In 2020, the moment parties and events were banned during the COVID lockdown in my home town Lagos, Nigeria and I trade in party fabrics (popularly called asoebi), the yearn to make income led to the birth of Kisah Lagos. From selling fabrics to making premium quality shoes with asooke (a Nigerian woven fabric), I bet you can’t wait to meet Akinola Saheed, the founder of Kisah Lagos in this exclusive interview.

With no further ado, let’s meet the Founder of Kisah Lagos for an exclusive interview.

Please Introduce yourself and your background.

My name is akinola saheed. Newly married businessman.

Tell us about your work. How did your company start?

I make shoes from premium quality asooke. The lockdown birthed kisahlagos. Parties and events were banned and I’m into asoebi, man must chop o (meaning money must be made).

How did you come about the name and what does it mean?

Originally it was akisah(First 3 letters of my first and last name) but God forbid I use “akisah” as a Yoruba boy that I am. Akisah means rag in Yoruba so that’s a No No… so the A was moved up to be the logo, leaving me with kisah. So we have kisah lagos as a born and bred lagosian 😉

Kisah Lagos logo

What is your niche and how did you know it was a market to get into?

There are a lot of shoe brands in Nigeria as a whole, but asooke shoes? Not very saturated, we are not many hence why I’m excited to build the brand. I have designed different unique shoes for the young and old, even children. The fact that I use asooke is already a selling point. Not everyone believes it can be done.

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Kisah Lagos Shoe bellafricana member exclusive interview

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Where do you get inspiration for your products?

Asides my asooke background, I have people around me that mentor me. I also did a leatherwork training. I didn’t just start stitching asooke together. So seeing what can be done with leather, I’m like why not asooke. Just like that the mixing started (asooke fabric and leather).

Can you remember one of the first products you made?

My very first product was a shoe made by Gandyfootwears (mentor). It was just a trial, I supplied the material and she went to work. She delivered, I rocked it and the acceptance was wow! That was the ginger I needed to get started. Just like that I found myself in Mushin, Nigeria learning shoemaking.

What are some of the challenges you face in your business?

Asooke weavers disappointing, scarcity of thread to weave colours being requested. Of course dispatch trouble, we are still outsourcing that.

Do you have any regrets about venturing into this business?

No regrets so far alhamdulilah.

What is your most popular product?
I call it the krisskross, bestseller any time any day

To what extent do you draw upon your Nigerian heritage for your work?

100% as Asooke originates from Nigeria

What are some of your short term and long term goals, both in your business and life in general?

Well we are still online(Instagram/WhatsApp) at the moment, so no walk in store yet. It’s coming in the near future by the grace of God.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I actually sell gele and asooke for asoebi

What profession would you be in if you weren’t in this industry?

Most likely a tech guy, I know my way around computers. Studied computer information systems at Babcock university.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to start their own business in your industry, what would it be?

Just start, it’s as simple as that.

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To connect with Kisah Lagos, you can follow and contact her via:

Instagram: kisahlagos

WhatsApp: +234 813 799 3229