A social media user has stated that celebrating 45 years is not something actress Nse Ikpe-Etim should be doing if she lacks certain things in her life. The actress clocked 45-years old a few days ago and declared her new age with lovely photos on […]
It was not her elegantly style of entry into the premises that caught my attention but what she did when she sat on the small tool in one corner of the shop. She had picked a wooden shape that looked like a shoe and with her left hand she applied gum with a brush before fitting some leather material over the wooden shoe shape. Looking at the young lady inside a shop on Onanuga Street, off Olateju road in Mushin, manufacturing a shoe with such professional touch and precision, one would begin to imagine if such females still existed in this Lagos where every young girl doesn’t want to work but looking for shortcuts to earn a living.
I had to study Miss Ogunmola Anuoluwapo for a few minutes before I was tempted to meet this young and beautiful lady. Miss Anuoluwapo, a graduate of Lagos State College of Health Technology is a talented female cobbler who had taken the male dominated profession to another level.
I asked Miss Anuoluwapo, “How did you get into this profession?” and with her charismatic smile she said:
“One day, I went to the market and saw some young guys designing sandals and I was amazed and deep inside me I felt I can do it. So after my study at the college, I decided to go into another kind of school where I spent four years under someone else instead of my father”
Miss Anuoluwapo told me that her father was a cobbler but at the time she got interested in the profession, he was not fully into it because he was working for the government. The interest to go into the business fully was when her father saw her and so decided to take up the business full time.
According to Miss Anuoluwapo, she grew up in a family where she was trained to believe in handwork since her mother is a seamstress. She said while her classmates had gone to work as ad-hoc environmental health officers also known as “Ecomog”( A platform with no salary structure except monies made during raids that is shared among the officers) she had opted to create a job for herself.
When asked about the challenges of the business, she mentioned two major concerns. The first one was regular supply of electricity to power-up her machinery and the second one was lack of an industrial machine. She said the sewing machine that she is currently using is only for straight lines and that there is a limit to what it can do and the type of leather it can sew.
I further asked her if she was not intimidated by her male colleagues and she smiled.
“I have one major advantage – I can do both male and female shoes and I know what is trending for the young girls and women. It is not all male cobblers that can do such.”
Miss Anuoluwapo is not just all about beauty but also brains. This young talented has chosen a path to carve out a niche in the shoe designing business. When other young ladies like her are going about claiming to be Slay Queens and Slay mamas; she has decided to slay materials and make them obey her commands by transforming them into whatever designs she desires and at the same time build a brand. She has decided to be the “Slay Cobbler”.
She said she is able to sell her products through referrals from families and friends.
“There is no type of shoe I cannot make including military boots given the right tools and machine. Show me your design and you will see a better work” She boasted confidently.
For Anuoluwapo, her dream is to be known worldwide as one of the best in the industry and also to set up a school for the younger generation to teach them how to use this business to create a place for themselves in the society. To her, it is her own way of giving back to society.
I believe it is time; we bring this young lady into limelight and expose her talent and products to the world. Female cobblers are rare in Nigeria and so we should promote her and encourage her by buying her products and even sponsor her to upgrade her skills in the business.
Anuoluwapo when given the platform can be an inspiration to younger girls.
For more on her works, visit her on:
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