Best Projects 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs.
Recycle Old Shoes with Yarn
Explain your project in details:
Crochet Hub Africa is a project that was started to make use of cheap locally available raw materials to create new shoes. We use yarn to refurbish old shoes into desirable styles as per the customers demands. We are capable of making numerous designs out of a single old pair of sole, for all age groups, sizes and both sexes. We obtain our soles from used shoes whose soles are still in good shape. Such shoes can be as lowly priced as less than $1.00. The upper worn out part is carefully gotten rid of and the sole washed spotlessly clean. Then using a crochet hook, a new upper part is sewn. The new handmade shoes are not only customizable but cheap as well. For these shoes, a pair only needs a ball of yarn worth $1.00. Eventually, the shoe pairs are sold at a price ranging between $6.00 and $60. Sometimes, we deliberately go for new pairs of soles from shoe industries at a higher price so as to meet customers demands. This means we could still make our own brand of new shoes. Our favorite customers are kids; one, they do not wear out their shoes, they outgrow them. Most of childrens used shoes have newer soles despite the worn out top. Secondly, yarn is warmer; all kids need warmth. We do our sells exclusively online. We are located strategically in a rural set up where there is cheap labor. However, our market is largely based in towns. We ship our shoes nationwide in Kenya at a small fee. Payment is as well done online.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
The traffic of shoes from urban centers to rural areas is high. Unfortunately, the shoes that will trickle down to the rural dwellers are sometimes rejects and the worst of grades of used shoes. We rural dwellers only see brand shoes on TV. Crochet Hub Africa is rerouting the shoes business, back to towns through recycling . We are taking advantage of the fact that most urban dwellers love unique stylish and often expensive footwear to furnish them with exactly the same. Our crochet shoes are as new as the materials that are put together to make them. This is how we have hooked the city people on our crochet hooks. The women in the rural set up will benefit from this project big time in two ways: those that do not afford shoes quality shoes can buy our own cheaply while those that are long-sighted will make the shoes and sell because we offer training to empower local women. We have been training women in various parts of the country already. There is vast room for improvement on our product, because creativity is limitless. By so doing, we are promoting the local manufacturers industry and the Small and Medium Enterprises that Africa is struggling so hard empower. Our greatest achievement was when we featured on KCB LIONS DEN season three last year. We are yet to receive the funding upon being the finalists. This will help us expand especially in the areas of marketing and raw materials.
Sustainability and future plans
I was a finalist in the Kenyan entrepreneurship program KCB Lions Den where I won $5000 to establish my business. I am yet to receive the amount to be used for purchasing raw materials in bulk as well as aid in marketing. I have as well managed to finance the project with a loan worth $50000. We are still researching on how best to make the shoes, where to source for best materials and the type of yarn that best finish our work. As at now, our shoes can compete in the shoe industry favorably. We are already selling online on order, making deliveries nationwide. We have already sold more than 300 pairs in a span of a year. We are coming up with our brand before the end of the year. We are aiming at taking the textiles industry by storm to supply quality yarn, crochet accessories and rubber soles in the country. We are as well working on improving our training services country wide.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
I am a 31 year old lady, mother of one and a graduate teacher by profession. I come from a family of eight; four girls four boys. Both of my parents are teachers too. I am In November 2016, I had my baby. I was disappointed that I had to travel to a nearby town, about 200 KM away to buy nice baby stuff for her. Then I wondered, I am a teacher, I can afford a few nice stuffs for my kid, but they werent readily available! What of the women without jobs in the rural areas? Where would they find nice baby shoes for instance? That is how I began improvising crochet shoes on soles. After some time, I began training locals in the craft. Since then, I have been improving on the work and as at now, it is clear I have come a long way.