Zorkle Shoes is an online store for bespoke footwear; quality handcrafted shoes and sandals. They pride themselves in displaying shoes on the web, providing not only comfortable shoes, but also fashionable. At the helm of Zorkle is Gbadebo Alafia, an entrepreneur in the fashion industry with a deeply rooted background in Marketing. Let’s get to meet him.
Tell us about yourself and the inspiration behind Zorkle Shoes
I am Gbadebo Alafia and I’ve been in the marketing and communication business for about 8 years now creating and managing different campaigns for multinational companies and helping them achieve their marketing objectives. The brand Zorkleshoes.com was registered as a company in January 2016 and the name was coined from Buckle, but was named Zorkle to give it a unique identity that would stand out.
What opportunities did you see before taking a decision to this path?
My eyes are always looking down to see what people have on their feet. Footwear is also an accessory that is a must-have for almost everyone. Majority of the Made- in-Nigeria footwear companies have been inconsistent over the years or mainly focus on serving the upper class. So I decided to build an affordable Made-in-Nigeria retail brand, concentrating on shoes first.
At what point did you decide to take the bold step into entrepreneurship?
I have always been an entrepreneur since I was a kid, I love creating value-added products and services, and getting paid for it.
How do you balance running a business and other personal responsibilities?
I believe in delegation and building a formidable team, such that even if I am not available the business can move on seamlessly and I have spare time to create and work on new ideas.
Describe the challenges you face regularly as young entrepreneur and how you manage them?
In this part of the world customers are not loyal; they are very flexible and always willing to try new things thrown at them, so long as it’s popular and trending. So as a young entrepreneur you have to be well informed about new changes and trends as well as also make your brand alive at every point, hence your marketing and public relations should not go on a break, even for a day.
Also I am a very private person, but doing business in Nigeria requires pushing your brand with a face. People relate better with products they can attach to an individual face, this has really being tough for me because I am a quiet person and just want people to know and enjoy the products not me. But guess that has not been working well for me so far.
Tell us how you have harnessed social media in creating brand awareness for your business
Zorkle is an e-commerce store, so our awareness is basically on social media and this has helped us to reach our target market nationwide, and giving them good products has better helped us get referrals and returning customers.
How have you increased your clientele base overtime?
We are just 14 months old selling Made-in-Nigeria products and we have sold thousands of items as we have being able to understand what our customers want and how they want it.
What mantra do you live by that motivates you as an entrepreneur?
Good things come to those who work hard and work smart.
Tell us about your future plans for your business
We plan to be the biggest Made-in-Nigeria retail fashion brand. Quite a lot of Made-in-Nigeria brands are known but they are bespoke strictly for the upper class. We hope to build a retail fashion brand like Asos, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger etc., selling all ranges of fashion, affordable to every class in the social strata.
Can you offer any advice to budding entrepreneurs?
Yes you can do it if you put your mind to it. The tough point is the starting point, it can be very rough but once you put it in motion it gets better and better.
Author: Toyosi Akinoso
Toyosi is the Content Manager and Editor for 234Finance.com