“I’m A Cobbler, I Fix Footwears”
In this edition, we speak with Orlu Eberechi Gift, a graduate of Theatre Arts from the University of Port Harcourt. Eberechi, the CEO, Eden Footprints hails from Ikwerre in Rivers state
Tell us about Eden Footprints.
I’ll start by saying I’m a cobbler. I not only fix foot wears, I also make them. Eden Footprints is an establishment I started, we make and amend foot wears and also deliver same to individuals no matter where they are.
How long have you been in the business?
I grew up loving shoes, sandals and anything that appears beautiful on feet, particularly because my mum sells foot wears. So, from a tender age, I could pick up bad shoes, fix them and make them look better. Graduating from the university, I needed to learn something professionally that would make me independent financially. As a youth corps member in 2017, I learnt the art of footwear making professionally, I ensured I mastered the craft and I started my own business in January this year (2019). And within this short period, I’ve made and delivered about 30 sandals to clients. For now, I major in sandal making for both sexes while I look forward to starting up shoe making in full gear.
Cobbling is regarded as a job for men, how have you fared as a lady?
You know they say, “what a man can do, a woman can do better”. Although a lot of people see this as a job for males, but I look beyond that. I think anyone can be anything if you set your mind to. Yes, it is demanding and difficult to match the physical requirements of the job as a lady but I press on. I can’t count how many times I’ve hammered my fingers because I was trying to get a good design, but passion has kept me going.
Challenges so far?
The challenge for now has been in acquiring some equipment needed for my business as well as getting my shop. I actually make use of my room and corridor for production and the noise from hitting and filling leather could be disturbing sometimes to my neighbors and family.
What are your projections?
It is a big dream! I dream of having a centre for shoes alone. Like a gallery were people can get shoes and other foot wears of their choices at affordable prices. I’ll also wish to have an institute where I can train as many people who would want to grow in the business.
Competitions from others?
Well, I’ve been inspired greatly by people. I know I have not attained the height yet but I’m looking forward to a day I will look back to where I am now and smile. I know there are lots of cobblers in town who make great foot wears but having them around only inspires me to be better and better each day.
What makes Eden Footprints stand out?
Time, honesty and creativity. I deliver products to clients right on time. I maintain my integrity while relating to clients and I try as much as I can to give my clients amazing designs to choose from.
Price range for your products.
Sandal prices range from 3,000 – 6,000 depending on the specification of the client.
Other skills aside shoe making?
I’m a playwright. If I’m not making sandals, I’m working on scripts. I try as much as I can to also put my academic field to practice while I invest in my skill of making foot wears.
Advice to youths?
This era is not when you depend solely on white collar jobs or what you studied in school. I’ll encourage youths to consider other legitimate sources of income to make ends meet. And one way that can happen is by investing in a skill. Look deep, search for what you can do, learn something new, practice every day and ensure you don’t sit idle.
Is Port Harcourt business friendly?
Port Harcourt is one of the big cities in Africa that provides a wide range of opportunities for business to bloom. With a wide range of customers, companies, organizations, etc in Port Harcourt, every serious minded business man/woman will take advantage of the opportunities in Port Harcourt.