Okikiola Fasanya, an up- and-coming shoemaker says that she is always willing to get her hands dirty so as to produce lovely and fanciful shoes for her clients.
“I tell my clients that I am ready to get my hands dirty to make their feet lovely.
“I go the extra-mile to satisfy my clients by paying more attention to the smallest details of shoe making,’’ Ms. Fasanya told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday.
NAN reports that Ms. Fasanya, an Ibadan–based university-graduate-turned shoemaker studied History Education at the Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo in Ondo State.
She said that she chose shoe-making because she wanted to promote the production and the wearing of local shoes and sandals by Africans, thus promoting the African culture.
“I felt the need to create job opportunities for people instead of being the one hunting for jobs.
“Also, the love my brothers have for locally-made shoes and slippers inspired me to start a business in this line.”
Ms. Fasanya added that she discovered that the major raw materials: animals’ hides and skins; were available locally and in large quantities.
According to her, most of what goes into the production of her products are local contents relevant to and available in the country.
She advised those searching for white–collar jobs to acquire skills in various vocations that would make them relevant to their communities.
She said that they would also become self reliant, self dependent and be employers of labour with time.
Ms. Fasanya who acquired the shoe-making skill as a youth corps member at Ibadan, Oyo State, said that her ultimate satisfaction in the job was to please her clients by the quality of her works.
She said that she was trained to build new shoes as well as repair worn-out ones.
“You can wear my footwear in the rain and it will not spoil because I dedicate all my time and attention into making just one and many more.”
She lauded her boss that taught her shoe making, adding that while she was undergoing training; her boss treated her like every other trainee.
This was despite being the only educated one among them, she said.
“My boss was strict. He would said then that he was not going to pamper me because he discovered that I had the zeal to learn.
“Being lenient with me then would have led to me losing focus.”
Ms. Fasanya told NAN that she also repairs worn-out shoes for her clients.
“I do repairs not always but for clients that are patient enough to wait till I have the time. Some repairs give me tough time.
“Repairing foreign-made shoes is like building a new pair of shoes for a client and such requires a detailed work,” she said.
Ms. Fasanya said that she was home with her male contemporaries despite that the sector is male-dominated.
She said that she had been getting referrals from her male shoemakers sometimes.
“I get motivated to do more so people can know that success is not by gender, but through hard work.
“Some of my male counterparts see me as a strong lady.
“They love my designs and applaud the fact that I go through the stress of building new shoes on my own rather than employ people,” she said.