By Prudence Minayo
From Louis Vuitton to Gucci, Kenyans are increasingly drawn to international brands. Apart from the general appearance, most feel sleek wearing the branded shoes and identifying with their stories. Preying on this, many merchants sell fake branded shoes to consumers.
Hence, Foremen, a luxury Kenyan shoe brand was created to appeal to the Kenyan market by making original shoes meeting international standards. By hard work, resilience and incorporating customers feedback, it has grown to become one of the go to brands for a number of Kenyans.
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Augustine Dundos is the director and founder of the company. He is a communications specialist with years of experience in digital media. He is a co-founder and director at Admedia communications limited. Admedia has worked with some of the biggest companies including: UNICEF, Safaricom, Airtel, Branch, KPMG, European Union and United Nations.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
Background and Education
After sitting for his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education at Sawagongo High School in 2001, he joined Kenya School of Professional Studies. He graduated in 2005 with a diploma in mass communication and Public Relations.
In a recent interview with KTN, Augustine revealed that he started entrepreneurship quite early. He started selling sweets in class two and brooms. When he saw people selling brooms, he realized he could make them using grass from his home.
He did this and sold to their neighbours. His late mother also made chapati and mandazi, which he would sell early in the morning before school.
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Setting up Foremen and Growth
As he enjoyed traveling, Augustine often found good shoes. From 2004, he developed a hobby of buying different shoe brands and bringing them into the country. It was not until more than a decade later that he realized it could actually transform to a worthwhile business venture.
After years of selling other people’s brands, he decided to start his own brand. The idea was to create something that would compete at the highest level. He chose the name Foremen as it had an international feel and people could not tell where it came from. The business has been running as an e-commerce for more than six years.
In the beginning, he focused on making shoes that he thought were nice. It was not until later that he began to incorporate customers feedback and started making what they want. Today, they sell a variety of simple stylish shoes, such as loafers and boots, with some of their designs named after loyal customers.
According to him, for businesses to succeed, they need a good product, branding, marketing and excellent customer service. He says most of their buyers are repeat customers.
The businessman said the major challenge for entrepreneurs in the country is access to capital and the high cost of logistics. For example, their company takes care of shipping fees once a client buys from them. However, shipping prices are not affordable and can fluctuate at times.
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