Be Inspired Friday: Young CEOS Under 30, Doing What They Do Best…

Young people are making giant strides in the world today, and its encouraging to see how businesses are being set up and sustained. Be on the lookout every Friday because we will get to meet young entrepreneurs who started their businesses from scratch, find out the challenges they face and how they find their way through the maze that is the business world.

Today’s CEO is Bernard Shaibu: Shaibu Benard Abu a graduate of Management Information System and a member of E-Council.  With experience in Banking, (Internship), Entertainment and Consulting (Visa Consultant). He believes everyone was born with equal opportunity to succeed irrespective of their path to greatness (artist, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, etc.) His philosophy about life has always remain “life is an adventure therefore be adventurous”.  Hem & Omakie Nigeria is proudly a Nigerian based shoe-design Company. We manufacture a wide range of vasertile design in hand-crafted dress shoes for men, women and children as well. Our dream is to set the pace in a vast range of bespoke shoe design and production with an international competitive edge. At Hem & Omakie, every stitch, seam & tuck reflects a drive for quality & excellence in what they do.The Company’s long term mission is to carve a niche as leader in bespoke shoe manufacturing in Africa and beyond, by establishing an upscale, retail presence in Nigeria.

Here is how our chit chat went:

AD: Bernard, Hi, how are you today?

Bernard: I am fine today Ada, and you?

AD: I am well thank God. You have been making quite a splash lately so its only natural I had to talk to you.

Bernard: Yes dear, all thanks to God.

AD: So lets get right down to it, I know you are a busy man and time they say, is money. You studied Management Information System, how come you are making shoes now?

Bernard: Yes, MIS was my discipline in school, but fashion is my passion.

AD: Hem&Omakie is an interesting name, how did you come up with it?

Bernard: Hem&Omakie was coined from two words: “Schehem and Omachonu” which means: Resourceful people rule.

AD: Well said, so how is going so far?

Bernard: I got to realize I would only be running away from my own shadows if shy away what I love to the best, cos at the long run I would still find myself coming back to it! Well, Ada, it hasn’t been a bed of roses, because we are still pretty new in the market, n to get to the top, lots has to be done, so I wouldn’t say its a smooth one right now.

AD: Walk me briefly through the process of making a shoe.

Bernard: Well, shoe making is not a brief process, but however, I would try: first, you need to draw out a design, cut out them out a cardboard papers which we call pattern making, then have pattern cut out on the kind of fabric you want for your design, sew the fabric in areas required, have the sown fabrics transferred in form of a shoe mold, then of course you include the  soles beneath the mold and with a little finishing touch, you have a pair of shoes made for yourself!

AD: Wow! you make it sound easy.

Bernard: Yeah well, you wanted a nutshell, so I guess that is a good way to put an entire process in a nutshell, pending when we meet at the factory for practicals.(Laughs)

AD: I will definitely visit soon. So how many employees do have at the moment?

Bernard: Well, at the moment we have two major head cobblers, and a few tentative staff. We look forward to expanding and growing into a larger market share.

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A Hem&Omakie Creation

AD: I am sure you have had some challenges, please share a few with me

Bernard: The challenges we have had, have helped us see the bigger picture. Inconsistency in the supply of some fabric, (as most of our fabrics used are imported), power supply also poses a huge challenge, considering the huge demand for our brand, sometimes we don’t even know where to start from when we have a lot to do over the night and all of a sudden,  power failure comes to play. But through it all, we are learning as we go and soon we’ll do it all with our eyes closed. Also, we are faced with the challenge of meeting demands, because we do not have the heavy duty machines required to produce in very large quantity to meet the Nigerian  market but I know this won’t be  for long as we work tirelessly to achieve it.

AD: Tell me, If I want to purchase a pair of Hem&Omakie shoes right now, how would I go about it?

Bernard: Well are currently on about 5 online stores which includes, www.konga.com/hem-omakie, Pinkybolar.com, Futwia.com. Mofeera.com.ng so u can actually seat down at home with u phone or ipad n make an order without much stress! However our website is still in process n would be live soon! For the interim our facebook page can also be accessed via www.facebook.com/hemomakie

