Female shoemaker, Yetunde Odewumi, is a graduate of Transport Management from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso, Oyo State. In this interview with ADEDAMOLA FAGBAMIGBE, she speaks about her foray into the world of shoemaking.
Why did you decide to become a cobbler?
I’m a big lover of anything that brings out creativity so apart from shoemaking, I’m trained in some other handiwork. But I chose shoe making because it requires a high level of creativity. I’m really passionate about it and I look forward to expanding my knowledge of it. I was initially making bags but some of my customers were demanding for matching footwear for their bags so it was their demands that inspired me to learn shoemaking.
As a woman, one would have expected that you’ll specialise in women shoes only, what inspired you to go into men’s footwear too?
Yes, you are right. In fact, when I registered for the training, I told my tutor I would be taking only female footwear but then I became really passionate about the whole shoemaking stuff. I found it really interesting so that made learning it to be easy for me. After two weeks of learning, I had to go back to school but by then I was already making beautiful footwear. The next semester break I had, I went back for another two weeks to round up my training and that’s how I found myself making shoesfor both male and female
How has the journey been so far?
It started with the training in 2014. Initially, I was making for myself and everyone in my family. I also four customers but I wasn’t really marketing the business because I was really passionate about my academics and excelling academically was important to me so I took things easy. However, during the LAUTECH ASUU strike, I took a lot of online courses on shoemaking so as to improve on my skills.Then, I started going to supermarkets and fashion stores to display my products. I also took some to offices and do online marketing. So far, it’s been good. Though there are challenges but the acceptance has been amazing, people love what I do and they keep encouraging me and that motivates me to keep getting better.
Any challenges so far?
Apart from the common challenges of power instability and funding, under pricing is a big challenge I’m facing, because it is handmade people under price it a lot.
What’s the unique selling point of your products?
First is the quality, my products are so durable and affordable. I produce durable footwear at reasonable prices. The quality I offer cannot be gotten elsewhere at the price I’m giving.
What are your expectations for your business? Where do you see the business in the next five years?
In the next five years, my business will be the “go to” footwear brand in two cities, Lagos and Ibadan. MAHMAH will be a household name in this cities for handmade footwear and shoemaking .
What was the inspiration behind the name of your label?
My name is Yetunde and people call me Yettymama hence the MAHMAH.
What advice would you give to upcoming entrepreneurs in your field?
Persistence, skill mastery and update. Persistence is a great key to success in this field and also they should ensure they have mastered the skill very well before commercialising it and after they have commercialised it they should always update themselves with the latest trend in the industry and if possible go for advanced courses.