Before her venture into manufacturing, Abulimen as an undergraduate dealt in the buying and sales of foreign made leather bags, a four-year experience that gave her good knowledge of what qualifies as good leather and quality leather work. So, in 2015, when she decided for the first time to patronise made-in-Nigeria leather product she saw online, she was disappointed to find the reality far inferior to the virtual image of the product.
Acknowledging the potential in the product, she called up the company to offer objective criticism. The horrible customer service and the defensive attitude she received motivated her inherent in made-in-Nigeria products (local manufacturing). A full long year of learning the tedious processes in leathermaking and manufacturing from scratching to cutting, drawing and sketching led to the establishment her own company and Dechayil Shoes brand and accessories in 2016, and opening her first retail store in July 2021.
What is local manufacturing?
Local manufacturing means being sensitive to places and scales where products are locally produced in order to sustain local communities, provide new job opportunities while preserving the quality of the environment.
What are the opportunities inherent in local manufacturing?
I will speak for the made-in-Nigeria products. We haven’t gotten to the pinnacle yet but we are getting there and there’s a whole lot of potentials in SMEs for Nigerians. We haven’t tapped into the possibilities of what Nigerians can offer. Nigerians are wonderful people. We are extremely creative and productive. There are so many things that we can produce although there are some limiting factors for our everyday business or manufacturing process but there is so much that we can delve into rather then shopping and shipping things in from abroad.
Other opportunities in the manufacturing includes: Manufacturing intelligence, Predictive Analytics in Manufacturing, Production Quality Management, Integrated Scheduling and Operations Execution, Manufacturing Visibility and Visualization and Manufacturing Network Monitoring.
How can Nigerians take advantage of the opportunities in this field?
Quality over quantity. For Dechayil, we preach quality a lot. It is about the customer experience and satisfaction. We do what we call made to fit wears, that is, a footwear for a particular individual so much so we have ready to wear pairs of shoes. We are able to cater to clients – where they come in, we take their measurements; or have them provide their sizes via online calls and order placements, thus create custom made designs for them.
Also, Nigerians should learn to provide exceptional customer service as it ensures customer loyalty. We pride ourselves with exceptional customer service. We have a return, exchange and refund policy that is favorable to both single customers and retailers. Like our company mantra states, ‘‘every customer that comes in leaves happier than they came in.’’
Entrepreneurship is a key skill one needs to acquire in order to seize opportunities in the local manufacturing or production. Entrepreneurship taught me patience, perseverance, commitment and that everyday is a deliberate effort to push forward.
However, not every Nigerian is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Based on my understanding on different individuals and the likes. They can try but it’s not everyone that is willing to be patient and endure daily hurdles of running a business.
- Quality over quantity.
- Exceptional customer service as it ensures customer loyalty.
- Entrepreneurship is a key skill to seizing opportunities in the local manufacturing or production.
- Entrepreneurship teaches one patience, perseverance and commitment.