Nigerian entrepreneur's Africa-inspired sneakers creates jobs and also helps poor people
When it comes to setting trends black people are a gold mine of innovation and influence. For sneaker culture, in particular, major brands have long incorporated black images, music and celebrity endorsements, but rarely have we been positioned on the creative, design and manufacturing end of the $55 billion dollar industry. Nigerian entrepreneur, Babajide Ipaye is changing that narrative.
A self-described sneaker fanatic, Ipaye who studied innovative shoe production in the Netherlands, raised $20,000 through crowd-funding to produce and launch his first collection of Keexs, an Africa-inspired brand with a social brief. The $59 dollar sneakers, which are designed at his office in Lagos, are available online and in stores across Lagos.
“We’ve got about seven different products with this collection, but we’re basically showing five out of them at the moment,” he told Africa News. Keexs have already sold nearly 1,500 pairs of sneakers. “Our customers are really appreciative of the brand basically because it’s an African brand you know and there’s nothing like it so far,” said store manager, Abimbola Oyatayo. Ipaye is looking to attract more investors to build a manufacturing industry for quality shoes in Nigeria.
Keexs Kickstarter campaign breaks down that making these sneakers will not only create employment for many people in Lagos but donate 10% of their profit to toward poverty alleviation projects throughout the country. It will also be the first smart shoe in Africa with a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone and mobile devices.
It’s always great to see black entrepreneurs creating something unique to help homeland. No matter where black people are located the creativity and willing to success is the essential part of every black business.