Valentine Onyekachi Ezeh
Footwear Designer, Saint Valen Footwear; Nollywood Actor
Out of a desire to see indigenously made, high quality footwears as an element of a fashion statement and to see fashion enthusiasts get the run for their money, Valen launched his first men’s collection in 2017 as an undergrad. As a footwear designer, he understands his clients/partners' needs and ensures they're transformed into coveted possessions. His product portfolio ranges from high quality sandals to sneakers and cover shoes.
Saint Valen plans to extend his flagship product size to a larger portfolio that best caters for everyone’s feet. His company is making this possible by offering a wide range of well-crafted, quality footwear products at prices so low as what many people could afford. Craving more acceptances; hope for the day the Nigerian footwear industry will be competing favorably with foreign brands.
He has also attributed his success to the leverage on social media marketing - stating that it’s easy to interact with his customers by engaging them regularly which has enhanced his business image. It has also made his brand more popular. He strongly advocates for patronage of locally made products and encourages Nigerians to stop using the acquisition of foreign brands as a yardstick for measuring opulence. He would like to see artists infuse local brands in their arts to boost patronage.
Interview with Valentine Onyekachi Ezeh
Can we meet you?
My name is Valentine Onyekachi Ezeh, popularly known as Ezeh Valen. I hail from Ibagwa Aka, Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area in Nsukka of Enugu State. I was born and bred in Idah, Kogi State. I’m the second of 5 boys, a student of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) studying Communication Technology. Nollywood Actor; CEO, Saint Valen footwear.
Why did you choose to become an Entrepreneur?
I believe everyone has to build their own projects in order to enhance their abilities. One of the reasons I birthed Saint Valen was to make things happen. I have seen bunch of businesses offering inferior goods and services yet charging exorbitant prices at the very expense of customers, so I created Saint Valen to give customer value for their money. As a footwear designer, I understand my clients' and partners' needs and I ensure they're transformed into possessions. In as much as I have never fancied the corperate world, I also do not see being an entrepreneur as a means of escaping the 9-5 job.
How long have you been in the industry, and what has the journey been like so far?
For a year now; this journey comes with its own hurdles! Being in-charge and making the important decision regarding your business can be fulfilling, but can also be challenging. I thrive on the fact that the success of my business depends on me. Getting to experience the impact of my choices day -in - day -out fills me with confidence and keeps me on my toes.
What are some of the obstacles you had to overcome to start and how did you overcome them?
I’m going to be super transparent here, and may be point to an elephant hiding in the room. Capital was the biggest challenge for me especially as a beginner. No matter what business idea you have or how beautiful it is, you still need money to get your business running. I won't say I have completely overcome this because I still need money for expansion, shop and proper branding. But I am better now than when I started. At the beginning of my designing, receiving feedback was also intimidating. Nowadays, I love getting feedbacks.
What role do you think social media plays in influencing your business?
Social media has made it easy to interact with customers by engaging them regularly which helps in enhancing my business image. It has also made my brand more popular. For example when a customer is satisfied with their order(s), they take pictures of them in your brand and tag you. It helps intending customers to trust you with their money without batting an eyelid.
What changes would you like to see in Nigeria that would serve as a growth accelerator for your business?
We should buy more of locally made products and should stop using foreign brands as a yard stick to measure how wealthy one is. Musicians should start appreciating our effort by infusing our local brands in their lyrics, cause we patronize them more.
What is your vision for the future of your business and industry?
Is for Saint Valen to be the company that best carters for everyone foot. We are making this possible by offering a wide range of well-crafted, quality footwear products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford. We need more acceptances, I hope for the day Nigerian footwear industry will be competing favorably with foreign brands.
What is your office location and address?
I reside in New Haven extension, Enugu and we currently run from home, but hoping to get a shop soon.
What is your philosophy?
If you have a passion and instinctive talents in a particular area, it is up to you to build it up to mastery level and give it back to the world as an extension of the essence of who you are. Everyone has something unique to offer. Discover yours and build your legacy around it.
Valentine Onyekachi Ezeh can be reached at
Office: New Haven extension, Enugu
CONNECT WITH US
Call +44 777 510 5936, +234 816 779 7913 or email firstname.lastname@example.org