Making men’s shoes has become my life –Chioma Madueke, CEO MADU Labels
Chioma Madueke, CEO MADU labels doesn’t feel weird making men’s shoes. She is always indescribably joyful getting money from making and selling men’s shoes. Even when people tell her demeaning words because of her business, Chioma Madueke is not one to be deterred from pursuing her passion.
The young lady who studied Accounting at Nnamdi Azikiwe University told Feminine Nigeria that making shoes is her life and she can’t wish for any other skill.
One thing that inspired Chioma Madueke is humans. “I took my first step into entrepreneurship without even knowing it. I have given up comfort and convenience so many times, to be a solution giver for the world and to myself from my tiny space. Humans played a huge role and still play a great role in my journey as an entrepreneur. I see humans and all I think about is making life easy for them.”
Last year, Chioma Madueke started her journey as a shoemaker because she was passionate about humans and all she represents. She represents passion, confidence, class, self love, innovations, hard work, and living dreams. Then she thought of a befitting name for her shoe brand, that embodies all she represents and her final analysis led her to the name MADU Labels.
“The word MADU means ‘Making a difference in you. Madu in Igbo means person or human. At the heart of my company are humans. So for every shoe I make, I am making people truly humans. I am making people love themselves. I am making them wear their true selves. Many people lose their humanity as they go through life, career, and business. What my company set out to do is to help people find and enjoy their true selves through shoes. When you wear our shoes, I want you to feel happy and complete. I want you to walk with your head high. The name MADU is memorable, short, urban and African.”
Chioma Madueke had to defeat her mind which kept reminding her about societal opinions about what her business was about. She had the challenge of raising adequate capital for a good training institution but she was able to pull through with the much she could raise at that time.
“The society is yet to accept the fact that quality has nothing to do with gender. I have heard demeaning comments about how my gender is the reason some won’t patronize or be associate with my brand but so far, with the buy Nigeria and grow Nigeria trend, I am hopeful. There is also a challenge of establishing a good training center and a good functioning workshop with all the necessary equipment that will enable us meet the growing needs of the people.”
No weird feelings
“I am always indescribably joyful making men’s shoes. I can’t wish for any other skill. It’s life for me. This is why I can never understand the demeaning words and stares of people. If only they understand that making men’s shoes has become my life, they will echo my passion loudly like they were paid to do so.”
“I have learnt to be courageous. Being an entrepreneur especially in Nigeria demands courage. It takes courage not to dust your certificate in search of a job that you are sure of earning every month from. It takes courage to wake up to keep pushing even when there is no reason to.”
“I have learnt the power of synergy. No man is an Island they say and I have experienced that countless times. I use to be a kid, who lived in her own world but now, it’s different. I love that I meet different kinds of people and learn from them. It’s an exciting experience. I have learnt that growth is life. To live, you have to choose to grow.”
When I tell people I make shoes
When I tell people makes shoes, they go like what? I can imagine the faces of a lot of people especially when I say I studied Accounting but now a shoemaker. I hear something like ‘Why?’ with a very sad expression. I have learnt to live with it because the truth is that I can’t explain it all to everyone.”
How I keep going when I feel like giving up?
“The same people who inspired me to start my business keep me moving whenever I want to give up. Each time I remember that there are still teenagers and youths who sleep under Oshodi bridge daily in search of answers to unknown questions, I kick my butt and keep moving. I want to take young ones off the street and help them walk the path of self discovery and actualization.”
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
I would rather ask ‘Why do you aspire to be an entrepreneur?’ “Whatever be the legit reason, keep at it. Believe in you and never stop pushing. The reality is that the journey of entrepreneurship isn’t a creamy one neither is it promising as imagined but one thing that will help you walk it is your passion.”
“Be your daily motivation because there will be times you won’t be lucky to get enough support and motivation from people you look up to and at such times, you can only continue if you choose not to give up.”
“Surround yourself with eagles not chickens and be sure you aren’t a chicken. Be friends with people of like-minds and who will give you the inspiration and support you need when your strength seem to fail. Never forget the power of synergy.”