Meet Leah, the female shoe maker!
She’s the founder of D’Leah Wears, a shoe making brand focused on creating quality.
She shared her journey into shoemaking with Founder Africa.
Tell us a little about yourself
I am Oluwadamilola Leah Ogunleye, the founder and creative director of D’Leah Wears. A native of Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria, I studied English Language at Ekiti State University, Nigeria.
Hand Crafts is really a hobby for me and I just enjoy anything that has to do with creativity and innovation then bringing it into reality with my hands.
What inspired the idea for a shoe making business?
Well, my quest for creativity and innovation led me to this path, I love crafts and creating things with my hands which is the reason I learnt so many craft works, bags, belts, shoes, sandals etc.
About a year ago, I was into importation of wears, shoes and the likes, I then discovered a good number of them were of inferior quality and I could make more quality and durable footwear here in Nigeria. Then D’Leah wear kicked off.
What has been your most exciting moment since you started out?
I have exciting moments, but basically the first time I finally made my own footwear using my brand name. Like seeing that piece of work with D’Leah Wears on it was quite exciting. You know how it feels when a mother carries her long awaited new born baby for the first time.
Being a female shoe maker, what are some of the reactions you get when you tell people what you do?
Reactions from people have been amazing, encouraging, awkward, good and ugly. Most people feel shoe making is a man’s craft and isn’t something a lady should venture into at all.
You know a guy visited my office one day and saw me using a hammer and he was like women like me will definitely overpower my husband and I felt disturbed that how can someone utter such statement just because of my ‘hustle’, but I have learnt over time that humans will never stop talking irrespective of what you do, so do not stop doing what you do inasmuch as it pays your bills and it is legal.
Entrepreneurship is sure not an easy journey. Tell us the one thing that keeps you going.
THE FUTURE looks so good! It is sure not an easy journey, there is no journey without challenges, I am not the first that will venture into this and will obviously not be the last, but I want to create a lasting mark in this industry knowing fully well that Dangote, Mark, Bill and other top billionaires today are all entrepreneurs and they all had a very challenging beginning which is just a phase, the end is always sweet.