Give me a good pair of shoes and a beautiful dress and I just want to put them on and head out the doors.
People generally, love good things and love to look good. Especially when it comes to designer shoes.
Meet a hardworking man. A shoe designer and entrepreneur from Ikorodu town, Lagos State, Southern part of Nigeria, who is making Nigeria proud.
His passion for shoes begun over thirty (30) years ago when he went on a visit with his mother to former military governor of Lagos State, whom his mother was working for at the time , late Air Comodore Gbolahan Mudasiru .
The wife of the late governor had asked their kids not to forget to pick up their shoes from the shoe cobblers place and asked if he would like to go with them and pick a pair for himself, he said yes.
This is his story:
I got a pair of sandals that day but watching how shoes were made whilst there got me excited.
When my pair of sandals got spoilt, I looked for a shoe cobbler close to my house and everyday I spent four (4) hours with him learning shoe making.
I went to the shoe cobbler everyday while in secondary school and my mum never knew until I got to class 5(SS2) when she caught me with a pair of shoes. Since then, I really didn't look back.
I attended Federal College of Chemical and Leather Technology, Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria in 1993.
I obtained certificate in Footwear Manufacturing Process Introduction in Assutoria, Milan, Italy. I also obtained an Advanced National Diploma in Footwear Technology from Cordwinners College, United Kingdom (now known as University London College of Fashion).
After spending time working in the UK, In 2011, I returned home and established my shoe factory called Sola Benson Exclusive Shoes Company.
I was producing shoes for ten (10) years in Nigeria before going abroad to further my studies, so I already knew the problems of production and sales in Nigeria.
I would come to Nigeria once in a while to familiarise myself with how the business works and decided to return home from Ireland were my family and I lived.
I also realised that the Nigerian youths were not empowered and footwear business did not have the right expatriates in Nigeria.
I decided it would be best to relocate my company to Nigeria.
Nigeria is one of the largest countries that exports leather. About 90% of our leather is exported.
I get my leather from Mushin, Lagos State. Though we have so much of our leather coming from Kano. I get my materials at Mushin when supply arrives from Kano. I do not import any of my raw materials.
I now live and work at Ikorodu. Due to the high rate of people seeking work, i decided to train around 100 people who are interested in learning the trade. People who are unable to go to the university. We have a training institution called Sola Benson
Exclusive Shoes Training Institute at Ikorodu, Lagos, Nigeria.
All they need do is buy the materials they would be using during the training.
The plan is to run this programme for two and a half years, which already has started.
I would like to see Ikorodu turn into a shoe making city in the future.
I have designed shoes for people like Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu and Ooni of Ife. His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi.
I make all sorts of shoes and styles. For young and old. I make shoes for everyone.
My business is growing and I'm getting a lot of people, even graduates come to train.
I am doing what I truly love and getting joy from it.
My name is Adesola Omotayo Benson and I'm sparkling.