Omaedo Osamor is the Managing Partner of Samuel & Doxa LP, she is a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2005.
Before flagging off her private legal practice, she worked extensively in the Oil and Gas industry as a company secretary and she has a fair knowledge of Human Resources, Employments and training and business consulting. She has attended certificate courses on Human Resources and Personal Empowerment, Maritime Capacity Building, Effective business communication and several core courses on corporate secretarial practices.
Her core areas of practice are Company Law, Real Estate, Company secretarial services, corporate governance, strategy and Planning, Solicitor’s services and Special Projects.
She is a chartered secretary and as such is an Associate member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in Nigeria as well as the Nigerian Bar Association.
Omaedo Osamor is also the founder of Lilmissfab; a two years old bespoke shoe brand for women here in Nigeria.
Lilmissfab was born out of her creativity and the passion to help women across Nigeria remain fabulous without breaking the bank.
Lilmissfab produces shoes in European sizes from size 36 to size 45. Comfort and Class is very key for us and as such we are able to produce the same shoe in different heel heights from 2 inches to 5 inches to suit the wearer.
In this Interview with Oyinlola Sale, Omaedo Osamor reveals to us the inspiration behind creating her shoe brand, Lilmissfab as a Legal Practitioner.
As a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court, what is the inspiration behind creating Lilmissfab?
My inspiration behind creating Lilmissfab is very simple, First of all I like a good pair of shoes and I believe that a very beautiful pair of shoes can make a simple outfit look extraordinary. I also believe you don’t have to break the bank to wear a pefect pair of shoes, and even though I am a Lawyer, I practice as a Solicitor but i felt my passion and creativity needed to be harnessed and that was how I created My own Shoe brand, Lilmissfab.
Would you say your experience as a legal practitioner made it easier to establish a well grounded shoe business?
My experience as a legal practitioner made it very easy to establish my shoe business, First of all when you are called to the Nigerian bar as a Lawyer, you can practice both as a Barrister and Solicitor.
I cut my teeth from the onset and i choose to practice as a Solicitor.
So being a Solicitor and being a chartered Secretary, I have worked in house as company Secretary and Legal adviser and currently in my private practice, I manage several businesses, I also act as company secretary on the board of several businesses.
So, It was easy for me to create my own business and it’s something I love to do, in terms of being able to incorporate what the law wants us to do and Corporate governance practices that would make my business run smoothly.
The industry is churning out different shoe designers, what makes Lilmissfab Unique?
The Industry is really churning out a lot of shoe designers, I actually stumbled on a couple of them before creating my own and since I started my legal practice, I have always had the desire to create my own show business, when I started selling shoes originally, it wasn’t my own brand and I had a 9 to 5, I was working in house as company Secretary and legal adviser, but I had this passion of selling good shoes and I like to turn out looking really good and people will compliment my shoes.
That was the beginning of my success in the shoe business, I started getting supplies from abroad and I was selling to my colleagues, friends and new acquaintances.
Now what makes Lilmissfab unique from the other shoe brands is that I cut a definite niche for myself and I realized that a lot of people have big feet and some people that have big feet are comfortable with wearing high heeled shoes, while some others are not comfortable in high heeled shoes.
My style is to create something for each individual by creating the same shoe in different types of heels. The whole idea is that whatever type of heel you like, you deserve to look good and Fabulous.
Presently, you manufacture your shoes abroad, what are your reasons behind that decision?
Although, I manufacture my shoes abroad, this was not the plan from the onset, when I concieved this idea for the shoe brand, I wanted the Slogan made in Nigerians for Nigerians and I went around looking for who will create this shoes for me.
I discovered that creating shoes in Nigeria was the same thing as importing them, because the shoe designers import the materials they use.
I still have a plan to opening my own shoe factory in Nigeria and that will happen very soon.
In what way has Covid-19 changed the mode of operation in your business?
Covid 19 has been a game changer with everybody’s business and Lilmissfab is not exempted.
When we started the shoe brand in 2019, our main aim was working class women that are trying to look good and still want to feel comfortable.
However, with the advent of Covid-19, most people who are go to the office, started to work from home.
So we had to create new products that would fit this era, because we want to cater to their needs of our customers.
This made us create flat sandals and flat shoes for most people working from home, and we still had the visibility that we always had. Even though a lot of businesses crippled, it just gave us new ideas to fit the situation we are in right now.
What are some of the challenges you have faced so far in building this brand?
The major challenge we have faced so far in building this brand is foreign exchange, when we started this business, dollar was at 360 to 1 naira and we coped with it.
The fact is that Lilmissfab is supposed to be affordable luxury, we are very mindful of the fact that people need to wear good shoes without having to break the bank and with the increase in dollar exchange rate, it just became impossible to keep our prices at the same place where we started, so we had to do a little price increase, although it was not significant that in as much that the Forex exchange has really gone up, against us and against our favour. We are still working round the clock to see how we can provide quality shoes but yet affordable.
How did you manage to finance this business, in it’s early days?
Financing the business from the earlier stage was quite tasking, we have a board and they are three of us on the board so we all donated into this business. I more or less donated my life savings into this business, we never got any external funding, we are positive that the business will profitable, regardless of the risk involved and we are open to to external funding, if it’s provided.
Funding has been a big issue because we can’t meet the demand we currently have, but we are taking it one step at a time and currently believe it will get better.
What were some of your fears when setting up the Lilmissfab Company?
I used all my savings to set up Lilmissfab in it’s early days, so i was very afraid what if the business collapses will people buy, then the competition out there of people selling shoes, what will make mine stand out and those were my fears but being a lawyer and Solicitor, it was easy for me to do the background work, I set up the company and the trade mark for the company.
I set up the social media account and business account as well.
Now starting up was quite scary, i had to look for factories to manufacture for me abroad but i took the plunge and i don’t regret it.
How can the Government create an enabling environment for businesses like yours to thrive?
Whether we agree to this or not, small businesses in Nigeria are going a long way to driving our economy, a lot of the money being made today is by Small and Medium Enterprises and people like you and I are the ones driving the economy and It will be great if the Government can recognise this and create a more enabling environment for us to work.
First of all, a lot of things have to be put in place to enable us do this business favourably, If I produce Shoes in Nigeria for Nigerians, we are going to cut out a lot of external factors and it will favour us in the Long run.
If I have Government funding that makes sense, at one digit interest rate, that would help me push my business forward and help me set up a business in Nigeria and help me get training from the people who currently produce for me, also if our electricity was stable ane we didn’t have to use a lot of fuel and diesel to run production it will cut a lot of cost too and Lilmissfab would be able to meet expectation and we would also be able to do what we planned from the onset.
Do you have plans of expanding the Lilmissfab brand, beyond shoes, what should we be expecting?
We still have plans of expanding Lilmissfab beyond shoes and beyond this borders and I see myself in the next five years in several countries around the world. The Name Lilmissfab means Little miss Fabulous and I gave it this name for a purpose because we are global.
Lilmissfab currently runs an online store and can be found here @lilmissfab.squad on Instagram, @lilmissfab on Facebook, @lilmissfab on Twitter and it has a website www.lilmissfab.com. We have plans to open a physical store as we get bigger