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Kufre Abasi Jonah: Building a Custom shoe brand In Nigeria

Updated: Oct 10, 2022

"Kuffrey Jones shoemakers is a bespoke brand that creates shoes with an optimistic vision and our shoes are made to your precise description, this is our advantage. These classes of people now want personalised products, a brand they can associate with."

Q1:Tell us about your yourself:

I’m KufreAbasi Jonah, passionate about leather works. An alumnus of University of Uyo, Physics to be precise. An award winning shoemaker, An entrepreneur. I love reading and cycling. Born and raised in the very green city of Lagos, Nigeria.

Q2:What does your company do?:

What we do at Kuffrey Jones shoemakers is provide affordable home made shoes that meet the international standards which gives our clients comfort, a dash of luxury and increases their confidence. You know how you see yourself, how you carry yourself is connected to your confidence

Q3: What inspired you to start your business?:

With the desire to solve a problem which I noticed existed in the Nigerian shoe industry.

“Over the years, most shoes were imported as fairly used, to be consumed by Nigerians. Meanwhile, the materials here were just lying idle, which wasn’t helping the people and the Nigerian economy, yet our population kept increasing. This was a major economic problem few people wanted to solve in the early days,” That was what inspired me to venture into the shoemaking industry.

Q4: How do you define your business model; what differentiates your products or Services from others?:

Kuffrey Jones shoemakers is a bespoke brand that creates shoes with an optimistic vision and our shoes are made to your precise description, this is our advantage. These classes of people now want personalised products, a brand they can associate with.

Q5: Starting a business is not easy. What struggles did you experience in the infant years of your company and how did you overcome it?:

The process I took was starting out as an apprentice, I learnt the nitty-gritty of making shoes, so it was easy for me to navigate the process of production to always bring out the best. Where I had issues was setting up a business structure to run it very well which I struggle with. But now it is getting better.

Q6: What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?:

In my case, money was not the issue because I started with one pair of slippers, made money, increased the number of slippers made, and increased the production line. What I wish I knew when starting out was the business structure, the business aspect of shoemaking. It would have been a whole lot easier.

Q7: What are your 3 priorities right now:

For me, it’s the sense of fulfilling purpose, that you are align with what God has said of you keeps me going. Also how it inspires others, one day I had a conversation with a friend and she said “A young is into one of the vocational training, she believed in herself that she can do it because I was making shoes. The confidence my client gets, all have a way of keep pushing me forward.

Q8: Why do you think businesses fail in your industry?:

I will say businesses fail in my industry because of lack of patience because shoemaking is not just all about making of shoes, there is a lot of concept to it. So many business people in the industry are not that ready to be patient to put in the work to build a sustainable business.

Q11: Advice to other entrepreneurs or to your younger self?:

Increasing our customers base priorities Intentional marketing and managing people to grow the business to a global brand.

What Kufrey Jonah and his team at Kuffrey Jones shoemakers are doing is the dream for the Made in Africa Brand narrative. The ideals of the Made in Africa priorities: is to increase products that are produced locally by Africans for Africans, whilst increasing the African product offerings, produced locally for global consumption. I look forward to seeing the Kuffrey Jones brand going mainstream, with wide availability across Africa. Africa rising!

Arthur Ashe an American professional tennis player who won three Grand Slam singles titles, put it best when he shared his thoughts about taking on challenges. His advise is simple "start where you are, use what you have" and that is the spirit behind the story of Kuffrey Jones Shoemakers. Having been a part of an apprenticeship program that enabled him to learn the technical aspects of producing good quality shoes was an amazing opportunity but turning that experience into a profitable business is what makes Kufrey Jonah a remarkable leader.

His story ought to be an example to every young African simply waiting for a job to be created, instead of becoming entrepreneurial. I commend Kufrey Jonah and his team for being Africa's role models and for their remarkable work. Wishing them great success and wider reach, as their brand reaches new frontiers beyond their current geography.

David Akinwale: Leadership Coach, HR Professional - Alpha Global Leadership Academy

When you have a skill it becomes easier for you to venture into a business because you have something of value to offer. Startups that create value and they are also concern about satisfying their customer we thrive with the right structure and system. It’s a necessity for young Africans to think outside the box and get engaged in things that can bring a change to the face of doing businesses in Africa because Lucrative handwork may be the best option for some people, especially those who appreciate the fact that having a skill is one of the greatest assets one can have.

Kufre Abasi Jonah is already creating name for himself in the minds and heart of people that are related to his business. I love his kind of business because they are purpose driven and value oriented. This will give other young minds to be courageous and confidence with vocational skills and possibly creating a business out of it. Ideas and innovation are needed to scale up and I will encourage anyone in this space to be open to change and execution of ideas.

Creativity will make you stand out among from others. Just imagine the magic Kufrey is performing with leather, it tells us a lot of things can actually evolve from Africa, if only we look inward. Kufrey is passionate about delivering value to his customers and what best works for them, so the aim is about delivering value and then creating a good brand perception. It’s a brand promise they must have been conscious about in anything they do.

I will be looking forward to seeing him expanding his business with physical outlets in

different countries. Counting down to the further rise of this brand.

Priscilla Ekundare: Lead Designer - Ceela Creatives

There is nothing as beautiful as being happy and satisfied with products ‘Made In Africa. This is what Kuffrey Jones Shoemakers is achieving, changing the narratives in the African Leather Industry through the production of bespoke footwear that boost confidence in ourselves and our African Heritage. As we celebrate the Africa We Want, we appreciate the contributions of this fast growing company and look forward to other continents being blessed by their good works.

Connect with Kufrey Jonah

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1 comment

1 Comment

Kenneth Igiri
Kenneth Igiri
Sep 30, 2022

Very good quality shoes presented here. That's the spirit. As the quality grows, the patronage will. Well done!

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