The shoe brand Minuel has been in existence for a little over a decade. The shoe brand got a partnership with the Bank of Industry in 2016.
This partnership has been able to get the brand the desired exposure and providing some finance that has been invested in the acquisition of machinery. If you are yet to get your Christmas shoes, you may want to check out their collections.
In this exclusive interview with the CEO, Emmanuel Faleti, we discussed how the brand Minuel started; the challenges of running the brand; Nigerians perception of made in Nigeria brands and how the mindset can be changed.
VUN: First of all, talk about yourself and your brand.
Minuel: I am Emmanuel Faleti. I was born in Onikan, Lagos. I went to P&P International School at Mushin and proceeded to secondary school at Effort Will Academy at Ejigbo from 2004 to 2010. I started my shoe making gradually and same time went to Lec Course Sonou University, Benin Republic from 2011- 2015. My NYSC was in Lagos, in 2015. In 2016, I got a partnership with Bank of Industry which took my business to another level. Minuel is a lifestyle accessory company with a focus on shoes, and have been in operation for over a decade.
VUN: At what point did you decide you were going into Shoemaking and what prompted the decision?
Minuel: What prompted the decision was my passion for shoemaking at first. But as time went on, I discovered I could get myself educated with what the shoes I make. I became a BSc holder today due to the money I made from my shoe making back then in school.
VUN: What challenges do you face running your brand?
Minuel: For the past years, it has been Nigerians attitude towards made in Nigeria products. But that has been somewhat settled to an extent by efforts from campaigns promoting made in Nigeria brands. The major challenge we have is machinery. And the availability of standard raw materials. To deal with this challenge, I try to deal with as many suppliers as possible. This way, I pick the best from all of them.
VUN: Why do you think that people are uncomfortable about buying made in Nigeria products?
Minuel: Sometimes, the fact that it’s called made in Nigeria scares some people off. While some give the products a trial and see that they are good. We just need to change the orientation about made in Nigeria — our thinking as a whole. We don’t believe in what we do.
VUN: How can the change in orientation be achieved?
Minuel: First, the government contributing to promote made in Nigeria products at home and abroad. It takes time before this can be completely achieved. We need to get it stored in our kids head, so they can grow with it. They are the future. And for us, we know what is good for our economy; buy made in Nigeria so we grow the Naira.
VUN: In what exact ways have your partnership with BOI helped to grow your business?
Minuel: Exposure and finance. I was able to get adequate machinery, publicity from the press, TV stations, newspapers, and bloggers. I was able to meet the Vice President at the Nigeria Economic Summit in 2016. I also got to make shoes for celebrities like Alibaba, Kennyblaq, Joseph Benjamin and so on.
VUN: What have you learnt in recent years that you wish you knew before you launched your brand?
Minuel: I wish I knew how to build a strong team then.
VUN: How do you market your products?
Minuel: Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, emails.
VUN: How do you determine the price of your shoes?
Minuel: To determine the price, I consider the cost of production and the availability of the materials used for production.
VUN: Which other brands or celebrities will you love to collaborate or partner with?
Minuel: Falz, Davido, AY
VUN: What advice will you give other people who may want to start a shoe brand like yours?
Minuel: I will advise that they should keep calm and forget about making money first. Focus on the growth of the business by developing new skills in the shoemaking process.