SAINT OZWALD, a Ghanaian shoe brand which focuses on manufacturing fashionable and executive shoes for men, is currently competing with top designs like Zara in the fashion industry in terms of quality.
Sandra Kyeremaa also was known as Sandra Ozwald who is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the company describes the Ozwald brand as more comfortable than the other brands of shoes imported into the country in the name of quality due to the quality of materials used for both interior and the exterior parts of the shoes.
The company which is named after a generous King Ozwald has employed more than 8 people and produces about 150 pair of shoes monthly pairs was established in 2013 and has its factory operating in a family garage in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo.
Sandra Ozwald is arguably the only woman in Ghana who has ventured into the shoe industry, the businesswoman she completed Senior High School geared into this business due to lack of funds to support her university education. She has been a business minded person right from childhood, she told Business.com.gh that, “I have always been interested in business from my childhood. I was selling ice cream, condensed toffee and groundnut cake to my classmates in school because I don’t like taking money from my mother.”
In 2013, Sandra got a business idea at a wedding she attended. At the wedding, she could not take her eyes of the groom’s shoe which was made from beautiful African fabrics. She contacted the bride who was her friend after the wedding and was introduced to the shoemaker who made the shoes for the groom. Sandra started trading in shoes from the same designer with an initial amount of Gh₵ 300.
Sandra got the shock of her life when she was rejected in an office on the first day of sales, she nearly gave up, she said “I didn’t want to sell again but something asked me if I could wear the men shoes I bought if am not selling again, I was very sad but I had to move on.” She added.
The shoes were highly patronized after some time so she decided to hire the shoemaker from Kumasi to make more shoes for her to sell in Sunyani, the shoemaker who was interested in the deal and relocated to Sunyani where they started the company in Sandra’s family garage.
Speaking to Business.com.gh, she said “it was a challenge for a woman to make and sell her own shoe designs even my mother didn’t understand me, she wanted a job that could earn me a monthly salary. She now believes in the dream now and has supported with the rooms in our house for the workers who come from far places to stay there.”
Sandra said she is working harder to be the best in order to help her family as the first child. She spoke highly of her Co-founder and the production manager, Kwadwo Yeboah who has been instrumental in the success of the brand.
“Kwadwo Yeboah’s work involves training shoemakers to be professional and putting strategic plans to improve and expand the business.” She added.
The Ozwald brand has proved a tremendous success by designing shoes for top personalities like Dr Thomas Mensah, KKD, KOD, Bola Ray, Fiifi Coleman, Chris Atoh, Stephen Appiah, Prince David Osei, Adjetey Annan, Pascal Amanfo, Gloria Sarfo, Omar Sheriff Captain, Lexis Bill, Abeiku Santana, Bismark The Joke have all endorsed the brand.
The factory has a fully trained design team in Sunyani. They attended the made in Ghana fairs at the Trade fair Center and thrilled the Second lady of Ghana Mrs Samira Bawumia with their outstanding designs.
Sandra Ozwald calls on the government to assist the local shoemakers with affordable and quality leather so they can produce quality shoes for Ghana and the world, she said “as a woman I face a lot of challenges in my men dominated profession which sometimes pushes me to give up but knowing what I want to achieve I move on even harder. I will be happy if we are assisted with affordable and quality leather to help us to be able to compete with other international brands.
The shoe company was purposely established to provide Ghanaian men with quality and affordable shoes which is made here in Ghana by a woman to aid them in their journey to greatness. She currently sells a majority of the shoes in Accra and has a retail outlet at the Junction Mall.
Although, she is working to get enough machines to increase productivity, and expand her workers to decrease unemployment and also discourage streetism by training a lot of young people to boost the economy. Sandra’s dream is to compete with the Zara brand anytime soon.
By: Erica Arthur / Business.com.gh