Rubies and Potters – Zuhri
Our Rubies and Potters guest today is an exceptionally talented and motivated young lady.
Rubies & Potters is a section on our blog where we bring to you great minds doing great things!
We’re taking this time out to celebrate them and showcase them to the world in our own beautiful way.
So join this train, and let’s do this together…..
Welcome on board Zuhri, where are you originally from?
I am from Kwara state in Nigeria
Where do you currently reside?
I live in Abuja, Nigeria
I am a Christian, I am born again.
When is your birthday?
Can you share more on your educational background with us?
I attended University of Ilorin “Secondary School” in Kwara State for my secondary education. For my higher institution, firstly I attended Kwara State Polytechnic where I obtained a diploma in Architecture, I proceeded to Federal University of Technology Minna, Niger State where I got B.Tech in Architecture.
I had my Masters education at the University of Lincoln, United Kingdom where I bagged a Masters in Architecture.
At Master’s level, I specialized in Sustainable Architecture also known as Eco-Friendly or Green Architecture.
I also obtained a certification in Entrepreneurship Management from Pan Atlantic University (Lagos Business School).
Can you share any of your notable academic awards?
I was awarded a scholarship under the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Enterprise program.
I studied Architecture because I’ve always loved drawing and designing.
What do you do for a living?
I am the CEO and Managing Director of Zuhri Concept Designs Limited mostly called Zuhri.
Please tell us about Zuhri as a whole…what and what do you do? What is the whole concept about?
Zuhri is an eco-friendly lifestyle brand.
Zuhri Concept Designs Limited was founded in 2014 out of my passion for product design.
Basically, we produce unique foot wears, bags, souvenirs and other products based on orders we get.
The Zuhri brand is also passionate about supporting fair treatment of workers, fair trade, primary school education, sustainable products, sustainable growth, saving the environment and developing Nigeria and the continent of Africa.
Our services includes both retail and wholesale production of foot wears (sneakers, vans, oxfords, toms, sandals and slippers), bags (conference bags, school bags, laptop bags, backpacks, messenger bags, handbags, purses, wallets, etc.) and souvenir (eco-friendly shopping bags, event carrier bags, baby bags, makeup bags, toiletry bags, key holders etc.). I must say our products are trendy, durable, aesthetically pleasing products.
Our customers are individuals, stores, supermarkets, companies, governmental/private institutions and organizations, schools, branding companies, event and wedding planners.
I’m sure I have said enough (laughs) Yes, you have, lol
Are you involved in any form of charity?
Yes, we have a program called “IWALKFORSCHOOL”
IWalkforSchool is an initiative of Zuhri to support the educational sector of Nigeria, by supporting primary school pupils with school kits to motivate learning.
For every pair of sneakers or vans shoes sold, a complete school kit which comprises of backpack, pencil case, 2 exercise books, a pen, a pencil, a ruler, an eraser, a sharpener, is given to a primary school pupil in a Local Government school, an orphanage primary school or an internally displaced persons’ primary school.
What inspired Zuhri?
Zuhri inspiration came first from personal need. It was very hard for me to get my shoe size in Nigeria because I’m in-between sizes 37-39. My foot length is shoe size 39 while my width is shoe size 37, so finding my exact shoe size was a hard task. I started making slippers for myself, then sandals and later started making for friends and family. As it grew, people started ordering in bulk to sell abroad and in some stores in Nigeria. I focused on using mostly local materials within the country (Nigeria) to produce and that is how my Sustainable Architectural background mixed together with product design and the Eco-Friendly lifestyle brand emerged. #FANTASTIC
Do you have a website or business blog that we can visit?
My website will be launched next month, I can be reached via my Instagram handle @Zuhri_concept
Tell us about a memorable day or event in your life as an entrepreneur?
The day our first sneakers and oxford shoe prototype came out; I was very happy because I saw a dream and vision become reality.
Tell us about two major challenges you faced while starting off your business and how you overcame them?
Two major challenges I faced was lack of believe in myself and management of resources.
