The Beautiful Female Shoe Cobbler That Is Gradually Building A Multimillion Business For Herself.

One thing I want to make the readers understand is this, you are in control of your life. Nothing moves unless you move it, do not be afraid of taking risks. ~ Ezeanochie Lilian

The quicker you realize that your school certificate & skill acquisition should go hand in hand, whether it's a high school or university certificate - The better it will be. It's not enough to boast of being a graduate when you can't even boast of a reasonable income flow from a reliable source - a source you've created for yourself.

There is definitely nothing wrong with being a university graduate, a degree holder, or whatever the title is. It's important to note that having the skill to compliment it will take you places.

We don't often hear of women graduates who rise to prominence exhibiting a unique skill like this one. (most are just trapped in the cubicle) in politics, or simply in entertainment. Which seems like the easy fix 

In fact, it looks like the entrepreneurship boat is full of men, but in recent times, we're beginning to hear and see women take up the challenge and doing awesome things that are inspiring a new generation.

Our guest, Ezeanochie Lilian who resigned about twice from a 9-5 job, shares her story and the process she went through before establishing her own fashion business (in the footwear industry).
Lilian is ambitious, she has got her game on and she believes so much in what she does. She serves as a pillar of motivation to many, and tons of people directly & indirectly look up to her as a role model.

Although not the world's first female cobbler we've seen around, & definitely won't be the last, but her passion for what she does is what inspired this interview. You might have come across a few of her kind, but her story is one that interests a lot of people. How she values her art beyond just the monetary benefits that come with it truly amazes a lot of people.

=> Dear Lilian thank you so much for honouring our request to interview you on our platform - Hope you are doing great today?

Yes, I'm doing great, thank you for asking and I'm happy to be here.

=> Can you tell us about yourself and what you do?

Like you said earlier my name is Ezeanochie Lilian Ogochukwu, and I'm from Anambra State, I'm into fashion and designing, but now I'm mainly concentrating on shoemaking, belt and bag designs.

=> Your story is quite a fascinating one, especially based on what you said during the pre-interview session, you mentioned that you quit your job twice then finally made up your mind to focus on your business. Before deciding to do this full-time, were you scared & skeptical?

Yes, indeed I actually quit my job about two to three times, I was scared and skeptical at the same time. It wasn't an easy decision, me leaving a job that I know I'm guaranteed to be paid by the end of the month for something I'm not quite sure (at the time) will pay me by the end of every month.

But I was determined, and have made up my mind, my fear and skepticism were not enough to stop me. It was a risk I was willing to take. I told myself, anyone who is not courageous enough to take risk will accomplish nothing in life.

=> Can you tell us more about your industry, I mean! How's running this type of business like? The challenges and the beautiful sides of it.

Stressful I will say, because I'm alone. This kind of work requires a lot of hands on deck, and division of labour. You know, when you have enough people it makes it easy, and the workload is shared which will improve production. Thank God for our country Nigeria, but you know the state of electricity in this country, and that is one of my major challenges.

My business requires the use of machines and these machines run on electricity. So, not being able to have steady power supply is a huge setback for my work.

And I cannot always afford a generator and the cost that comes with it seeing that the business is still starting up. Another major challenge I face is funding. The beautiful side of the business is seeing my work, and knowing that I made it. That sense of accomplishment is what makes it beautiful.

=> Why did you choose to be a shoe cobbler, what really picked your interest?

There are so many things I could have chosen, but I wanted to do something unique, something that is not easily associated with women, and at the same time bring out the creativity in me. I wanted something that will make me stand out.

A shoe cobbler is an inventor and a designer, and that is one of the things that picked my interest. I also chose to be a shoe cobbler because I want to change the notion in our society about shoe cobbling and women. And I plan to achieve this through diligent, hardworking and perfection.

=> Do people sometimes look at you weirdly when you reveal that you are a shoe cobbler, and how do you deal with "get a real job" kind of people?

Yes, pretty much all the time. Some people have advised me to leave the business. I have actually received calls from people telling me that this business does not suit me. To be a cobbler is mainly known to be a man's only job, some have even said its very stressful for a lady.

But then I will tell them, so is life. Life is stressful, nothing in life comes easy, this is something I've made up my mind to do. I enjoy what I do. My work is part of me. Not even the stress can stop me from doing it.

=> How do you feel whenever you come across nonambitious people particularly women who are just relying solely on someone else to offer them tips for survival?

