Kwarapreneur caught up with the face behind the fast rising, leather making startup in Ilorin known as AA Leather.
Q. Can we meet you?
A. My name is Abdullahi Sulaiman Adewunmi, popularly known as AA Leather. I hail from Kwara State and I’m married with kids. I am the C.E.O. of AA Leather.
Q. Who is AA Leather?
A. I would call myself an embodiment of different talents. I am not into one single business because I am very creative. I am currently an academic. I lecture at the University of Ilorin, Department of Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management, Faculty of Management Sciences. I am also an artist, a creative artist. I paint, draw and I am into business. I paint and draw not for leisure alone, I sell them.
Q. How did you come about AA Leather?
A. As I have said earlier, I am an embodiment of different talents. In fact, creativity does not make me rest. If I want to rest and an idea comes up, if I don’t pursue it, it will probe me until I eventually pursue it. Leather work has been an idea that has been probing me for more than 5 years. I was given the opportunity to go to the UK for my Msc. There I saw a lot of good leather products but as a student I couldn’t afford them, so I concluded that coming back home, I should be able to get the same thing for a cheaper price. Unfortunately, when I came back, I couldn’t get it and it was disappointing. So I said to myself, “Look, leather work is something I can do, why don’t I just do it?”. That was it. I had been searching for a leather laptop bag that could also carry my reading materials, but I did not see anyone that I liked; and so, I designed and made one for myself. The first time I used it, someone bought it off me for 30k and that was how leather work started for me. It’s just over 8 months now and I am still in the start-up phase.
Q. What challenges have you faced?
A. The challenges that I will say a lot entrepreneurs face is funding and that has really staunched my development. Another challenge is availability of the required materials that will make my product match the quality of the ones that people are trying to get from outside. Lastly, acceptance of a locally made quality product by people; as most Nigerians lack faith in products not made in foreign countries.
- Where is the target audience?
They say Charity begins at home and that is why I want to start from here. My vision and mission is to cover the whole Africa and world. By the year 2020, I want my product to be in every home in Nigeria. I already have the blueprint.
Q. What are your products?
A. I have a wide range of products from Sachels, Purses, Bags, Wrist watches and so on. I even accept demands on customized products. If there’s anything you need in leather, I can make it.
Q. Advice for other Entrepreneurs sceptical about starting a business in Kwara
A. It is good here. Nigeria is a melting pot of consumers and Kwara is a part of Nigeria. If you can’t take a risk, you are not an entrepreneur.
A. Everything is a multiplier effect. If you enrich someone, then that person becomes capable of enriching someone else and the money is in circulation.
Below are some of his great works.