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It’s not easy being in male-dominated business – CEO Khairat

At a time when many graduates were either at home or busy roaming the streets in search of white-collar jobs across the nation, Khairat Ibrahim…

At a time when many graduates were either at home or busy roaming the streets in search of white-collar jobs across the nation, Khairat Ibrahim Muhammad, a 28-year-old graduate of biology from Aliko Dangote University of Science and Technology Wudil in Kano, is busy making a name for herself as a female shoemaker.

Khairat was born in Gwale LGA of Kano State, had her primary and secondary education in Chiranchi and later went to Aliko Dangote University of Science and Technology Wudil, where she graduated with a BSc in Biology in 2016. She went to Cross River State for her National Youth Service (NYSC).

According to the young entrepreneur, her passion for skill acquisition and business began at a very tender age, while in primary school. “I used to take chewing gum and sweets to school to sell while I was in primary school, even though the authorities used to seize them, but I persisted.

“I continued with the same trend while in secondary school and also while in university. I was known for selling used clothes while in the university. I always want to be self-reliant in my life,” she said.

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After graduating from the university, Khairat enrolled to learn bedsheet making with the support of her parents. She also tried her hands at photography, but due to some peculiarities with photography, she had to drop it.

In her bid to be self-reliant, Khairat became an apprentice at Wambai Market in Kano to learn how to make female shoes, and along the way, she travelled to Abuja to learn more and expanded into making men’s shoes.

On her return to Kano, she opened a mini shoemaking shop at Sharada, where she still operates as the only female shoemaker in the area, with five apprentices working with her – three females and two males.

She ventured into the male-dominated profession with the zeal to excel despite all odds. People thought she couldn’t make it as a female shoemaker, but she endured and continued to produce good shoes. She was also mocked for being a shoemaker.

Khairat revealed that due to the level of her capital, she took to social media to advertise and sell her products, adding that she is currently enjoying relatively encouraging patronage.

“When I adopted social media as a platform to advertise and sell my shoes with the name ‘Khairat Design’, I gradually became very popular, and people began to place orders.

“To God be the glory, people now acknowledge me as a reliable shoemaker, and my products are gaining wide acceptance as qualitative.

When asked what her challenges are as a female shoemaker, Khairat said, “My greatest challenge is capital, due to this, I couldn’t expand my production despite the fact that I really wanted to go into mass production for business expansion.

“My dream is to establish a big shoemaking factory that will be producing made-in-Nigeria shoes not only for internal consumption but also for export.

“I want to see my Nigerian-made shoes on display at first-class malls across the globe. Though it is not easy being in male-dominated business; it is not easy at all,” she said.

Khairat also revealed that she intends to continue with her chosen career even after she gets married, adding that she wants her brand, ‘Khairat Design,” to be a brand name that will be synonymous with Nigeria.

She advised all able-bodied youths to go out and do something positive with their lives instead of waiting for non-existent white-collar jobs, adding that they can only be useful to their communities when they contribute to the development of the communities.


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