“…We make nice durable leather ‘hand-made’ shoes and slippers but some people will skip our locally made products and buy from foreigners,” lament Shammah Footwear founders.
This is the lamentation of young friends with similar interests in leather slippers who came together to establish what is now known as Shammah Footwear located in the heart of Lusaka’s Mutendere Township.
Founders Changa Bwalya and Manase Zulu, are also full time employees of a named company in Lusaka , but that does not shield the operations of their own company Shammah Footwear which they believe is a major source of income .
But while they embrace locally made raw materials in the course of production, they have lamented the attitude of some Zambians towards locally made products .
“While our business is doing fine, our concern is the attitude of some Zambians towards locally made products, someone would skip our locally made handmade slippers and buy from a Chinese shop,” said Changa during Smart Eagles Smart Youth Entrepreneurship Segment (SYES) on Friday.
“I think it’s high time that Zambians started supporting our own products because we have this perception that Zambian products are not good actually what I have come to discover is that most Zambian products are good but maybe probably the marketing hasn’t been so good so we need to take the word out there as entrepreneurs…. tell people that we are just as good as our competitors” Manase added .
The two believe that Zambians should support each other to grow already existing brands and the emerging ones .
Meanwhile, the two told SYES that they intend to recruit and train willing young entrepreneurs in the same field .
The indicated that they mastered their art by learning from people who were already in the industry, adding that it was going to be great if the skill was transferred.
Their major challenge is machinery as they have to hand stitch all the pairs they make .
Their products are purely leather categorically ordered from Zam Leather .