Small Business Interview: Eleanor Ngozi Anukam, Owner Eleanor Anukam Footwear
I'm very happy to feature brand new business owner Eleanor Ngozi Anukam the owner and creative force behind Eleanor Anukam footwear, a luxury shoe line. A business she created after struggling to find high quality shoes in her shoe size. Instead of settling, she took matters into her own hands and created her stunning shoe line, all hand made in Brazil. In the short time since she's launched, she's been in contact with various celebrities interested in wearing her shoes and has been featured on TV on the Good Morning Texas show. Ngozi sets a perfect example that you if you dream big and set your hearts towards your dreams, you can achieve big things and this is just her beginning! In this interview she talks about her journey and gives some awesome advice to those of you who want to launch your own businesses but are not sure where to start. Enjoy this amazing interview and definitely check out her stunning shoe line. Enjoy!
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your business. What is it called and what products do you offer?
Kedu! My name is Eleanor Ngozi Anukam and I am the owner and lead creative for Eleanor Anukam Footwear. We offer affordable luxurious footwear for women with sizes ranging from 9-13. We utilize the finest materials combined with masterful construction. We produce our footwear in the same factory as some of the popular brands out there. Born in Houston TX but I'm Nigerian; my Ibo culture is core to my being. This is why my shoes are named after Ibo girls.
Can you share a bit about how you chose this line of business? What transition did you make to owning your own business?
They say make your pain your story! I stand 5’10 and have size appropriate feet. My size 12 feet was a problem for me for a while, I could never find trendy well constructed footwear. Going shoe shopping was always frustrating for me because designers do not typically make footwear in extended sizes to accommodate this niche market.
After working for a couple pharmaceutical companies out of college, I decided to change lanes and do exactly what I knew I was destined to do: start Eleanor Anukam Footwear.
Do you have any special training?
No, I didn’t. I just read a lot of books and articles on Shoe-making and production.
What are some of your biggest accomplishments as a business owner?
I just launched my business on December 10th 2015, so I would say that getting this project off the ground is my biggest accomplishment yet. In 3 short weeks, various celebrity stylists have been in contact with me for various projects and I have also be appeared on Good Morning Texas.
How soon after you started did you start seeing profits? Or when do you project you will begin earning a profit?
Well, as I stated we just launched but I am expecting to be profitable by the first quarter of 2016.
How did you decide how to price your services? How did you determine what your services were worth?
Eleanor Anukam Footwear is affordably priced. One of the great benefits of my brand is that we are an e-commerce site so we were able to cut of the middle man and sell directly to consumer. We don't sell cheap shoes, we sell value to our customers. A multiplier applied to the production cost of the shoe has shown to be the best pricing strategy.
What mistakes have you made with your business? What did you learn from the experience and how did you bounce back?
Oh boy! Well, one of the mistakes I didn't see was an operational one. Nigeria is a huge market for me but I underestimated the shipping logistics. A shipping carrier had promised me some great rates but apparently did not include the taxes and duties. The rates became exorbitant and cost me a lot. Since I am known as the fixer, I decided to fix the issue. For countries that may pose logistic challenges, only a few stockists will be chosen to service that market.
What do you consider the most important elements of running a successful small business?
Passion and being resourceful are very important elements because as a small business owner, I don't have a swarm of investors backing me. The business becomes your life. I don't sleep until 3am, but have to be up at 6am to get my kid up ready for school. I am passionate about my business and determined for it to succeed. Finding resourceful ways to fund, and market your business is very important.
Do you have any start-up advice you can share with women reading this who would like to launch their own businesses?
Research your idea! Are there competitors? If there are, how are you different? Are you different enough? Have you written a business plan? done a SWOT analysis? Figured out Funding?
I say write the idea down, and start a 30-60-90 day plan. Have goals you have to achieve during those periods. Start small, don't think big because you will be overwhelmed. GOOD LUCK LADIES!
Do you have any advice on managing your small business finances?
In order for your business to grow, you have to keep reinvesting, try not to take money or draw a salary out of it in the beginning. Know your numbers and pay attention to your process.
How do you balance work and life owning a small business?
To be honest, I am still trying to figure that out. Knowing when to shut the computer off, not schedule an 11 pm meeting and just have regular office hours. That is a foreign idea to me at this moment but hopefully, I can get back to a time I can comfortably play Wii U with my son without thinking about an order and just focus on Mario defeating Bowser.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Wow! Remarkable growth and profitable with a great team around me so I can continue to travel the world.
Please share a fun fact about yourself
I am a good cook and great dancer. I haven't been dancing in a while but I hope that changes in the near future.