It’s almost impossible to talk about GAFA Footwear NG without starting from the beginning. Not when this brand became, nahh! I am talking about the very beginning; the initiator and creator or, in this case CEO, because, GAFA is really the reality of the vision of its leading lady, Miss Grace Alex.
Grace is Nigerian. She is a renowned style blogger, digital influencer and lecturer. A graduate of Bingham University, with a major in Journalism, her flare and passion for fashion is unarguably distinct and clearly noticeable (even to an individual without sight). Shes young and focused yet, ‘Living simply’ (as she describes herself on her blog My Style Diary) her multi-skill is commendable and drive interesting but more interesting is her entrepreneurial spirit, which has caused the birth of (by personal observation) one of the most promising local brands in terms of footwear (Sandals) and has become one to definitely watch out for! This is why i am quite happy to share my interview with JW’s fam.
Here are some insights into the Brand GAFA by its CEO, Miss Grace Alex.
Let’s start off with ‘GAFA’, what does it stand for?
“GAFA stands for – Grace Alex Fashion.”
When did you start GAFA footwear?
“I started GAFA Footwear August 29th, 2015”
What inspired GAFA Footwear?
“My inspiration for GAFA footwear came from my need to create; I am always doing something new with my mind.”
Can you tell me a little about the brand?
“Gafa footwear is a Nigerian made brand catering for the needs of medium class earners, providing quality and style to Nigerian’s who want to have a feel of the luxury side of life. It’s also a way of saying that great things can come out of here too.”
How has the journey for you been from inception till date?
“The journey till date has been eventful, you never know what most people who create stuff in Nigeria are going through until you join the bandwagon and notice it’s not as flamboyant as it looks on the outside. There is a lot of hard work, sleepless night’s and the need to bring something new to the table.”
Every project comes with its challenges, so I can only imagine you have had a slice of yours. What would you say the most highlighted challenge for you was?
“Yes, as I mentioned earlier; notably delivery and working with artisans who don’t understand your dream as you would. I’ve had hoodlums come to my store and almost hack someone to death and the story goes on and on.”
There is a cliché in business, especially starting off; the belief that one can never be too strict when it comes to money or profit making so, certain compromises will need to be made for friendship or just to get your brand out there. What do you think about this and did that play out while promoting GAFA?
“Oh that’s definitely true, but then, people can’t expect standard quality with that, so most times people start off with raw materials that can meet the needs of people and also satisfy the idea the brand is trying to push forward and that’s what happened with Gafa Sandals.”
Considering GAFA’S success and growth, do you have any challenges presently?
“Yes, delivering internationally, getting my packaging done on time, getting materials consistently in the same shade and color, light, logistics (haha), but that’s what makes it fun at the end of the day”
Have you had any major support building the brand?
“Yes, my followers on my IG page have had my back from day one and I’m always thankful for that.”
You are also a renowned style blogger and a digital influencer; has that in any way played a role in building this brand?
“A whole lot, I know of people who bought this product because of the ‘style blogger’ influence and felt they needed to support me. It’s been tremendously overwhelming.”
Blogger, Digital influencer, CEO GAFA Footwear, how do you remain consistent and maintain quality in your production?
“Honestly, now you’ve asked, I don’t even know how. I think God has a hand in this.”
In terms of sales, who patronizes GAFA more, ladies or gents?
“Ladies (haha), then some drag their lovers into their buying spree and that’s where we have the male folks.”
What inspires your creative process for the various designs?
“Sometimes modern trends, other times I see what fits into other cultures that are not readily available here or, if they are too expensive to afford and other times it’s just me trying to do new stuff and create.”
Personally, I did notice a rather interesting update, a switch from ‘GAFA sandals’ to ‘GAFA Footwear NG’; is there a bigger picture in view?
“Oh maybe, but not anytime soon. We can only expand the scope to keep pushing ourselves.”
What is your vision for GAFA Footwear 5 – 10years from now?
“I want GAFA to be in major stores, especially within Africa and then, the brand recognized for it’s efforts globally. I also want to have collaborations with notable brands to bring some ideas to the fore.”
Which Nigerian celebrity/celebrities will you be excited to see in GAFA Footwear?
“Lisa Folawiyo, Genevieve nnaji, wizard.”
Which International celebrity/celebrities will you be excited to see in GAFA Footwear?
“Vogue editor, Ann Wintour.”
What advice can you give others like you with diverse skills and areas they are passionate about, who would love to eventually make their skills/passions profitable?
“Start small and use people around you to push your brand out there.”
If you had only one advice to give to any budding entrepreneur, what would it be?
- “Don’t start building your stairs from an elevator (whatever that means).” *laughs*
See more Gafa trends and how they are effortlessly rocked!
A lot of great stuff can come from Nigeria most definitely and like her complimentary card says – ‘YOU’RE AWESOME’! *wink*