Goodness Adeosun: A creative footwear entrepreneur

Juggling her medical student life and business activities, Goodness Adeosun, a footwear maker, ensures she manufactures top-notch unisex footwear for Nigerians.

Adeosun is the founder and chief executive officer of Gudie Designs, a start-up that produces handmade unisex footwear in Ibadan.

Adeosun, a 500-level undergraduate medical student, says she started making shoes in 2016 but established her business in 2018. “I remember making one of my first pairs of footwear (sandals) for my cousins who came from abroad for a visit.

“I also made a lot of sandals and corporate shoes for myself, which my schoolmates commended.”

Adeosun says she used N1,500 to kickstart her business in 2016. “At that time, the cost of production for footwear was cheaper. I also got support from my mum and friends,” she says.

To deepen her knowledge on shoe-making, Adeosun took a course in leather which helped identify the best quality of leather for footwear production.

On content creation and advertising, she says that she borrowed her friend’s iPhone to take good pictures, which she uploaded on Facebook and reached a wider audience.

“I generate more capital from the sales I made via Facebook. In the long run, I had to increase the price of my product. Also, a friend advised me to go to Twitter and advertise my product. My first tweet attracted 4000 likes,” she says.

“I made about 40 to 50 sales in two weeks while selling my footwear for N3,500 to N4,000. I used the money to get a new phone which deepened my advertising.”

Adeosun notes that she had people on Twitter that helped patronise her business. “I was able to generate enough funds to also rent a small shop for N18,000 per year for four years,” she says.

“By the end of 2022, I moved out to a bigger workshop. The growth of my business has been great because of my consistency and the value I add to my products.”

The young entrepreneur says she imports leather from the United Kingdom and Italy. Locally, she gets her footwear materials from God’s little Tannery Limited in Kano state.

“I find it difficult to use locally made materials because most are not top-notch quality,” she says.

On foreign exchange issues, Adeosun says that it has been challenging. “Throughout last year, I could not import any of my footwear materials because of the charges and the volatile exchange rate. So, I have reverted to quality materials already imported into the country.”

On challenges she has faced so far, Adeosun says getting customers; combining medical school work and business; getting quality materials and capital; and the current cost of doing business has been a strain.

“Juggling medical school and business has never been easy for me. I don’t think I balance the scale. The way I see it, life is uncertain, and there will always be something that can potentially derail your focus, no matter how small,” she says.

“I have learnt how to utilise my time. I am always time conscious in every activity I carry out. That is why I do not have any fun life because my 24 hours are occupied, even on Sundays. Today could be 30 percent business and school 70 percent; the next day could be the reverse. That is how we keep the journey going.”

Lamenting on the current cash crunch, she says, “It has been tough for my staff and me. Some of my staffs have not been to work for a while; some do not frequently come as they used to.

“There’s no cash to transport themselves, and even the ones that manage to come do come very late because, according to one of them in his words, “I have to trek a far distance to be able to get cash and also to manage the one I have.”

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The CEO says, “To buy fuel is a great hassle; the filling station close to us does not accept bank transfers, so we have to look for cash or wait until the power supply is restored.”

Adeosun says that after school, she will focus on her business. “After school, I plan to employ about 15 interns to teach them as they work for me in my workshop. So far, I have three staff that permanently work for me.

“On my long-term goals, I plan to expand my workshop production where everything required to make shoes will be done. I also plan to have outlets in several states and African nations like Zambia and Ghana.”

On her advice to other entrepreneurs and upcoming entrepreneurs, Adeosun says one needs to be consistent, resilient and hard working. “You cannot sit down and expect luck to come your way. You have to put in the work,” she says.

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