Harira Siman is one of the few creative and intelligent young ladies in this part of the country. Down-to- earth and easy-going, Harira is currently an ND11 student at Kaduna Polytechnic. She is one of the persons that do not want to be a burden on her parents hence she decided to make herself self-reliant. She spoke to ABUABAKAR ABBA about her challenges and why she ventured into shoe-making. Excerpt…
When did you venture into shoes- making business?
Well, I started making shoes in December 2014, I have lifted a small burden from my parents as I use the proceeds from my business to pay for my handouts and other necessary materials I need for my education.
Why did you venture into shoe- making business?
I decided to venture into shoe-making business because I have a passion for making shoes and to also become an employer of labour to the teeming unemployed youths in the society. The business is quite lucrative, I am not after the monetary gains, but my aim is to contribute my quota to the society and become a role model to other youths who are still adamant of getting white collar jobs when they finish school.
Making an entry into shoe business is fairly easy if you are focused. There are no significant barriers to entry, such as stringent government regulations or prohibitive capital expenses. You can start your own shoe store with as little as N10,000, depending on your inventory selection and shoe location because the right location is extremely critical to the success of a shoe retail store. Shoe-making business entails a lot of hard work and dedication, but in the end, when the final product comes out, you will be so proud of yourself. I have been able to empower two people at my age.
When I started, I was very scared, starting a new business is not easy in this country, but with the support of my parents, family and friends, I know the sky is my limit and I have started to see the rewards. Presently, I make about N60, 000 (net profit) per month. And you know there are some graduates in this country that their monthly salaries are not up to half of that amount, why then should I insist on a white collar job. By the time I finish school, if the job comes, fine, but if it does not, I know I have already set up myself in life. I work hard and put in my very best into this business.
Apart from making shoes, what business do you run?
Yes, apart from making shoes, I am also into making uni-sex T- shirts which are part of my collection called ‘Ferraia collection’ because I don’t want to be part of those people waiting for a white collar job which leads to waste of time. So, I want to advise the youth to learn how to save; no matter how little and find something they are talented at doing.
What are some of your major achievements since you ventured into your business?
There was a time a customer placed an order from her work place; when her colleagues saw the shoes I made for her, they were delighted with my shoes and they made massive orders which in turn, boosted my confidence and morale because it really showed they were pleased with my work.
Another challenge I face is combining the business with my education and non-payment of goods supplied to customers is another challenge.
Has the power supply been your challenge?
Actually, power supply has not been a big challenge to me because where I make shoes has adequate supply of electricity. Even if it is off, it’s just for a while before it will be restored.