By Comfort Barida
I saw an old friend of mine who had his own brand of shoes that he makes himself. I fell in love with them and got inspired. I knew instantly that I would love to go into this brand of business. I wasn’t new in the world of entrepreneurship as I had my Shawarma joint while studying at University of Lagos in 2013. I closed it down when I went for National Youth Service Corps since I lacked competent hands to manage the business. Also, in 2014 I started my ‘Iro’ and ‘Buba’ business which is still functioning.
The birth of Timi.Dabiri started as a dream in June 2016. First, I had to go and learn the process of making shoes and took lessons during weekends from a woman that stays around my house as I also have a regular job weekdays. As soon as my skills where perfected, I went ahead to register my brand and kicked off from there. Since we started, business has been amazing as I have been having numerous orders.
Challenges in the Business
My major challenge is juggling my regular job and running the business. Meeting deadlines for customers have been a bit difficult, since I only have weekends to work. So I needed to hire a cobbler to assist me so I don’t get to disappoint clients.
My Entrepreneurial experience
The life of an Entrepreneur is the best for me. Even with having a regular job, I have always believed that it is also good to get that extra income to enable me plan and prepare for the future. The road hasn’t always been easy but I have learnt never to give up.
Advice for aspiring Entrepreneurs
My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is that as you receive the idea, pray about it and then start immediately. Avoid procrastination, because the minute you do, it is gone out of your head. Thousands of people out there have the same business idea as you do, so be creative, go the extra mile and think outside-the-box. For me, I add a little personal note on all deliveries to customers. The response I get from them is truly amazing and gives me more fulfilment than the money I’m paid. My focus at the moment is providing exceptional service and building customer loyalty with all my customers.
About made in Nigeria Products
One of the ways Nigeria can achieve economic prosperity and come out of the challenges posed by our mono-product economy is for Nigerians to identify with made in Nigeria products. Nigerians must buy Nigerian products and patronise local services in Nigeria. We have to buy the Naija products to grow the naira. People often associate locally made product to poor quality and bad taste. That is not necessarily true. The quality of made in Nigeria will get better as we insist include more quality controls in our processes. Rome wasn’t built in a day. At Timi.Dabiri, we use good quality products, adhere to best quality, our prices are affordable and our shoes are beautiful and unique.
The plan for the future is for our products to be recognised and used worldwide. Presently we are already getting orders from outside of Lagos. We want to be able to employ more hands in the business as it is growing and even start up classes and workshop for more people who are willing to learn these skills.
Timi Emiowei is the CEO/Shoe Maker of Timi.Dabiri in Lagos, Nigeria