Raufu Ayowunmi Aishat is a young, focused female shoemaker. After graduating from the university and is jobless, she went to acquire skills in shoe making. She hasn’t looked back since she became a shoemaker, she is proud of her profession and waxing strong. Aishat is the CEO and creative director of Aeesha Shoes; her own shoe-making company.
In this interview with Women Of Rubies, Aishat talks about some of the challenges she has faced as a female shoemaker.
I always wanted to become a professional banker while i was a kid, but while growing up, I wasn’t pleased with the profession anymore. Been a shoemaker was developed out of joblessness. While on long holiday from school, I had always wanted to learn a skill and make-up artistry was what I loved and wanted to do but my cousin advised that i do something else so I went through the skill acquisition list and ticked shoe making considering the fact that I love shoes. So that was how I went from basic to advance, and from advance to been a shoe maker.
I am from a family of six. I’m from Irepolodun Local Government Area in Kwara State, but born and bred in Lagos. I am 24 years old, and a University graduate. I studied Public Administration. I started my business, Aeesha Shoes, five and half years ago.
Hmmm, joblessness inspired me to be a shoe maker. I never would have thought I would ever become a shoemaker if I wasn’t jobless. More so, my love for shoes kept me in the business. At first I was doing it for the money but I got to realize my love for shoes was more than the money I was making from the business.
Clients, individuals, friends, and family’s words of encouragement motivates me to do more. My love for leather also does. I love leather. Whenever I see a piece of leather in the market, the next thing that comes to my mind is what I can produce with the leather. It is also a sort of motivation too.
Other projects and activities
Well very soon, I intend training school kids on how to make shoes. It’s going to be conducted during the summer class and it’s going to be few days training on basics of shoe making. Also, I’m looking at bringing in machines from Italy and China to further assist the brand in the production of shoes. The industry is going wider everyday and we are still making shoes with our hands. I think we should have gone further than that, if we have machines, we will be able to perfect what we do and be able to produce more in terms of quality, quantity, and perfection.
On giving up
Yes, I had given up several times but salary jobs usually push me back. In between while running the business, I did some salary jobs. Anytime my boss messed me up at work, I would resign and pick up my business again. It happened like thrice before I finally settled down to my business.
One of the major challenges is getting an investor. It amaze me that in this generation of ours, some people will tell you that they don’t or cannot invest in a shoemaker because she is a woman or they cannot invest in you because you refused to sleep with them. Another major challenge are clients. There are some understanding clients and there are some who chose not to understand you.
Encouragement and positive clients’ feed backs. Those are my greatest reward in the business. I love to see my clients smile and happy after receiving their products.
Nigerians reactions to women in male-dominated fields
Yes, Nigerians are now accepting and respecting women in male dominated fields. You need to see the way people hold me in high esteem when I showcase what I produce or when I introduce myself as a female shoemaker, at a gathering. That is the part of the profession that I love the most (laughs)
I Am A Woman Of Rubies
I am young, creative, and I inspire people.
Final words of advice
Be consistent in everything you do and be your best because your best will take you places.
Aishat’s contact info:
Phone Number: 08092718489
Email Address: Raufuaishat@yahoo.com
Read more Interviews with Women of Rubies (HERE).