In 2016, armed with Kshh 3,000 and a passion for craftsmanship, John Eroti embarked on a journey that would eventually transform him into a prominent figure in Nakuru’s shoe-making industry.
Starting small, he crafted leather shoes within the confines of his home, distributing them to local vendors and friends who recognized his talent.
This venture began as a side hustle, while Eroti concurrently worked as a boiler operator at a timber company.
However, as demand for his meticulously crafted leather footwear steadily increased, Eroti saw a golden opportunity within the leather shoe-making business.
In 2018, he took a bold step, leaving his 14-year tenure in formal employment to focus solely on his entrepreneurial venture.
To accommodate his growing business, he relocated his operations to Bondeni market, a move that marked a significant turning point.
“I felt I had acquired enough customers to fully focus on making shoes. The demand was growing every day,” John Eroti said during an Interview with Mtaa Wangu.
Armed with technical expertise acquired through studies and two years of remote work, Eroti expanded his production.
His workload soared, progressing from crafting 15 pairs of shoes per week to an astounding 25 pairs per day.
To manage this growth, he hired a young assistant, enabling him to meet the rising demand.
Yet, challenges loomed.
The manual shoemaking process hindered the scale of his production.
“To address this challenge, I am planning to acquire a shoe-making machine to boost my daily production,” Mr Eroti noted.
His vision extended beyond Nakuru; he recognized the demand for quality leather shoes not only within his town but also in other regions, fueling his ambition to expand further.
However, the path to success was not without obstacles.
Imported second-hand and new shoes flooded the market, creating stiff competition for locally crafted ones.
Additionally, the escalating cost of leather inflated production expenses, putting pressure on his profit margins.
Despite these challenges, Eroti makes a weekly profit of Ksh 6,000.
Beyond his personal success, Eroti held a broader vision for his industry. He believed in its potential to generate numerous job opportunities for the youth in Nakuru and the entire country.