The Entrepreneurs Building A Trap For Your Sole

For George Asante and Papa Yaw Sika Andoh, the decision to make footwear with jute and corn husk was not an idea they had in mind when they started their company. But they were young men who were hungry for success and simply started work with an initial capital of 200 cedis from their own savings. The business was quite modest, with their main focus being to repair shoes for people who didn’t want to part with their torn or worn out footwear.

This however soon proved unfavourable, as they acknowledge that it took them the same amount of time to repair some shoes as they estimated would take them to make new ones. Thus, they started making their version of what is popularly known as ‘Kumasi shoes’.

The transition to use jute and corn husk in the making of footwear, was initiated with the intention of creating a unique brand that becomes synonymous with their trademark raw material. A strategy that has proven quite successful considering that, the mention of jute footwear indirectly alludes to the TRAP brand.

TRAP is acronym for True Reflection of African Products, a term that falls in line with the vision of the company to provide the footwear industry with something that is made with locally inspired materials but have a global appeal.

The jute is considered the second most important vegetable fibre after cotton and quite noted in the region for making coarse cloth and sacks for bagging cash crops like cocoa and maize. The corn husk is another material that is commonly use as covering for kenkey, a local delicacy that is boiled for hours. The strength of these materials is what interested the duo into considering them, taking into account their abundance in the country.  This, according to them meant they could produce with confidence of meeting increased demand.

After three years of operations and a shaky start, the company has made a lot of gains and grown their capital from 200 cedis to several tens of thousands of cedis. That is not to say that the company has not had some difficulties, chief of which is employee qualification and experience. They have had major setbacks due to the limited knowledge of the people they hire to make the shoes. The remedy has been to provide training for employees so they can perform, but this is also held back by financial constraints.

As pioneers of an idea that is selling fast and widely, they expect competition to come up for their market share, but the TRAP Team says, they anticipate it and work to ensure that their brand becomes entrenched with consumers in a way that makes it difficult to sway them.

According to George and Nana Yaw, a trait that they recommend every new or prospective entrepreneur to acquire is tenacity because entrepreneurship is a lonely world. It is also important to be true to yourself and know your strengths and most importantly, your weaknesses. George reveals he is good at coming up with ideas but always needs help sustaining it, a factor that makes his Nana Yaw the perfect partner for him.

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