Aba Made shoes have had a reputation comparable to inferior footwear and the notion has made it almost impossible for high quality, genuine footwear to thrive in the local market, talk less of the global shoe industry.
However, we at Gada Africa had an expository discussion with an Aba shoe manufacturer who has carved a niche for his locally made shoes, that stands independent off the general paradigm of made in Aba shoes.
Made In Aba… Changing The Paradigm: Andrew Anya Etim (Creative Director, Shoe Planet).
With about a decade of experience in shoe making, it’s quite clear that most people are more concerned with where shoes are made other than what materials were used to make them. For instance, people mostly tend to be motivated to buy shoes with “Made In Italy” seal or engraving; caring little about the material used or even its quality. This craze about imported shoes has led many Aba shoe manufacturers to engrave on their shoes, the “Made In Italy” seal; because they sell more. And this is mostly done to trick the customer into buying on the one hand, and on the other, to satisfy the customer’s perception of buying a quality item because it’s “imported”.
As a shoe manufacturing establishment, shoe planet has experienced its own share of down sales as a result of engraving “Made In Nigeria” on its shoes. We eventually resolved to remove the “Made In Nigeria” seal and simply engrave our name; “Shoe Planet”. Surprisingly, sales went up and we have continued with our company name engraving on our shoes. The concern for where the shoe is made other than the quality has become a challenge for we the manufacturers; and for the consumer, the challenge of identifying quality shoes.
In addressing the consumers’ challenge of identifying quality shoes, materials and process of production determines the quality of the shoes. Leather is considered the best material for shoes because of its friendliness to the skin first, and its durability second. Our shoes are mostly made of authentic leather and this has made our customers to keep coming back because we source them locally, which also confirms their authenticity. However, real leather is quite expensive and thus the option of using other materials like synthetic leather and ankara, which is also excellent for patterns and presentation.
Shoes are either handcrafted or machine made. At shoe planet, most of our shoes are handcrafted, not by choice but as a result of insufficient machines. With more machines, our production capacity will increase and our finishing made perfect. Admitting that the quality of a shoe doesn’t just end with the material used, we ensure that the processes we engage in making them,(whether handcrafted or machine), is done skillfully. And because we strive for excellence, our shoes are on demand outside Nigeria. We export to other African countries like Ghana, Rwanda and Kenya.
Shoe Planet shoes are available for sale on https://gadaafrica.com/