It was a wow moment for her but that moment was not fleeting. She said she’s always had an eye for quality, creativity and superior finishing and she found that in that moment, there could be money in the eye. Much as the same eye Bright Aferi has. Only that he did not find something as nice as a beaded flip-flop. It was the ugly sight of a tattered shoe he recently bought.
“My shoes give me confidence,” he recounted about his personal horror of a shoe going apart while he was going for lecturers.
In that pain, however, was a seed to gain.
He found quite a lot of lazy time at the University of Ghana which he dissipates on movies and moves with friends. And now mustered the time to venture into shoe-making.
The narrow road of entrepreneurship banished those early romantic ideas of being your own boss.
Joyce started on a dining table in her Auntie’s home and moving to a porch was considered valuable progress. Bright did not get it right overnight. He outsourced the shoe-making work to folks at business hub, Kantamanto in Accra and carry his shoes to his home at Oyarifa to begin deliveries.
It was a one-man business for the young man who would have seen his colleagues dusting of their CVs and landing jobs good enough to post picture of work on social media.
“It was tough for me. It was very frustrating,” he said and revealed he could only make 10 shoes a month when he began.
Today, he makes more than a 100 shoes in a month. His demand is thrice. His workforce of mainly shoe makers: 12.
“We need capital to expand,” his voice regulated his pleas. Hill Bill Shoes needs machinery, bigger work space, raw materials and more hands. He had been told in January to expect funding from the National Board for Small Scale Industries.
It is March 2019.
Joyce Owusu has marched on from her porch into a showroom, she expects to open this month. She has two container shops for production in elegant and elaborate accessories and fascinators and African print men’s wear. She says she pays six workers.
She has been doing this work full time since 2016 although she been much earlier part-time. But she struggles to get tailors and seamstresses who can reproduce exactly what her mind creates. Her eyes, those eyes, don’t always like what she sees when she outsources.
“Right now I really want to set up my own space with my own machines, employ people under my supervision,” she expressed even greater confidence in how she could improve the output of her designs if her eye worked with the hired.
Joyce Owusu has done some six years in her business. Bright Aferi has done some four years. And the two say, they would not roll back the years to their pre-entrepreneurial days.