How Zainab Alayande – the young shoemaker dropped her credentials to pick up her potential

by Joseph Omoniyi
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What started literarily as child’s play for an eight-year-old girl many years ago, has grown into a super story and a big brand catering to the shoe wear need of many Nigerian celebrities and VIPs.

Zainab Alayande, a young female show maker who has made a great name and brand for herself making shoes for the likes of the current deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Ojodu Obafemi, the former Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, the Executive Chairman of Shomolu, Abdulhammeed Salawu, Veteran Comedian and MC. Ali Baba, Actor, Rotimi Salami. Sotayo Gaga and many other politicians, academics, celebrity musicians, actors, and actresses.

For Zainab, the journey began as a child, when she would pick up shoes that had been reaped apart, run to a nearby “mallam”, buy gum and thread, then sit to spend hours fixing them. This was where she found pleasure and passion as a child. When other children were busy with kid games, she was enjoying herself mending shoes. She would even spend her own money to buy ‘raw materials’ to take care of people’s shoes without getting a dime in return.

Although she could not yet articulate this inner drive, Zainab continued, attending a boarding school, “Bufetola children School” for her elementary education. However, after her parents divorced and the load of two persons became that of her mom alone, she had to change to a lesser-class school, “Dee Ultimate” for her secondary education. From there, she proceeded to study Polymer Technology at Yabatech. Passion would not make her relent after she failed jamb four times before passing on the fifth attempt and gaining admission into the University of Lagos, UNILAG, to study Cell Biology and Genetics.

Zainab has always found a pleasurable challenge slaying in the ‘men’s world’ and physical activities. While in school, she flew her school colours in the West African Polytechnic Games, WAPOGA, held in Ghana, participated in table tennis, cycling, karate, and also played professionally for Pepsi and MFM football teams.

After her graduation, while her colleagues dropped their gowns, and trooped into the town to fight for the limited space in the labour market, Zainab decided to run against the wind. She dropped her credentials to pursue her childhood dream and potential. For her though, this was not so difficult a decision to make. It was like a fish strolling into the water.

Her business of shoe-making officially began in 2016 when she became a certified shoemaker, creating Zeinny Crafts, makers of creatively designed, durable, stylish, fashionable, and easy-to-wear shoes. A brand that is projected to spread its tent to not just all the 36 states of Nigeria, but also across Africa, in years to come. Don’t forget, you heard her story here.

Today, the courageous, passion-driven, and self-belief story of the young graduate of Yabatech and Unilag has become a source of motivation for many other Nigerians, male and female, young and old.

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