Sakashoes, a Benin’s shoe company eyeing the international market
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Sakaliou Salifou was born in a family where making shoes has been a tradition for as long as the family can remember, the Salifou family that originated from Cana, in the southern region of Benin, but is spread throughout the country. But Salifou, now a highly-skilled shoemaker whose company, Sakashoes, turns out fine shoes for all occasions, did not learn his trade in the family. He developed his skills as a teenager on his own. He made his first shoes while in secondary school. Salifou told The African:
“I made my first shoes in 1984 for my History & Geography teacher when I was in 10th grade. My teacher was so impressed he showed them to two of his colleagues who placed orders and were happy, too.”
“A well-dressed man is a man with nice shoes,” Salifou said repeatedly to The African in his workshop while his employees and apprentices were busy at work.
The early calling did not stop the young man from pursuing his studies, but his career choice was all-too obvious. Once out of regular school, he eagerly sought to hone his shoe-making skills thanks to various training programs. This led him to Niger where he was apprentice to a master shoemaker. But within a month, the master told him he actually needed no additional training. But Salifou told The African he did learn from the master’s “excellent skills in weaving.” He repeated the experience with another renowned master shoemaker in Benin, Quovadis. The latter, too, told Salifou he was an accomplished shoemaker and “was good to go.”
His shoes company, Sakashoes, came to life in 1991 in the center region in Dassa-Zoume, serving other towns including Glazoue and Savalou. But he could not resist the call of the bigger cities further south. So in December 1997, he established new branches south, including in Benn’s largest city, Cotonou, and the nation’s capital, Porto-Novo.
Sakashoes shoes are made 100% in-house, with first-grade material, mostly acquired locally, but sometimes purchased in neighboring countries such as the valued boa snake leather he told The African he bought in Nigeria.
With abundant inventory in store, Sakashoes is eyeing the international market. He has all the needed assets to do so: fine products at very competitive prices–barely $60 for the fine dress-shoes, and way less for the casual, yet elegant variety, all of which sell for triple that much in other stores.
Maison BADA Aimé
Cotonou – Benin.
Ph: (229) 64-67-57-44 & (229) 62-58-20-43