Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? Why did you start your business?
My name is Tomiwa I am currently a computer science student but I paint and customize shoes as a side hustle. Hopefully will be able to make it my main hustle one day. The main reason I got into customizing was that I wanted shoes that no one else would have!
What type of products do you sell? How does your manufacturing process look like?
The main shoes I use for customization would be Old Skool Vans or Air Force 1’s. All customization is made by my own hands and can take anywhere between 4 – 12 hours to make. As it stands I am a 1 man team but hopefully, that will change with time.
What are some challenging aspects of your business? How did you overcome them?
As I mentioned previously I am a computer science student so when I stepped into the world of online stores and e-commerce I was clueless. That combined with the fact I have to teach myself everything in the industry like creative, admin, marketing, and PR it can be overwhelming at times, but it is the challenge I choose to tackle every day.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
I love the fact that I am my own boss. I get to wake up whenever I want, work on whatever I want, I have full creative freedom. But that also means I have to hold myself accountable, my business will only be successful if I put in the hard work and graft. Being a 4th year computer science student definitely does not make it easier as my time management has to be on point.
What are some beginner mistakes you made? What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share?
If there are any words of advice i can give to someone who’s just starting out it would show up every day so that when the opportunity comes you can blow up. You should treat every customer you have like they are special because they are. They decided to believe in your dream.
What inspires you while designing and/or creating new products.
If it wasn’t for YouTube I would not be where I am. When I was younger I would be videos of people personalizing their own clothes and shoes and said one day I would like that to be me. I haven’t tapped into the YouTube game just yet but id definitely keeps your open.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
When I started I had absolutely 0 industry skills. But I had a can-do attitude and I was not scared to fail for that is part of the process of learning. There are plenty of videos and slides online that you can access for free that teach you exactly what to do.
What are some of the most effective ways in terms of marketing products to your customers?
In terms of marketing, I would have to instantly suggest Instagram, if you post consistently good content there you will really be able to develop a following. It is also important to make sure that all your listings are kept up to date with clean and pristine pictures as that is what potential customers are going to look at.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
Passion and Endurance.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
For me, business success looks like a hobby that can fund your lifestyle and help supports those around you.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
Typically I wake up and go for a run right away. After I’ve woken up and energized for the day ill work on some of my uni work to make sure that gets done. After that, I spend the rest of the day and evening fulfilling my orders this can go on for hours pushing into the morning.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
When I started my main focus was on selling a select few of my own designs, but as time has progressed I have had a lot more joy in creating 1 of 1 piece. Since these shoes are so unique I can charge a lot more for them. Also as the year’s progress, I’m starting to see more and more progression, if I want to carry on with this progress I am going to need to make a hire very soon.