I guess everyone is not the same. I'm the type that like fending for myself. I believe I'm fully responsible for my life and what Ill become. Its already embedded in my brain that nobody owes me anything; not even my parents.

So, when I come across people especially women, knowing fully well that everyone is not the same, I try to encourage them to know that they have everything it takes to make a difference.

I tell people you cant keep depending on people, there is something you can offer. Do not limit the things you can do. We are the only limitation to our success and potentials.

=> Can you tell us, what are the entry barriers that anyone willing to learn this type of skill and run it as a full-time business will face?

I know when faced with this question, the first thing that comes to the mind is finance, but truly it's not. Finance is just one aspect, but what I think the biggest barrier is, is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, You just have to find a way to let the fear know that you are not afraid. Also like I mentioned, funding is one of them.

In as much as you don't need a lot to start, you still need some money, the equipment and materials are quite expensive. Another big one is finding customers. So, you have to come up with good strategies and ideas of how to advertise your product. And you have to present a quality product to your clients/customers.

=> How do you intend to impact the lives of those who you'll come across, who want to learn from you?

One of my joys as an entrepreneur is passing on my skills to people who are willing to learn. There is this saying that your skill is useless if you cannot pass it on to someone else. Though we are still starting up, we have a mini-acquisition centre where I train those that want to learn. The goal is to help establish and equip people, especially women.

=> Where are you in your business now and where do you envision your business in the next 2 years from now?

I will say that we are in the start-up phase, one thing that is very important to every business is progress, as long as we are making progress. Right now, we are still producing in small quantity because we lack funds. We work by our daily plan, two years from now, we must have increased in production and manpower.

=> How were you able to raise the first round of funds to start up the business, and to purchase all the materials & necessary equipment needed?

Finance has always been a challenge, and still is, raising the fund was not easy. In fact, right now I have a sewing machine which I remodified so that I can be able to use it to sew footwears, in addition to that, I have one filing machine. The money that I used to start was what I saved up and a little help from family and friends.

=> Would you mind sharing some of the lessons you've learned along the way, now that you run your own business?

Running a business can be very scary unless you try it out, you can't really know if you will fail or succeed, and that is one thing I've learned. I have learned not to be afraid of failure, failure is a sign that you are making progress.

With determination, commitment, and hard work, you can achieve anything. I have learned to trust and believe in myself, I tell people, if I can run my own business you can do it too. Also, running a business will bring all kind of people into your life, so wisdom and discipline are a must have characteristics.

=> What is the worst & best moments you've had, either with a client or something else?

Like I said earlier, running a business opens you up for weird things. I've had both worst and best moments, that's why its called business, but I have chosen to focus on the best ones. Nonetheless, I just want to talk about this moment I had, and I find it very amusing.

One time I received a call from this man, and he was promising to do a lot of things for me but with conditions, you know how it goes so I'm not getting into details. I found it very funny that he could summon such a courage and not ashamed to be saying all those things he said.

=> What advice(s) do you have for someone out there reading this, boxed up in the corner still thinking what he/she's gonna do with his or her life?

One thing I want to make the readers understand is this, you are in control of your life. Nothing moves unless you move it, do not be afraid of taking risks. I've not reached my goals yet, but I know I'll get there, I'm very positive.

There are so many things out there that you can do, choose the one you enjoy doing, and be proud of it. Do not wait until everything falls in place, take that first step. I'm into fashion, you could choose to be into music, you don't have any excuse not to try.

Don't let the society or the country deter you from fulfilling your destiny. You have so much in you to let it go to waste. You owe your generation your potentials, believe in yourself because I believe in you.

=> If you were to choose a different professional skill other than fashion & shoemaking, what would it be & why?

I can't even imagine myself doing anything else other than shoemaking. I might be good in other things, but I can't trade places with what I'm doing. I enjoy what I do, I'm proud of who I am. Like we Nigerians will fondly say, I am proud to be a shoemaker.

=> What & who has been your greatest motivation?

One thing has always kept me going, and that is the thought of what I owe my generation. This has been a very big source of motivation for me. When I remember that there's a lot I can offer my generation, it gives me joy and strength to carry on. The goals I set for myself is a big boost point for what I do.

=> How can people reach out to you in case they need to ask questions or contact you for other purposes?

I can be reached via email, my email address is:, thank you for having me on. and I'm also on facebook as well, my facebook profile can be found here:

More Pictures>>

You Might Also Like