In an era of unprecedented global technological transformation, students face an uncertain future full of complex, global, social and environmental issues.
In an era where students are driven by the sole interest of securing white collar jobs in government and private institutions, some peculiar individuals have dared to become entrepreneurs, to become job providers instead of job seekers.
On this segment of “My weekly entrepreneur”, we journey to the city of Kaduna to bring you an extraordinary individual who dared to do the improbable, to become an entrepreneur. At this juncture I will allow him to introduce himself.
Mr. Kasali: Thank you campus entrepreneurs hub for having me, it is such an honor to be given the privilege to share my story. My name is Bashir Kasali Oloriegbe, CEO Bash Kasali Premium shoes (BK premium shoes).
I am a 400 level student at Bayero University Kano, studying Civil Engineering. I am 24 years old and I reside in Kaduna state.
M. Bashir: It is lovely to have you Mr. Kasali. What are BK premium shoes if I may ask, obviously from the name I know u make shoes. But we want to know more, how did you think to start making shoes and why shoes?
Background of BK premium shoes
Mr. Kasali: Thank you, as the name implies, in BK premium shoes, we make shoes both male and female of different designs, sizes and styles. We also make costume shoes, where our consumers come with their designs and we construct.
I started learning shoemaking 2015 after graduating from secondary school, and I started my own practice 2017. As to why I choose shoemaking, I guess it is because of the love I have for shoes.
People have legs of different sizes and shapes. For instance mine are slim, long and slide curved, whenever my parents bought me shoes it hardly fits.
I started thinking of ways to solve my problem myself. I could remember the first time I took a cardboard paper and drew both my feet on it and then proceeded to make my own shoe with the help of my boss.
It was the best feeling ever. Since then shoemaking became my passion, I wanted people to feel the same satisfaction I had when I wore the first shoe I made for myself.
M. Bashir: Thank u Mr. Kasali. It is amazing how you transformed your personal problem into a lucrative business. And I think that’s one of the basic principles of entrepreneurship, to solve not just your problem but the problem of the society as whole.
It has been roughly three years now since you started your business, given the state of affairs in our country, you must have encountered lots of challenges. We would love for you to share with us some of the challenges you faced and how you were able to overcome them.
Challenges faced and how he overcame them
Mr. Kasali: Thank you. Yes it is very true that running a business while being a student having very little access to capital and sponsorship is extremely challenging.
But Alhamdulillah, I have my family and close friends to thank, they were my first customers. One of the major problems I had was shoe size specification.
Most people don’t know their shoe size and that always was a major huddle when dealing with customers that are not close. There was this one time, I was about to resume school, when a couple of my course mates asked me to make shoes for them.
I used my upkeep money to buy materials for the shoe, hoping that when I bring them the shoe they will pay up and I will use the money for the intended purpose..Lol.
On reaching school, they tried the shoes and all didn’t fit, not even a single one. You can imagine my frustration, well to cut the long story short, I spent a whole week being fed by a friend after which I was lucky to sell the shoes. Moving forward I took specifications seriously and I ensured I kept a record of my customer’s shoe size.
And also, recently my Instagram account got hacked. I lost most of my followers out of which most were my customers. But with God’s help my new account is also getting recognition and I am getting my followers back gradually.
M. Bashir: Oh my goodness…I can only imagine your frustration. And you are very accurate, it is not long I got to know my own shoe size. Shoemaking is obviously a very competitive business. We have lots of shoemakers out there. we would like to know how you were able to survive in the shoemaking market. What is your marketing strategy?
Mr. Kasali: Thank you for this nice question. I am a person that easily made new friends and that is my core marketing strategy. I make new friends everywhere I went, and I didn’t waste a moment in telling them I make shoes.
I took every medium to advertise my business. I converted all my social media handles to business accounts. Also, I would like to mention that it is hard to differentiate my shoes from foreign shoes. I always made shoes that were of the highest quality possible, so basically they sell themselves.
M.Bashir: That is indeed an amazing marketing strategy, “make your friends your customers, and your customers your friends”. Mr. Kasali, Where do you see BK premium shoes in the next five years?
Mr. Kasali: BK premium shoes are not just a side hustle for me, it is my life’s work. I have learned a lot of things and have grown as a human as a result.
My relationship with customers, the work itself, and Meeting professional shoemakers. Learning and also teaching the art, it has become an integral part of me.
In the next five years, I hope to build BK premium shoes into a reputable brand, employ professional shoe makers, and also start making hand bags too.
I also want to teach others the art of shoemaking. In light of that, I am currently working on starting a YouTube channel, where I share videos on how to make shoes and hand bags.
M.Bashir: We wish you success in your endeavors. In conclusion, what word of advice do you have for students and young entrepreneurs out there?
Words of encouragement
Mr. Kasali: Amen and thank you. My advice to students and young entrepreneurs out there is, we need to all stand on our feet while wearing BK premium shoes…lol. The society you live in needs you, we all have our unique talents and skill set, harness it.
Try and be productive, leave a legacy. Education is very important, but having handwork is equally important. Not everybody will be opportune to have the two, when you do I implore you to make the best of it.
Thank you very much to the entire team and staff of campus entrepreneurs hub, the work you are doing is priceless may God reward you abundantly. Thank you all!!!!
M. Bashir: Thank you Mr. Kasali it was so nice having you here with us. We wish you success and blessings. Thank you.
To our lovely audience, don’t forget to comment, subscribe and follow us on twitter @Campus entrepreneurs hub. See you next week on another amazing segment of My Weekly entrepreneur I remain your host Muhammad Bashir Muhammad.
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