SHOE AND BAG MAKER OF REPUTE SEFIAH TOSIN SHONIBARE TALKS TO 1ONE4 MAGAZINE ABOUT HER CRAFT AND PASSION FOR CUSTOMIZED SHOES AND BAGS

More often than not Nigerians like to buy foreign made bags and shoes, our markets are filled with Italian, Spanish, American, Bangkok, Thailand and of course Chinese made shoes. It doesn’t help that we have a declining industrial and investment climate and the dearth of entrepreneurs wishing to produce this very essential goods. It was thus interesting meeting a very determined young woman using our local fabric - Ankara and leather to make some of the most beautiful bags and shoes around.  Her name is Tosin Shonibare (nee Lawal), the CEO of the Lagos based TOSS creations. Her products include ladies and men’s shoes, kiddies shoes, bag, clutches, wallets and all manners of accessories. The level of creativity and attention to detail she puts in each and every products is second to none and we decided to interview her. 1one4 magazine values people especially women with vision, tenacity, determination, women that challenge the norm and bring this vision to fruition. Enjoy the interview: Tell us about yourself My name is Shefiah Tosin Shonibare (Nee Lawal), I am a native of Lagos state. I attended Nigerian Navy Secondary School Ojo, Lagos and Yaba college of Technology, where I had HND in Accountancy. I have always been an entrepreneur since graduation. When did you start Toss Creations ? We started in Toss Creations in 2011 Describe your business I make and customize shoes, slippers, sandals, bags and purses using leather and fabrics What brought about the name Toss Creations ? T for Tosin, O for Omotayo, S for Shefiah and S for Shonibare - TOSS and then Creations, since I create the pieces myself Why did you start this business? I sincerely love well made shoes of good quality What’s your creative/design process like? I come up with a design that suits the occasion which my client wants to use the product for, sometimes, the client brings his or her own design and I work with that, it all depends What is needed to be in this business ? Passion, creativity and a lot of commitment How profitable or lucrative is this business? Alhamdulilahi, it is lucrative What advice would you give others who would like to go into this kind of business ? This may sound cliché, but it is passion passion passion, and also you must constantly update and know what is in vogue. Study trends always What are the challenges you face in this line of business? Acceptability, Nigerians still prefer to go for European products as opposed to made in Nigeria ones What do you love most about the work ? The fact that you have a choice and you wear what you want and not what has been made. It is all customized to your specifications What are your personal goals/long term plans/vision? To penetrate the international market using our own local fabrics. What qualities is needed to be%20successful in this line of business ? Honesty, creativity and an eye for fashion How did you break into the market? At my brother in-law\'s wedding, I used my \"aso ebi\" (damask) to make my shoe and purse. All eyes were on me, people liked the concept. And that was how Toss Creations started Do you love this job? Yes. Absolutely! How has your education in accounting helped in your business? It has helped a lot, I know when I am running a line at a loss and I re-evaluate, then make an economic decision . <strong%3edo you="" have="" time="" for="" leisure?="" if="" so="" what="" do="" ?<br="">Yes, I go out with the kids to have fun How do you combine Toss Creations with family ? I work Monday to Friday and I spend the weekends with my family Is training in the long term plan of Toss Creations? Yes. I would love to mentor up and coming shoe and bag makers. Who is your role model ? Simsworth is definitely a role model What’s your daily mantra ? Never ever give up. Keep trying. You will surely get there. Salam alaikum waramatulahi wabarakatu Walaikum salam waramatulahi wabarakatu

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