‘Men Get Intimidated When They See Me’ -Adeola Laketu Jaiyeola
Adeola Laketu Jaiyeola, is a young Nigerian entrepreneur and CEO of Biike’s Castle, a foot wear making outfit. Supplying clients with handmade male and female foot wears has brought fame and fortune to her. She is delighted that she is patronised by “the rich, famous and even those who cannot really afford an expensive pair of designer shoes.” And this has sustained the business since 2008. Jaiyeola is a graduate of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, where she studied Plant Breeding and Seed Technology. In this interview with Awele Isiuwe, reporter, she speaks on what inspired her to venture into this vocation that is dominated by men. Excerpts:
What does it take to be in shoe making business and what progress have you made so far?
In general, the shoe business requires a lot of focus, passion and creativity and the advancement involves gradual process, in the sense that your creativity makes you deliver and stand out.
What inspired you to go into shoe making business?
Really my inspiration came when I saw a disabled neighbor of mine doing exceptionally well in shoemaking business, but he was always being cheated because of his speech and hearing challenges. So I walked up to him and begged him to allow me work for him as a personal assistant or customer agent for free so that I could help him talk and relate with his customers effectively. He agreed and then I knew I had no choice than to learn sign language in other to communicate with him effectively and since then my passion grew for making shoes, more so I acquired other training from more people in the business.
Who are your clients, and how is the financing so far?
By God’s grace, I make all kind of shoes and sandals for men, women and children, both in Nigeria and outside the country. But basically, I focus more on men’s shoes, because they are more technical, challenging but very profitable. So far, so good the investment has been very encouraging, and thanks to my family and friends and wonderful customers, who believe in what we do.
Many people prefer foreign made foot wears with designer labels. How do you manage to remain in business and how much do you earn on daily basis?
I manage it well by making the products very affordable. Our list price for a pair of shoes is N5, 000 and the highest price is N25,000 depending on what the client needs. But we make very good quality products and being a female in the shoe making business, clients always give me a chance to see what I can do and for that reason we are always busy with lots of orders to meet. I make more than five shoes daily; and my profit margin has been growing with time.
The shoe making business is generally known to be a man’s job; it is time consuming. So how do you cope as a mother and a wife?
I enjoy what I do, it’s my passion and I thank God that I’m married to my best friend because he has been so supportive from day one, so to say that it is a business for men makes it more interesting because men get so intimidated when they see me work and with that I know I have my space already without stress.
What have been your challenges so far in this business?
There have been lots of challenges like raising funds for production, power supply and having to convince customers that you can actually get the very best of product from Nigeria rather than pay more to get it outside the country. I want to encourage youths all over the world that whatever it is you have passion for no matter how small, don’t think it can’t be big, develop it, ask questions from people in the same field, attend trainings, and at the end you will be an employer of labour.