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AD: That is really impressive, any plans to launch a female line soon?
Bernard: Yes oh! Its all in the cooking pot, and as soon as the meal is ready, we will not hesitate to serve all the Nigerian ladies both home and abroad, with our unique brand, so be on the look out.
AD: One word for young people who are looking to go into the shoe business?
Bernard: Well, I am still growing in the business and I am learning as I go, but focus and determination is what keeps you going in this line of business,especially here in Nigeria where there are a lot of limitations. If it is your dream, stay true to it.
AD: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me, I am looking forward to wearing your shoes one day soon.
Bernard: Its my absolute pleasure, I’ll look forward to that as well.
Its the holidays soon, for uniquely distinct shoes, click on any of the links above and you will be happy you did.
Enjoy your weekend!
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Bernard Shaibu, CEO HEM&OMAKIE

Be Inspired Friday: Young CEOS Under 30,Doing What They Do Best…

Young people are making giant strides in the world today, and its encouraging to see how businesses are being set up and sustained. Be on the lookout every Friday because we will get to meet young entrepreneurs who started their businesses from scratch, find out the challenges they face and how they find their way through the maze that is the business world.

Today’s CEO is Josephine Okulaja: Josephine is a trained journalist with a B.Sc. in Mass Communication and Masters in International Broadcast Journalism. She has worked as an On Air Personality, voice over artist and programs producer in various Online Radio Stations including BBC where she worked as an Intern. Her combined love for new media (Internet) and fashion compelled her to set- up ‘Allyouwant’.
Allyouwant is an online retail store; it focuses mainly on Unisex shoes and statement fashion accessories. Since the launch in June 2014, Allyouwant has served many customers across Nigeria and is looking forward to serve other West African countries.

Here’s how our chit chat went:

AD: HI Jo, how are you?

Josephine: I’m very well thank you.

AD: Thank God its Friday yeah?

Josephine: Yes! technically, I work all through the week, but the weekends are somewhat easier.

AD: OK so lets get down to the business of the day. Allyouwant kicked off in June, how has it been so far?

Josephine: Yes, it kicked off in June and the traffic on the site has been so amazing. We have customers from across Nigeria, we have have also had people buzzing us from other African countries wanting to patronize us, but at the moment we are not there yet. Come next year, that is definitely on our radar.

AD: Wow! that is impressive. So do you have employees? if yes how many do you have at the moment?

Josephine: For now, I do not have a full staff. Its me and my partner, but the graphic designers, delivery people and other resource persons are outsourced staff. Sometimes, I deliver to my customers myself especially when the location is in an area I am very familiar with.

AD: Tell me about some of the challenges you have been facing and how you have been able to conquer them.

Josephine: Hmmm challenges. That’s really one thing we can’t run away from as humans talk more in a business. The major challenge which has been staring at us in the face is the fact that many customers will always prefer to pay cash on delivery. Right now we do not have that service provided in all 36 states. Our delivery partner only offers that in 7 major locations (lagos, ibadan, Abuja, Port-harcourt, Abeokuta, oshogbo and Ife)   so we often get customers wondering how they can trust us to deliver when they pay online via the online payment platform. I always have to talk to them, convince them and sometimes offer them discounts or deals just to cajole them to buy. When they eventually buy we ship out almost immediately to enable them get their products as soon as possible. Before you know it the phone is ringing and it’s the customer calling to say thank you for quick delivery and not being a fraud, funny but true.

‎We are working hard right now to see how we can provide the cash on delivery option to every city in Nigeria. This project will kick off from the first quarter of 2015. This way we get to serve our customers better and make them feel closer to the store

AD: So, let me gossip a little. Does being a CEO leave you enough time for love?Ad Reviewed_3 copy 2

Josephine: Sure, why not? all work and no play makes jack a dull boy or in this case makes Jojo a dull girl. Being a CEO hasn’t changed me, I still do all my regular activities and I make time to visit and hang out with my friends.

AD: With the stiff competition in the online retail world, what stands allyouwant out from the others?

Josephine: Like they say, the sky is big enough for all the birds to fly. Right now we don’t look at anyone as a competitor rather we look at them as possible future partners. Then again we are sticking to the original positioning of the store which is giving high quality goods at really good prices which is 10-15% off the original retail price.

AD: Any Christmas sales we should know about?

Josephine: Yes! Its a secret we are cooking up. watch this space. By December 1st, you will know.

AD: Thank you so much Josephine, It has been so nice catching up with you, any words for young upcoming entrepreneurs out there?

Josephine: The pleasure is all mine Adaugo, well, I am still a baby in the business but one thing I have learnt and that I will say to them is: never give up. Follow your dreams and passion and don’t do anything because others are doing it. Don’t be scared of trying, stay focused and work hard.

Visit http://www.allyouwant.com.ng today for a beautiful range of unisex shoes and accessories.

Enjoy your weekend.

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Josephine Okulaja, CEO Allyouwant