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I deal with difficult customers by putting myself in their shoes – Mustapha

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Aysha Mustapha, 24, is the founder of Ayshasplace. She speaks to TOLUWALOPE KAREEM about her business
What services does your business render?

It is a bespoke online store where we sell quality handmade shoes, wallets, belts for men, and handmade bags for women.

What is your educational background?

For my elementary education, I attended Ola and Ayo Primary School. For my secondary education, I attended Aladura Comprehensive High School. I also have a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Caleb University, Lagos.

Do you have any corporate work experience?

Yes, I do. I used to work as a marketer at a real estate company. I also worked at CMB Building Maintenance and Investment Company Limited.

When and how did you learn to make footwear?

I actually did not learn to make footwear. I just learnt how to negotiate with customers as I am a really shy person. I only learnt the social part but I understand some things about the making of shoes and bags.

How long have you been in the business?

I have been doing this business for two years. I started in March 2019.

What motivated you to start your own business?

I hated my job. I was not satisfied with where I was and I felt frustrated. So, I opened an Instagram page for my business and the rest is history.

How much was your initial capital and how did you raise it?

The kind of business I am into, one does not necessarily need capital to start, as it is still an online store and payments are made before orders are processed.

What are the major challenges you’ve faced?

That would have to be dispatch riders and difficult customers.

How do you get customers?

I advertise on Instagram and also get referrals.

Have you ever thought of quitting and seeking paid employment?

Yes. In the early days of my business, I felt like giving up but I decided to keep at it and now, things are better.

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Is your business registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission?

Yes, it is registered.

How profitable has the business been?

It is profitable enough but it could be better.

What other skills do you possess?

I am social media savvy.

Where do you see yourself and your business in the next five years?

I see myself being extremely successful. Even before five years time, it won’t be an online store alone. By God’s grace, I would have opened different branches and hired people to work for me. At least in my little way, I would help reduce the unemployment rate in Nigeria.

A lot of youths are fixated on white collar jobs. What do you think is the future of entrepreneurship?

I believe the future is bright for entrepreneurship. I can beat my chest and say that most graduates are now involved in one business or the other and they are doing well for themselves. One might face some hurdles here and there but they can be overcome if one is determined. Also, it feels good to be one’s own boss.

What would you say is the most influential factor in your business’ success?

I would say it is the grace of God and hard work.

What advice do you have for other young entrepreneurs out there?

I would advise them to work hard, be patient and do not compare themselves to other business owners that are doing better. One’s time would surely come if one is consistent and focused.

How do you handle difficult customers?

Customers are human, and most human beings are difficult to handle. So, I just work my way around it. I try to be understanding and put myself in their shoes.


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