Nigeria’s got talent people!
It was an honour interviewing ‘Outfeet’ boss, footwear maker and designer – Seun Solace Ogunlaja!
A one time school mate who has turned out pretty well today and is carving a niche for himself in the footwear industry, becoming one of the most recognised brands around.
His expertise in the footwear business is undeniable, His dedication and creativity is apparent. So, If you need quality male footwear, Outfeet is the place to go.
This interview will definitely spur you on to do great things.
And the best part is, I was gifted with a nice shoe from his beautiful collections. *winks*
Read the interview below.
Can we meet you please? Let’s take a peek into your world.
My name is Seun ‘solace ‘ Ogunlaja. I am the founder/CEO of OUTFEET Nigeria. I hail from Ogun state, Nigeria. I am an Electrical and Electronics Engineering graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University. I’m in my 20’s. I am a really cool guy but quite shy (Laughs). I’m also a songwriter and recording artiste with a good number of songs to my credit.
Please tell us a little bit what Outfeet is about?
Outfeet Nigeria is a top emerging footwear making/solution brand. We make quality international standard foot wears from high grade materials. Our brand motto is ‘Quality, Comfort, Class’ and these are the three key parameters that make up our designs.
We strive to achieve 100% positive feedback from our customers. We won’t stop giving our customers the best.
How did you start this business and how did you get funded?
The OUTFEET dream started sometime in 2014 back in my university days. I worked with a top online fashion retail outlet, playing many roles like – the delivery guy, online sales rep, store keeper and several other functions. With this experience, I developed interest in fashion and it’s retailing aspect. Today, I’m applying some of those experiences.
I remember seeing the elegant imported shoes on sale in our display room and wished to have them made in Nigeria. So, I enrolled for a course in leather works and trained under some shoemakers. It wasn’t easy going from my residence in festac to ketu almost everyday. We finally started OUTFEET Nigeria very early in 2016 and some of those awesome shoemakers are a part of my team.
My initial funding was mostly from my NYSC savings and my family. Their support is unparalleled. They were my first customers. I remember making shoes for them and they paid generously for it.
How has the response and patronage been so far?
The response has been really great, though initially I was really struggling with convincing my potential customers that those really great foreign shoes they see can be made here and it will be as durable, if not more. But we are gradually carving a niche and building our client base. It gets better by the day.
How did you make your first sale?
My first sale outside my family/friends circle was achieved after a series of ads I did on facebook. I still remember my first customer “Susan” and the particular shoe she made for her husband. This was the first time I got paid for doing what i love. It felt so good.
So right now do you have an office or it’s in the works?
For now, we have a workshop but I don’t carry out my business there. That’s like the ‘kitchen’. I do my business online efficiently and believe me, that’s the best office. A lot of people may say you are not serious if you don’t have a physical office. But as we know, the internet has made it possible to do virtually everything online. This includes setting up and operating businesses. This is why companies with ‘branches nationwide’ are exploiting the opportunities made available by the internet. For instance, instead of us having a physical interview with clients far away, we can do an ‘online interview’ to save both parties the stress of having a physical meeting. Moreover, most buyers don’t have the luxury of time to go shopping, and the nearest and most convenient marketplace for them is online. We are on numerous online platforms- jumia market, Jiji, efritin, Olx,etc and on social media – facebook, instagram, twitter,etc.
This doesn’t mean that having a physical office is of no importance. We are still an emerging brand and a time will come when having a physical office or factory will be inevitable. Right now we’re focused on building our online clientele. We have a structure that ensures prompt delivery of service to our customers.
You make some of these nice looking shoes, do you source for your own materials?
Sadly, we use foreign materials for now because our own indigenous materials are not yet 100% durable and reliable. Part of our vision is to produce our own quality leather of international standards, making our footwear 100% Nigerian from start to finish.
What distinguishes you from your competitors?
Well, what makes us stand out from our colleagues is the zeal for perfection and a great passion to push the Nigerian Shoe making industry to the world. This is evident in every single pair of footwear we make.
So who is your target audience? Young people? Elderly? Toddlers?
Wow! My target audience is pretty wide. We’ve made foot wears for politicians, military people, business moguls, students, etc. We recently started making shoes for kids in school. No matter your choice of style, status or budget, we have something you can afford and meets your taste. We have our custom made options that cater to customers that want prototypes of shoes they may have seen somewhere and want exactly the same footwear. We also produce shoes for some of our wonderful customers with extra-large sizes or irregular foot to ensure they are also trendy.
I’ve seen a couple of your adverts on social networks, How else do you market your products?
By physical networking. We plan making our presence significant at events and fashion fairs this year. But for now, it’s basically online
Many. Internal challenges are mostly when there’s an influx of orders from clients to when none is forthcoming. We still have the challenge of convincing customers to pay before delivery. We stopped making for ladies because apart from the few in Nigeria that buy ankara shoes/bags which we don’t specialize in, the rest have this foreign taste (Gucci, fendi, Prada) syndrome. We hope they’ll embrace Nigerian fabricated foot wears.
What should we expect from you in few years time?
We hope to metamorphosize to OUTFEET Africa within the next 5yrs. Even though we currently deliver our products to other countries like Ghana, Benin, Togo, South Africa; We hope to have a base in major African cities and become Africa’s leading brand. From there, we can take over the world, one continent at a time.
How can you be reached and how can people see your products and place their order?
I can be reached physically, through my mobile lines and on social networks.
Thank you for your time Mr Outfeet and I wish you the best.
You’re most welcome. I actually enjoy articles on your blog. I am fascinated by the fact that you are very down to earth and original.
You can reach Outfeet’s boss, Seun Solace Ogunlaja on social media platforms –
Facebook : Seun solace Ogunlaja || Emperor Solace
phone number is +2347031529341(whatsapp line)
For potential clients, order placements and to link up and know more about our business contact us on the following—
+2347010108934(whatsapp) || +2348181486818 || +2347031529341
Facebook : OUTFEET Nigeria