Our Ladyboss this week is uber inspiring! Omoye Abulimen quit an air conditioned office to sit under a tree and under the hot sun to start making shoes. It reads sensational but that is Omoye story. Omoye started her business alone but today she has over 2000 clientele. How did she deal with the naysayers who told her she was crazy? How did she navigate challenges that comes with being an entrepreneur? CEO “De’ Chayil Shoes” opens up on all these and the not so many lessons she has learned on her entrepreneurial journey. Enjoy!
Can you briefly describe yourself and your business? Thank you for having me, I’m Omoye Abulimen, 24 years young & some call me Miss Good shoes ??
I am a graduate of Human Resource Management from Bells University but at 24years had to leave my 9-6 paying job to pursue my dreams of being an entrepreneur. I’m into manufacturing footwear, bags, belts and other leather goods for male and female gotten from 100% genuine animal skin leather particularly to meet the peculiar need of everybody’s footwear needs. The brand is called Dé Chayil Footwears, Initially it was a hobby but then I went to a shoe making Academy to learn all I know. I started without adequate funds to the point that I even had to sell my most ‘prized possession’ but since the inception of my business the support has been massive and I owe it all to God.
What is it like being a female entrepreneur, and why did you chose to be one Entrepreneurship is a bitter sweet journey, you’re smiling from someone’s amazing review & satisfaction of a product & the next minute I’m crying and complaining about Nepa (Hahaha) But all in all, the joy derived from accomplishing your business purpose one client at a time is quite fulfilling, it was enough to block out the discouragement I initially got.
Initially when I started I got questions like “Why don’t you get another job to assist? Have you lost your mind? What happens to your degree in HRM? What if this venture doesn’t work? However, amidst these questions I couldn’t stop fantasising about the romantic relationship I had with leather lol. So it was the love for what I do that kept me and still keeps me going.
What new innovation have you introduced to your business?There’s been quite a number, from creating one pair that can be worn in 4 different ways i.e sandals | Slippers & interchangeable color straps to the personalized Dé Chayil luxury gift set. Improving everyday is inevitable to the brand.
What will you say is responsible for your success so far? I would say Grace & consistency, Dé Chayil would be two years in December & I can say consistency has been a Huge factor, working to improve on all areas daily is my aim and passion for what i do can’t not be overemphasized.
In your opinion, would you say that there are any unique challenges that female entrepreneurs face? Personally as a female, My skills have been doubted ? results do the convincing! Many are of the notion that women should be limited to certain vocations and roles, I don’t agree to that! If a man can be a shoemaker, why can’t I be a better shoemaker? I mean take for example if I had listened to all those that tried to discourage me, I wouldn’t make it this far. When I started my business with little funds I was even duped but I didn’t quit! It will be tough, I mean there are days I wanted to quit but it was always worth it.
What values and principles have helped you so far? I have learnt that growth is a process & it’s stage by stage, I understand that to be efficient you cannot rush or short cut the process. Short cut may cut you short in the end. I allow growth, I seek to understand the lesson and the blessing at every stage there is. Another is to maintain the best standard there is for shoes!
Why did you decide to go into this particular line of business? To be honest, I love leather & everything I can do with it ?Bringing my imagination to reality was a wowzer for me, meeting the peculiar demands of different peoples footwear needs was the foundation of footwear designing for me.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and what’s kept you going? Lack of constant electricity has been a huge challenge for my business, the cost of production is tripled due to the constant use of Generator (sobs) but amidst all I have to keep going past the tough days because I have clients I cannot afford to disappoint lol.
What’s your five-year plan for your business?To be a global reliable footwear brand rising from Nigeria.
What do upcoming female entrepreneurs need to do to be successful in this path? I would advice them to work smart, stay consistent, provide great value & don’t deviate from your purpose. Also, know what you want, have a dream, work & have faith like no man’s business, don’t give up and be consistent! You will pull through eventually.
The LLA Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could possibly be featured.