“Helping Men find their Solemate” – Interview with Sheun David-Onamusi

by Solemate by Dapper

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So today, we have for you an interview with the Creative Director Sheun David-Onamusi – the man who brings you such quality luxury shoes.
 Are you ready for this insight?
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Read on to find out everything there is to know about your favourite luxury shoe company

Q) When did you start up your business? 
Sheun’s Answer: The business was conceptualised in 2012 and we had our soft launch on the 30th January 2016 with plans to have our maiden launch early next year.

Q) What a great start to the New Year! So where did the idea for the business come from?
Sheun’s Answer: My journey probably began as far back as 2004 when I was working for Nike and then moved on to working with Office as a store manager. In 2012, without trying to sound like Martin Luther King, I had a dream of making shoes for people. For over 6 years I had for a UK shirt maker, both in the UK and internationally, which made me excited about providing comfortable, stylish and quality shoes starting with Men specifically and then expanding!

Q) How difficult is it starting a luxury shoe business?
Sheun’s Answer: With limited financial backing, I will say very difficult! The key strength I wanted to have in my business was providing luxury shoes so I had to spend enormous time on sourcing quality vendors who would never compromise the high standards our shoes stand for. My research also meant I travelled outside of the UK to engage manufacturers who had worked for global brands like Fendi, Gucci and household Superstar personalities.

Q) Wow, such a great experience you must have got from travelling. How supportive where the people around you as you began the journey?
Sheun’s Answer: I had a good level of support from my immediate family and close friends and still do to this date!

Q) That’s wonderful to hear! So would you say this industry is very competitive?
Sheun’s Answer: The shoemaking industry is quite competitive but I feel that once you know what you stand for and are passionate about delivering the best to your clients, it all seems easy.

Q) Have you faced any challenges during your time as a business owner? If so, what were they and how did you overcome them?
Sheun’s Answer: I still face challenges as we speak but “Nothing worth doing, comes that easy” and honestly, I see all of them as opportunities. In overcoming some of our challenges we have had to become more creative with her branding, pricing and sourcing strategy. Recently we came up with plans to launch our new line of accessories and a Ready-To-Wear collection which allows customers who can’t afford to wait weeks for the laborious Bespoke shoe making process. These Ready-to-wear collections will come in selected styles some of which we have showcased on our social media platforms for a couple of weeks and we will only ever produce 100 pairs of each our ready-to-wear lines because we understand our customers belong to a class of exclusive fashion conscious people.

Q) Your positive outlook is truly inspiring! If you could speak to somebody who wanted to set up a business in this industry, what would you say to them?
Sheun’s Answer: The Industry has its challenges but as long as you can differentiate yourself and know your target audience, there is no limit to how far you can go. Don’t let anything stop you!

Q) Why Bespoke and why start with Men’s shoes?
Sheun’s Answer: We decided to start with Bespoke because we believe people are different and should be given options to express themselves in an individual (bespoke) way. Even though there seems to be an increase in the number of bespoke shoemakers, we believe our shoes and the brand is different and therefore if we could satisfy the individual in a way nobody else can, we have a better chance of satisfying the bigger population. That’s similarly the reason why we chose to start with Men’s shoes. Satisfy the individual one at a time; nobody can satisfy everybody right?

Q) What does Solemate by Dapper Shoes stand for?
Sheun’s Answer: In conceptualising this business my heartfelt desire is not to re-write the history of shoes or reinvent shoes but to always tell a story with every pair we make. I see myself as a therapist to our clients. I listen intently to their desires and through a carefully organised process, deliver the right solution that best further reinforces their confidence. In short I see myself as being in the business of confidence building and that’s exactly what I envision Solemate by Dapper stands for.

Q) You talked about immediate plans to start a RTW line, what about 10 years from now?
Sheun’s Answer: Our current plan is to take it one day at a time. Fail fast so that we can learn fast. Learn more about our customers and what makes them satisfied. When you are in search for a soulmate, you don’t rush right? In our quest to provide the best shoes, we do not intend to rush growth.

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions you would like Sheun to answer, just comment on the Instagram post with your question!
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