‘I established Arilane on campus to provide solutions to footwear issues’
Arilomo Olarenwaju is the chief executive officer of Arilane Limited. Arilomo is an entrepreneur with a vast experience in footwear industry.
The Law graduate of the University of Lagos was inspired to set-up Arilane Limited out of his desire to be financially independent and to provide solutions to challenges faced by students in terms of quality, size and designs of footwear.
His desire and passion prompted him to learn shoe- making at a very young age and, in 2013, as an undergraduate, he established Arilomo on campus with a view to producing shoes for students.
Arilomo started his business with N50, 000 in 2013 and the business is now worth more than N800,000. He told Start-up Digest that his business had grown tremendously since starting. “The business has really gained so much ground from inception till date, all thanks to God,” he said.
The young entrepreneur also stated that his business had not received any form of loan since starting and that he was targeting clients in corporate bodies, academic institutions and anyone that appreciated fashion and had a good taste for shoes.
When asked what the biggest challenge the business was facing, Arilomo said that Nigerians’ high preference for imported shoes remained the biggest challenge confronting his business. He noted that this had limited the market access of his business.
“The major challenge I am currently facing is access to the market. Nigerians prefer foreign footwear to locally produced ones. It is only those customers that have patronised our products before that are still patronising them, but some would not even buy because they are locally made,” Arilomo said.
“Finance is another major challenge confronting my business. I really want to expand because demand for our products is increasing daily but finance is limiting our expansion plans for now.
“In an environment like Nigeria where funding is a huge challenge, we have a lot of great ideas but the funds to purse them is lacking,” he added.
The lawyer-turned-entrepreneur told Start-Up Digest that his business currently employed six staff members who work mostly on contract basis.
When asked the advice he would give to other entrepreneurs, Arilomo said: “You have to define your goals as to why you are going into the business. You have to know the price that has to be paid to achieve this goal and you must be willing to pay the price,” he said.
“You must be determined to stay undefeated when all hope seems to be lost. Always put God first,” he added.
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