?

That is a problem; what I want to say is that if the people who live in the countries we are importing from did not appreciate the products when they started, the products would not get to other countries, including Nigeria. Beginning with the President to the lowest person should believe in made-in-Nigeria products and that is the only way we can move the country forward.

How would assess the Nigerian business environment?

The truth is this; if there were no money to be made in the country, foreigners would not be flooding into the country. I can tell that the Nigerian Business environment, no matter how harsh people claim it is; there is money to be made in it.

What level do you want to the company to in the next four to five years?

I do not have a competitor in Nigeria; the people I see as competitors are the big foreign brands, who export shoes into the country like Gucci. I want to build a brand is appreciated all over the world.



Why Coconut Oil Is Good For Nigerians’

Coconut is a wild growing plant in Nigeria and is found in mostly southern parts of the country. However, company is harvesting the water that is found in the coconut to make coconut oil and in the process create job opportunities for Nigerians.

Oluwakemi Omisakin is founder of Emini Nature Consult, makers of Virgin Coconut Oil.

She said that the company produces coconut oil from coconut without adding any sort of preservatives to the cocoanut.

According to her, the cocoa nut oil is extracted from fresh cocoanut, saying that no heat is used in the process of extracting the oil.

This, she said, makes the cocoa nut oil that her company produces “pure and undiluted and chemical free”. She added that this is what separates the coconut oil that her company produces from other producers of cocoanut oil in the country.

She told Independent that Nigerians have been receptive to Virgin Coconut Oil, adding that the market for the product has been growing over time.

She stated that the company was creating more awareness for the product and making more Nigerians to know about the usefulness of the product and the need to buy and use it.