Maryam Humairah Kabiru is the Chief Executive Officer of MHKofficial and Shoes. The 25-year-old Adamawa State entrepreneur and Mass Communication graduate of MTI University of Cairo, Egypt shares the secrets to starting a business. Excerpts:
What’s the motivating factor for you in this business?
I just wanted to find my way and also for others. I believe that I don’t have to wait for the government to provide a job for me. I can create one for myself and others. We have a lot of talent in this country. So, why not use it?
I want my children, grandchildren and the next generation to grow up in a better society, I want them to grow up and also be motivated, I want to be an inspiration to others who are just sitting down and not chasing their dreams to wake up and chase that dream.
The reason I decided to go into the makeup, accessories and leather business is because I’m passionate about it. I wanted to make everyone feel beautiful. I wanted to make something for everyone. I didn’t want to focus only on women. I wanted to do something for men too. I want to build an empire in Nigeria.
How would you describe a typical work day?
A typical work day for me is all about sorting orders for delivery, going for meetings, spending time with my workers, and making sure everything is going as planned.
Starting a business comes with its hurdles. How did your business scale them?
Of course, I face some challenges. Is there any successful business that didn’t face any challenges? I guess not.
The main challenges we are facing is making people accept our products. It is hard to make people accept a Nigerian brand. People prefer buying international brands. Making them accept ours is the main challenge for us.
What would you say are your achievements so far?
A lot. I recently released my female shoes. I am currently working on the male shoes and other projects.
What other things do you do beside this business?
Sketching, sleeping and watching movies/series (I get inspiration there).
Are we expecting some projects from MHKofficial and Shoes soon?
I am currently working on a project that will empower our upcoming talents. I want to start sponsoring the upcoming ones, like paying for at least one person every month to attend a class in whatever field they desire and are passionate about.
How did you raise funding for your business?
I first raised my funds from my little savings. Then, my Father also gave me some money to help grow my business. Right now, I make use of every profit I make to make other products.
What’s your plan for expansion?
I want to go international. I want to have stores in most of the states in Nigeria.
We already have people wanting to do internship with us. I am working towards that, as a way to empower the youth.
Do you have words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advice to the unemployed youth is, look for what you love and passionate about and chase it. It doesn’t matter how small you start. If you are truly passionate about it, you’ll be surprised how far it’ll go. Don’t just sit down waiting for the government to provide a job for you. Create one for yourself!
Credit: Daily Trust