Meet Female Microbiologist, Who Distinguished Herself In Shoe Making
While many Nigerian youths are busy complaining, looking forward to and waiting for the government to provide white collar jobs, Miss Chinenye Onyekwwlu, a Microbiology graduate from the University of Jos has taken to shoe making; a business most people believed is reserved for men and the “not so educated”.
Speaking to Kapital FM online, she said her desire for shoe making was born out of love for shoes and accessories; then decided to take a step after her university education to explore shoe making.
Chinenye now makes a living from what started as a passion.
“I like creating my own style of shoes and other accessories, even cloths. So I felt if I learn how to make shoes, I can wear the kind of shoes I like.” she said
“Before I learnt how to make shoes, most times when I go to make shoes, they will tell me they can’t make the designs I have created and even when they do it, they don’t always get what I wanted and the finishing will not be neat the way I want so I told myself that it would be better I learn how to make shoes so that I can design and wear the kind of shoes I want.”
“Although I started nursing the idea of learning how to make shoes before I graduated from the university, I took the bold step when I graduated and was waiting for my compulsory Youth Service Programme. “
“After my graduation in 2018, I wanted to do something to keep myself busy so I decided to learn shoe making since it’s what I have passion for.”
According Miss Chineye, she got a lot of discouragement from family and friends.
“My mum discouraged me a lot, even some of my friends. They believed that it was not a business for ladies, my mum kept telling me to learn cake making or tailoring, so what I did was, I didn’t tell her my plans again”
“One day I met a lady in Jos that really inspired me. She told me she was learning how to make shoes, I was so excited because everyone in my house felt shoe making was an odd skill for a lady. I got the lady’s contact, we got talking and she took me to where she was leaning and I started without telling anyone at home.”
“My mum was surprised when she saw the shoes I made. At first, she didn’t believe I made the shoes but she later got convinced when I started making shoes at home and she started supporting me. Now she even helps me at times when I have much work to do.”
“Do you know that even now, when I tell people that I make shoes or they see the shoes I have made they will be like ‘are you sure you made this?’. A lot of people still believe only men can make shoes. For instance, anytime I go to area 1 where I file my shoes, I hear comments like ‘Ah! Do ladies make shoes too?’ and I will just laugh.”
Speaking on the challenges of the business she said
“One of the challenges was the fact that I make my shoes manually and I don’t have a filling machine, I always have to carry my shoes to Area 1 to file.”
Another thing is getting the materials I use in making shoes”. Also, getting customers sometimes is difficult because some people only believe I can make shoes when they see my shoes but I don’t have a shop where I can display my work, I work in my house so it’s a bit challenging. So I would say finance is a big challenge, I need money for a machine and also to rent a shop”.
When asked if she would take a white collar job over her business? “I want to dedicate time to growing my business, she added.
So what are you waiting for? Learn a skill today.