Mr. Ahmed Musa, is an indigene of Kogi state, but resides in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In this interview with Johnson John, he disclosed how he earned substantial amount of money while doing his shoemaking business and how he is seeking to leave a mark in the industry with his handmade shoes, which he label ‘Armstrong Special’.
How did ‘Armstrong special’ starts as a business?
Ever since I was in my JSS 3, I’ve had this passion for shoemaking. Armstrong Special is unique in footwear production, producing both male and female shoes, scandals etc for the past ten years.
How were you able to raise capital as a young entrepreneur?
If I say it was easy, I will be lying, but due to the passion I had for the business, I had to do other neighbouring works, just to raise the start-up funds and due to my commitment, I got support from an old family friend. That was how I raised capital for start-up.
What are the challenges you have encountered in doing this business?
The challenges I face on daily bases are enormous: first was raising the initial capital for the startup. Another major challenge is competition with the big guys that has already made a standard in the industry and also getting people to patronize your work was serious.
But as we all know, a man’s work will also speak for him and thank God for my passion and tireless commitment, today I get enough commendations and that alone is satisfactory.
Why do Nigerians patronize foot wears from abroad more?
The true fact about that matter is standard. It is not that we in Nigeria do not produce good foot wears, but Nigerians like foot wears from overseas.
Is there any association in Abuja that regulates things in the industry?
We have an association, but from all indications the leaders are not serious in taking the industry in Abuja to its next level. So it is ineffective.
How do you market your products?
At the moment i don’t market my product myself, it’s my customers that do the marketing. Being sincere with my customers, both with prices and time, gives them the boldness to talk to their friends, colleagues etc about my products and even at that the products design speaks of itself.
In my 10years in this business, I’ve trained more entrepreneurs in footwear production and with support from the government I am willing to do more to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country.