Nigerian Lady Cobbler And entrepreneur, Florence Bodex Hungbo is advising young girls seeking to have a career in male dominated professions like shoe making and mechanics not be intimidated but to have a strong mindset to succeed no matter the odds.
She reminded them that it’s their hand work that puts money in their pockets and not what people say or think about them.
The Young female entrepreneur was speaking during an appearance on Silverbird News24 breakfast show; NewsHub to mark the International Women’s Day in March 8, 2021.
According to her, “I do feel discriminated doing male dominated work but I really don’t care because it’s all about how well you carry your brand and your mindset about being a lady doing fabulously well in a male dominated environment that’s the selling point.
Asked how she got into shoe making business? Hear her;” I was pushed into shoe making due to depression that led to almost taking my life. I paid a shoe maker N30,000 at Ajegunle to learn the trade. And I have no regrets because today I make shoes for governors, ministers, celebrities and so on.
After my training; I started making branded shoes with ‘Bodex media’ written on it to cover all types of events. I had no intention of making it money making venture until a Nollywood actress commissioned me to make four pairs of shoes worth N20,000 which I said it’s pay before service and she obliged now, that token became the seed money I invested to start the Bodex Footwear.
“Before I got into the business I had to study my environment first knowing that almost everyone wears and must need a shoe. If you are in my shoes, you need to also ask yourself what is selling where you are? Yea, you might be frightened for being a male dominated industry but for the love of choosing to challenge, such narrative is the least you want to dwell on. Don’t feel threatened for doing what men are known for as physical appearance is different from your hands strength and deliverables
Bodex disclosed that she also runs an NGO known as BEWI AFRICA- Bodex Exceptional Women Initiative. She reveals that she talks to young girls on the streets about shoe making, mechanics, painting and so on where they are trained for free and taught about the gains in shoe making in her factory situated at Surulere. I tell them it’s a male dominated work but you have to choose one and make it work if we are really fighting for gender equality.
The lockdown due to Covid19 affected our work but we had to resort to online advertisements and also kept in touch with some of our clients. The effect of COVID-19 didn’t have much impact since it’s a selling business
I always tell young girls stereotypes is a mindset not society impacted thought and so long as some one else either a man or woman had done it before or now then, we can always do it
By Charles Kalu