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Engineer, Banker Turned Fashion Designer - Meet Auwal Ahmad, The Young CEO of Soofwa Fashion

Auwal Ahmad Abdullahi, CEO Soofwa Fashion


It is a well-known fact that government cannot employ everybody as such people, especially the youths must venture into other legitimate means of sustaining a living. Most advancements in  countries worldwide was propelled by young entrepreneurs, who by virtue of their entrepreneurial skills and innovations improve the standard of living of their people through wealth creation, job opportunities and the conditions for a prosperous society.





In this interview with Auwal Ahmad, CEO of Soofwa Ventures, a company based in Kaduna with interest in fashion design, he shares his entrepreneurial journey and his passion, challenges and optimism.
 
ArewaWatch: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Auwal: My name is Auwal Ahmad Abdullahi. I studied Computer Engineering, I am married with two kids, I am from Jigawa state and I was born in Zaria, Kaduna state- Nigeria. I am an entrepreneur, a fashion designer and a fish/poultry farmer.



ArewaWatch: You mentioned that you studied computer engineering. Do you have any work experience in engineering or any other sector?

Auwal: Yes, I have about six years experience working in a couple of organisations. I worked with two different media companies, and I also worked with a bank in Nigeria.

ArewaWatch: What inspires you to drop your career in computer engineering and banking to venture into the fashion industry?

Auwal: As a little boy, between the age of 6-7, growing up in the ghetto area, I usually always walk barefooted. I don’t like wearing shoes at all. I totally detest putting on shoes. My mother will scold me, beat me and do all that she can to make sure that I put on my shoes, but as soon as I am out of her sight, I remove the shoes and go on with my walking barefooted. On a particular day, I was strolling with a cousin of mine and we saw a pile of refuse, unknowing to us, there was fire burning beneath the pile of refuse, so I decided to step on the refuse. Upon doing so, my leg got burnt severely. From that day I learnt my lesson and decided to start putting on shoes wherever I am going.
Whenever I  see people without shoes, I advise them to always put on shoes sighting my personal experience. From then on, I started developing ideas on how to design shoes. When I see people with shoes, I am like this shoe doesn’t fit you, this is the kind of shoe that fits you best, and so on.
After graduating from secondary school, I started buying and selling shoes. I will travel to Kano state, buy shoes and come sell hear in Kaduna. Afterwards, I decided to go into clothing. Fashion has always been a passion to me. I am always cautious of the type of clothing I wear.



ArewaWatch: The name of your business is Soofwa, why the name Soofwa?

Auwal: It is actually a coincidence. Soofwa is an Arabic word in a partial sense, and also a Turkish phrase. An Arabic word gotten from “Sabr” – meaning patience. Similarly, it means “patience is a virtue” in Turkish. It is also a combination of my name, my wife’s name, and that of my kids.

ArewaWatch: How did you get started?

Auwal: I actually started designing cloths just for myself to wear. Initially, I never intended to do so as a business. When I designed and produced my first shirt, someone saw it on me and immediately developed interest in it. He enquired about it and I told him that I designed it myself. He requested I sell the shirt to him, which I did for N4,000. Someone else saw it on him, and requested for same. I immediately saw a business opportunity in it, and that is how Soofwa started about five years ago.

Team Soofwa


ArewaWatch:  What was the first thing you put in place?

Auwal: One of the first thing I did was developing a brand name for the company. A name that will remain in the head of people, in their pockets, and in their mind. So I came up with Soofwa. Secondly, I got a logo that rhymes with the business name, and the business itself. I then proceeded to register the company with the Corporate Affairs Commission, and got a trademark for the company name.

ArewaWatch: What are the difficulties you experienced when getting started?

Auwal: One of the difficulties I experienced was selling our products/services. At some instances, we will design and produce a product and it will take about 2 – 3 months before selling it. Meeting up with customers taste and expectations was also challenging then, so also cost of production. This is because when I started, I outsource the production of the cloths after I must have made the designs myself, since I do not have the necessary machines for that.

ArewaWatch: Was their anytime you ever thought of giving up?

Auwal: Actually, there was no time I ever felt like giving up because it is something I love doing. I have passion for fashion designing. This is something I will trek 20 – 30 kilometers to go get a job done. I have done several jobs without even having anything in return.

ArewaWatch: What challenges are you currently experiencing?

Auwal: Our major challenge is electricity. Electricity supply here is very poor. As it is now, we use generator to do over 75% of our work. This makes our cost of production higher.


Soofwa Product
Soofwa Product


ArewaWatch: What is your advice to young aspiring entrepreneurs?

Auwal: I will advice any aspiring entrepreneur to have passion for anything they want to venture into. Passion will take you very far. Passion will make you have the patience necessary for succeeding. The truth is, we are the architects of ourselves. We design what we want to be by determination. If you are determined to do something, just work hard, have passion for it and pray hard, and success will knock at your door InshaaAllah.

ArewaWatch: How can someone place orders for your products and services?

Auwal: Customers can reach us at our office situated at Shema Shopping Complex behind Shema Petrol Station. Ribadu Road, Tudun Wada, Kaduna State, Nigeria. We are open Mondays to statudays, 9am to 6pm.

Customers can also reach us via the following online channels:






Email: soofwaventure@gmail.com

Call/Whatsapp: 07037079942
Call: 09027222074


Engineer, Banker Turned Fashion Designer - Meet Auwal Ahmad, The Young CEO of Soofwa Fashion Engineer, Banker Turned Fashion Designer - Meet Auwal Ahmad, The Young CEO of  Soofwa Fashion Reviewed by AbuZahra Ahmad on August 12, 2018 Rating: 5

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