When I started out, I felt it was just going to be a smooth ride and I had a lot of dreams and aspirations for it and so when it was not materializing like I had hoped I began to fear and doubt if being an entrepreneur was really my path. I had to pull down a lot of doubt in my mind and also closed my ears to the Nay Sayers. At a time, I had to shut myself off from people and study, read, meditate and pray on my vision, passion and purpose and I was able to convince myself that this was the path for me, that I can make it and that I will make it. Then, I re-launched as an entrepreneur and business woman, with so much confidence in myself and here we are.
The second part which is management of resources, not necessarily money (although money was part of it). I had to learn how to manage my time, the people around me and people who had access to my mind.
I learnt how to manage my emotions and worked on my mentality because it’s a resource God has given me (as a man thinketh in his heart so is he -Prov. 23:7). Another one was learning to guard my heart with all diligence, out of it flows the issues of life -Prov 4:23) this became my watch word. I went back to management school determined. I was fortunate enough to get the scholarship to study Entrepreneurship Management which finally helped me with the managerial aspect.
So basically, I overcame the two challenges through studying, reading, meditating, asking questions and praying because being successful as an Entrepreneur is spiritual (hold on tight to whatever you believe).
What impact have your parents and siblings had on your progress?
My parents and my siblings were my first investors, marketers and even customers. They help vet my design and products before its get out to other customers. They are my support group, my fans and also my critics.
Your favorite life quote(s)
Now, I will say the ‘Joy of the lord is my strength’, I recite that in my head all the time and anytime a challenge or situation wants to make me sad or depressed because if I lose my joy, I lose my strength.
Joy gives me tenacity, strength, hope that if I don’t solve a problem today, tomorrow is another day to chip at it or bulldoze it as the case might be.
Your favorite business/career quote(s)
‘Put your money on your mind and your mind on your money’ LOL! I heard it from Bishop T D Jakes and it stuck since then. It means don’t be emotional about your business, the same mind you put to driving a car (your life depends on it) use it to organize your business.
What are your aspirations in the next five (5) years?
To be a known brand, for the Zuhri name to be synonymous to quality all around. And to be an indigenous Nigeria brand known throughout the world, so help us God.
What else are you passionate about?
I am passionate about learning. I just want to learn and learn and so hopefully, someday I will be teaching wealth creation in Africa.
What motivates you as an individual?
Identifying new potentials inside of me and people around me.
I believe every human being should maximize their potentials in life, especially the girl child/woman.
What major challenge(s) has your business faced or being facing just because it is domiciled in
Nigeria and how have you been managing this/these challenge(s)?
I will say “power”(electricity) and Nigerians believing made in Nigeria goods are of lesser quality or should be cheap.
For the electricity part I plan ahead, I got a generator and source for fuel for production.
For customers, our product does the convincing, we look forward to seeing their reaction and feedback when they see our products. We are changing their minds one at a time to the quality of a product made in Nigeria. We are getting there.
What else do you see the whole Zuhri project accomplishing?
I see us as solution providers in the educational sector in Nigeria.
Do you have a political ambition? If yes, what will that be?
As of now, I don’t see myself in an elective post, but I can see myself being in the palace like Joseph and Daniel bringing in change without been elected but appointed.
A lot of young Nigerians have lost faith in the country, what advice do you have for the Nigerian
The advice I have for Nigerian youths is not to despair or sit in the position of a critic. Despair or critiquing the government is not the solution to the problem. It only blocks ideas and innovation.
Have a can do attitude, identify whatever blessing you have (God will never make a man without a blessing or a gift or something in their hands to work with). So the Nigerian youths should identify their gifts and be ready to work.
Not only physically but mentally and I believe with that attitude we will turn the tide in Nigeria for the better.
I see a great Nigeria and it will be made manifest in my generation.
Okay, please give a shout out to anyone you wish to acknowledge
I will like to give a shout out to my mentor, Dr. Kelechi Chukwuemeka and People of Prominence International. I want to say a huge “thank you” to Dr Kelechi Chukwuemeka, for believing in me and always challenging me to do more and never be afraid of challenges but instead to see them as a ride to higher levels. I have grown a lot through his coaching, advice and mentorship. He raised me to be a solution provider to my community, country and later in the nearest future, the world.
The solutions we all crave for is inside of us, find your purpose, passion and vision and let us all make this world a better place.
It’s in you, bring it out!!!
Wooow, it’s been a wonderful session with you Zuhri.
Thanks for this privilege 🙂
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