I hope you had a wonderful week. As you can see, the Behind the Magic interview series is finally back on the blog due to popular demand. For those of you new to my platform, it’s a series where I feature different people and companies doing amazing things. I highlight their work, share their journey but also give a peek into the person behind the brand, to inspire others. I’m an advocate for diversity and inclusivity so I use this space to share other people’s stories and experience to encourage, elevate, educate and empower my community.
Today on the blog, is an interview with Mojoyin, a Nigerian woman and working mum of 3 boys. She goes from being an IT Scientist with a love for shoes to being a fabulous Shoe Designer. So this is the woman behind the magic of Jojo Shoes. Read the full interview below to get more insight on who she is, what drove her to turn her passion to a business and a little about her journey as an entrepreneur.
- Describe your company? What’s your mission and why did you start it?
I registered JoJo Shoes as an LLC in November of 2017 but officially launched in April of 2018. When I had this dream of making my own designs, the first thing I had in mind was designing a fresh range of comfortable sexy shoes for women. The second thing I wanted was to make quality shoes in comparison to high end designer shoes at affordable price points. My Jojo Shoes actually came to life when I tried to buy a pair of designer shoes that were so beautiful and pricey, but very uncomfortable due to my wide feet. So, I ended up not purchasing the shoes and decided to go to the drawing board with some other designers and manufacturers, to bring my JoJo Shoes alive.
- What’s your educational background?
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology but completely switched gears from natural sciences to a Master of Science in Information Technology. I got some other IT certifications and worked as a Database Administrator and software developer for some years. Now I design shoes. No formal education in shoe designing but I have taken some basic training to get me started.
- What’s your favorite things to do and why?
I am a mom of 3 boys and there is nothing I love more than traveling to soccer tournaments watching my kid’s soccer games. Yes! I’m that soccer mom. And I also enjoy my me time doing yoga and weekly pickup volley ball.
- Where are you from and what city do you live in right now?
I’m from Nigeria, but I currently live in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
- Can you describe your style in 3 words and your go to outfit?
Classic, comfortable and chic. I really don’t follow trends, instead I wear what I feel looks good on me and what’s comfortable for me.
- What’s your favorite fashion trend of all time and why?
I love bell bottom pants, I never stopped wearing them even when people started wearing skinny jeans. I felt it made me look curvy, not sure why.
- What’s your favorite clothing and shoe designer and why?
I love J. Crew, because they have simple yet chic pieces. And I love Aquazzura, I feel they are more original than the other high-end designer shoes.
- Share what a typical day looks like. What’s the most fun part of your day and the hardest?
A typical day in my life since I opened my physical store really changes from day to day. But most times, I get my kids ready for school in the morning, drive them to the bus stop and then sit in my car for about 30 mins listening to the Bible and sipping my coffee. Then, I get ready for my day at the store.
- What does creativity mean to you and what’s the first thing you do when you have an idea?
To be able to express my true self. When I have an idea, I scribble it down, sketch what I want the shoe to look like and all the hardware and materials I would love to use for the design.
- Do you have any advice for people who are struggling with finding their passion or career paths?
I say stay focused, have perseverance and trust God.
- What’s one major goal you want to accomplish this year?
I would love to get my shoe collection into major chain stores like Nordstrom and also design custom shoes for brides and women who need unique shoes.
- How long did it take you to create your business, from getting the idea to launching it?
It took me about a year. This is the first business idea I consciously and deliberately tried not to procrastinate on things.
- What have been some of your challenges as a business owner and how did you deal with it?
I’d say, having to plan with very little capital. Starting small to grow into something huge is not really easy. I am not a good planner, so it’s been really hard adhering to some business principles and guidelines I know would help my business grow. I have also had challenges finding a good manufacturer that is willing to work with you at all cost.
- Are you working on something new? Do you have any upcoming events?
I am working on my summer and fall designs. Also, I’m working on creating a mummy and me (girl) shoe line. I’m also having an exclusive sales event for my 2nd anniversary this summer.
- Who will you like to work with? Who inspires you? Do you have any mentors and do you mentor others?
I work with a friend in Italy who has been in the shoe industry for some years now and has interest and worked with major brands. I have also been approached by other starters who want to get into shoe designing for tips and how to go about it. I’d love to work with Edgardo Osorio, the creative director behind Aquazzura. I love their shoes; I feel they are original and not as ridiculously priced as the other designer shoes. I would also love to work with Lolu (@loluesq), he designs men’s shoes that his work speaks volume.
- Which will you choose, money or happiness?
To be honest, I always thought I was a money person until I started my business from scratch and left my 6-figure paying job to pursue my dreams and happiness. So, I’ll choose happiness.
- What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned within the last year and do you have any regrets?
I have learned that nothing good comes easy but with hard work, perseverance and God on my side, I can conquest the world. No regrets whatsoever, I have always realized that regrets always set me backward and I’m always trying to go forward, (backward never, forward ever).
- How do you give back in your community and how do you want to be remembered?
Apart from sometimes volunteering at soup kitchens, donating to goodwill and Go Fund me fund raisers, I’d really love to give back by going to Africa to help children. Giving a percentage of sales to buying school shoes and uniforms for kids is something I’m really planning to do.
- How can people contact and follow you?
Anyone can reach me on 443-851-6204, fill out a contact form on my website www.myjojos.com or follow me on IG @myjojoshoes
I hope you enjoyed reading this interview. Definitely check out her website to get more details and to shop her shoe collection, you can use my discount code CHIGI20 for 20% off all orders. JoJo Shoes is designed with all types of women in mind because their view is that “women with things to do and places to go need footwear that works”. They can also customize your shoes by doing fittings. HERE is a post on 5 Ways to Find the Best Shoes for your Feet.
Have a fabulous day,