“We adorn your feet with our classy shoes”jojo Shoes
Here’s another lovely passion for profession story.
I had a chat with sprightly Mojoyin -mum of three boys and founder of Jojo Shoes – a brand that designs beautiful shoes for ladies. Mojoyin is making a profession out of her passion for fashionable shoes.
Mojoyin was one of the fastest girls in my secondary school 😚and it was always a delight to watch her on the track. It’s interesting to see that she’s dropped her track spikes for stilettos and the likes 😀. This buttresses my point that we can excel at anything if we work hard at it.
Mojoyin could have easily chosen a career path following her natural talent as an athlete, but she chose her passion for fashion (shoes) and is putting all necessary efforts to make it flourish.
Let’s meet Mojoyin…
My name is Mojoyin Abolarin. I’m a mom, wife, homemaker, IT database Administrator and now an entrepreneur who designs beautiful shoes for women.
I was born and grew up in Lagos, went to boarding school for 6 years, studied biology at the University of Maryland with hopes for going to medical school. That didn’t work out as I had my first son, got married and decided to go for a masters in Information Technology.
Tell us about what you do?
I am the owner of Jojo Shoes, a brand that I started in April 2018.
After finishing from grad school, I started working as a database administrator and later on as a software developer. I then decided to start my own business of buying and selling clothes which failed so badly after so much investment. My love for fashion was still intact and I still desired to start a business around fashion.
I’ve always loved shoes, most shoes that caught my attention were usually either too expensive or not comfortable. So I decided to start making shoes for myself first and then others. Most shoe samples are in size 8, but mine is in 10 because there was a part of me that was afraid of failing and thought “ well if I fail at this at least I would be wearing all my samples to console myself.”. 😁
How did you get into Shoe production.
As stated earlier, I love shoes and I’m often drawn to the classiest shoes on display which usually turned out to be high-end shoes, but just couldn’t afford to buy them.
Also, I have bunions (even though not too big) , but enough to make my feet look weird and uncomfortable in stiletto shoes.
About 4 years ago, I bought a pair of green stilettos from Christian Luboutin and it was hell walking in them. I returned them and bought another style, thinking changing the style would help, but I also couldn’t fit! That’s when I thought of designing shoes for myself and making sure I enjoyed the comfort of those shoes while making them affordable to most at a high end taste.
Not why shoes, but why good shoes 😊? Good shoes will definitely take you to good places 😉. Just kidding. Shoes because I’ve always loved shoes and that’s the first thing I look at in a persons outfit.
I also want to make the feet beautiful. You see people wear clothes, makeup and accessories to beautify and enhance their figures and looks, so why shouldn’t we also adorn the feet that supports the whole body and make it look gorgeous.
Are there any big shoe companies you look up to, and why?
I really love Aquazzura. Their shoes are so unique and stylish, yet not as highly priced as some of the other high end shoes and they also have their original and classic designs.
What are you goals for your brand?
My goal for Jojo’s is to see it in every woman’s closet and to have it in main chain stores. I will like every woman to have at least one pair of Jojos.
How do you come up with your designs?
I have a designer I work with – Andrea (my Italian designer) he helps with the design process. If I have an idea, I draw it on a sheet of paper, he then marks out all measurements and uses design software to help perfect the design/idea so the manufacturer will understand.
I sometimes also draw in my dreams and they are crazy drawings but my designer in Italy understands me a lot and also helps improve my sketch. We eliminate until we sure we’ve created something wearable.
What do you mean by drawing in your dream?
Drawing while sleeping 😚. Sometimes I dream of shoes, and some designs and I just notice I’m drawing in my dreams, immediately I’m aware of it, I get up (I always have my pad and pen on my bedside table) and scribble a reminder or draw what I have in mind and then go back to sleep immediately. This has happened several times, the fear of failure is real I guess 😄.
What are the challenges you’ve faced in running your brand?
Well I have enjoyed every stressful part of designing , sourcing for manufacturers, going broke, sourcing for materials, choosing colours etc. I tend to be conservative but decided to go out of my comfort zone and bombard my shoe line with colours.
There are however many challenges, biggest being funding. This business is capital intensive. I started with my paycheck as a software developer, so I’m trying not to starve my kids all in the name of starting a new business especially as I’m avoiding getting a loan.
Another major challenge is getting a manufacturer to work with my minimum order quantity. Since I started business, I’ve had to switch between 3 manufacturers, and I’m still researching for better manufacturers in terms of price, quality and minimum order quantity. One thing I’ve realized is that the research never stops.
Sizing is also a problem, as is the issue of customers trying to make you go crazy! The numerous voices demanding different shoe styles is unbelievable. Some want wedges, some want, flats, some want even higher heels. One thing I realized is just to follow my vision and not lose track of where I’m going with my brand.
Where do you see your brand in 10 years?
By Gods Grace, I want Jojo Shoes to be in all Major retail stores. I also would like to have several physical stores in all major cities.
How do you manage running your business with motherhood?
It’s tough, but I just plan ahead – I do most of what needs done when my kids are in school. I have a flexible remote job and good support from family and friends.
Advice for budding producers?
Just start from somewhere with the little you have, do lots of research, be prepared to do a lot of advertising, be patient and just trust God.
On a lighter note, What would you do if you had special powers?
If I had special powers, I would make everyone in the world peaceful with each other. It’s so scary with how much hatred and atrocities going on in the world. So I would want to be known as “Peace woman with a white cape and an all white outfit 😋. Imagine how the world would be if they wasn’t hate. 🏳👼🏾
Please follow Mojoyin on Instagram @myjojoshoes.
You can shop for Jojo shoes on www.myjojoshoes.com. Let’s support our own, let’s help build our own high end brands.
Read our first passion for profession story here.