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MUFUATU AZEEZ OLUWASEUN: SHOE MAKER/DESIGNER (ZAGGA WEARS)

So, guys we have another Shoe Maker in the House!! I don’t know how things could get any better. Azeez has been a part of the Nigerian fashion world for more than a year now, this is his story!

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Azeez was born in 1989 in his hometown Ijebu Igbo in Ogun State. Azeez attended St Johnbusto Nursery and Primary school and Deje High School both in Ijebu-Igbo. He then studied accounting at Olabisi Onabanjo University.

His mother has a business which Azeez has been a part of since age 5 so he grew up to be business-minded. Immediately after school he set out to do his own thing. He applied for jobs but things were not looking optimistic so he turned to entrepreneurship, something he was already good at.

SHOE BUSINESS

After carrying out feasibility studies, in December 2016 Azeez settled for the Shoe Business because it wouldn’t require a big capital and at the time Nigeria was in the middle of the Buy Naija Grow Naija campaign so he just tapped into the groove.

As a shoe lover with a lot of design ideas, he often cringed at the prices of Men’s shoes and since Entrepreneurship is an opportunity to make money from solving a problem, Azeez went into the business of making stylish and affordable shoes.

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Azeez works from home; he turned a room in his 3-bedroom apartment into his workshop, however, he is currently looking to expand to owning a display and retail store. For now his market is online.

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Azeez works with a partner, Ariyo Ose (@osesax) who handles social media and negotiations while Azeez concentrates on the craft. Zagga Wears also works with other social media influencers; @demolaexpoze and @ernalzz

THE ‘ZAGGA WEARS’ BRAND

Zagga Wears is registered as a Business venture with the CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission). The name Zagga is a slang coined from a famous Nigerian musician Mr Eazi, but to the team at Zagga Wears it represents trendy but affordable. For now, Zagga Wears produces Sandals, Slippers and Corporate Shoes, they only design and produce shoes for men (Size 40 being the smallest size) and Children shoes are only made on order.

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On why Zagga Wears don’t produce female footwear Azeez said;

     Honestly, ladies price Made in Naija shoes not too well. Men are more open to paying the going price.

CHALLENGES

  • Getting quality materials: To get original leather Azeez had to travel to Lagos regularly. Several months into the business he still travels once in a while but he now has suppliers that can send him leather through a road transport system.
  • Delivery: The cost of personal delivery was very high so Azeez now uses Logistics Companies. He still delivers himself within Ibadan but he has a vendor that helps with Lagos deliveries and he uses GIG Logistics for deliveries outside Lagos.
  • Pricing: Many people ask for ridiculously low prices which upset him, but now his partner, Ariyo Ose, deals with that issue by setting a base price that the shoes do not go below and pricing sizes 40 to 45 differently from sizes 46 and above.
  • Social media goodwill: It has been difficult for Zagga Wears to convince people on social media that the business is legitimate because of the many stories of scammers posing as online vendors. However, they have been able to build a good name with the help of their Influencers.

 

To make inquiries or to place orders you can reach Azeez and his team on;

  • Instagram: @ZaggaWears
  • Twitter: @ZaggaWears
  • Facebook: @ZaggaWears
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RUFAI KEYEDE: GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Hello Everyone, this time Lari’s CAFE will be profiling a Graphic Designer. The ultimate Nigerian creative; the one who every business turns to for branding. His name is *drum rolls* RUFAI KEYEDE!

What makes Rufai special? Well Rufai is not just a graphic designer, you could even call him a super hero because he also saves lives. Rufai Keyede is a graphic designer in the day and Doctor at night and Vice Versa. That’s cool yeah?

Rufai Keyede is a graphic designer born in Lagos in the late 1980’s. Rufai is from Ota Ogun state but lived all his life in Lagos. He schooled at Bright Day Nursery and Primary School, Jakande Estate, Isolo, Lagos. For secondary school he attended Oke-Afa Comprehensive College also in Lagos. After being in Lagos for so long, in 2005, Rufai left home to attend University of Ibadan to study Botany, but after a year, in 2006, he returned home and got admission at the University of Lagos to study Medicine. After graduating in 2015 Rufai says he enjoyed studying medicine but he also admitted it was tough in his final year. However, he had his internship in Katsina and his NYSC in Kano.

Leadership

In Secondary school Rufai was the Senior Prefect (Head Boy); he also held other leadership positions in the University. He was the General Secretary of the Association of Medical Students University of Lagos (AMSUL), Creative Editor of Writers’ Club Medilag and General Secretary of MSSN Medilag.

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Graphic Designing

Rufai started graphic design in 2007/2008, in his second year in medical school. It started out as a hobby so he didn’t bother getting any formal training, but he did a lot of reading online. He didn’t do any art work in his childhood asides those done in school art classes but he always had a flair for art because he always hung out with his neighbors who were fine artists and sculptors.

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Rufai is a freelancer; he designs magazines, posters and general brand construction. Rufai hasn’t had the time to build a solid brand for himself because;

Medicine is a Jealous Lover’- Rufai Keyede.

Rufai gets his inspiration from ‘Everything’. He says;

‘The whole world is our stage and every experience is something to draw inspiration from.’

Working at Mad Comics

Rufai was brought into MAD comics by one of the founders, Hafeez, a colleague from Medical school. The idea of MAD comics is to create stories that are original, African and relatable to mature audiences using comics as the art form. He started working at MAD comics in 2017 where he is in charge of Quality Control. MAD comics has a universe of characters and Rufai keeps them true to form by researching on historical and cultural nuances. Rufai also does post production editing and critique, he occasionally designs posters, letters the comics and designs the site’s blogic section (Blog + Comic).

Challenges

  • Time Management: Rufai is not willing to let go of Medicine or Graphic designing so he is a Doctor in the Day and Creative at Night depending on his call schedule. In dealing with managing his time he said;

I’ve learnt I’m no Superman… I’ve learnt to know how far I can push myself and the limits to which I can go before diminishing returns set in.

  • Infrequent Power Supply: As for bad power supply Rufai said;

I’ve learnt to prioritize the things that are most important and find work-life balance.

 

When asked, ‘If you could go back in time, what would you change?’ Rufai Keyede said;

You know the problem with time travel?… Either you are cursed to repeat the loop or you set off another cataclysmic series of event, so I guess I’m good.

 

To reach out to Rufai and check out his work you can visit;