On this interview edition, we have Adeolu Gbaja, a young Nigerian entrepreneur who designs classy custom made shoes which can easily be mistaken for imported ones for men and women at affordable prices.
The graduate First-Class Graduate of Geology and Mineral Sciences from Crawford University started his brand, Joe Maverick Shoes out of his passion for quality shoes.
In a chat with him he took us through his journey as a shoepreneur and also, shared nuggets that can help youths and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Tell us about you, and your educational background.
I’m Adeoluwa Joseph Gbaja, an ambidextrous First-Class Graduate of Geology and Mineral Sciences from Crawford University. I am a Geologist by training and I have been opportune to work & Intern with reputable companies like Lafarge Africa PLC and Shell Petroleum Development Company.
What inspires you and how did you launch into Shoe-making?
I’m inspired by Excellence, I always strive for and desire Excellence in all I do, in all I want. When I came back to Lagos from Port Harcourt and I was brainstorming on a Fashion Business to go into; I thought to myself that I love shoes and I can identify quality shoes so I should be able to source quality materials and make quality shoes.
I learnt most of all I know on YouTube and engaged the services of artisans over time to achieve the perfect quality I desire for production before I deliver all over Nigeria and Africa.
What are the factors helping you stay at the top in the shoe industry?
Excellence and Integrity. Excellence because you can attest to the fact that we don’t compromise quality for profit and Integrity because I have a policy where clients deposit so we acquire custom leather, soles, and materials to their taste/specification and on delivery they pay the balance.
Many of these people don’t know me and they still pay, I’ve had to make a refund just once since I started business for a very funny reason a women gave that she didn’t know my shoes were custom_made but rather she felt I sell designers ( the shoes were so good on pictures and in hand until she knew they were custom made). But I still made a full refund & had to bear the loss just because of my integrity.
What motivates your decision to volunteer an hour of your busy schedule to take youths on shoemaking?
I believe a lot of young people need this exposure and skill to create Jobs and empower themselves. It would be my own way of giving back and contributing my quota to empowering youths and giving something money cannot buy to my society.
Your advice to the teeming young population hustling for paid employment?
I wish them the best of luck, but Will emphasize the bitter truth that we all can’t be in the circle of paid employment because of the large number of graduates and few job opportunities available for youth to compete for.
So, more of us have to acquire skill and create our own jobs first then employ as many as possible so we can all be happy and busy making money.
Adeolu Gbaja will be taking a Free Fundamentals of Shoemaking Session at Espact Academy’s #60MinsWithEspactists on Saturday, March 23, 2019.
Are you interested? If yes Register Here