Friday 14 October 2016

Meet West Okiffe and his 'palms'

Emmanuel Okiffe is known on Facebook as West Okiffe. But it's not his social media handle that defines him: his interaction is defined by his dictum: "Be confident and purpose driven". West makes shoes and the patronage he receives from far and wide is giving him a lot of fulfillment.

Can we know a little about you?

I am Emmanuel Okiffe, the second child of my family. We reside in Otobi but my father is from Ejor-Akpa my mum is from Adim Akpa. I am from a God-fearing person and, by God's grace, I am saved.

How did you get into the art of designing shoes?

I got into the business in Benue State, Otukpo precisely. My dad gives every of his child a year to go into handiwork and I had to learn how to make palms.

How do you decide on what your design will look like?

I decide my design based on the place I find myself which is the target market. Like, in Otukpo where I was based before I joined a friend in Nasarawa, the design I was making was totally different from Nasarawa State. 

I decide on my design based on what I know the people love wearing. Some customers come and tell you what they want and I see some of the designs on the feet of people and I include my patterns for the others that are mature.

How is the market doing? Are people still buying palms like they used to buy from you?

YES. People are really still buying palms and they love palms and sandals. A lot of people are forced, for official reasons to use formal shoes, but they are really patronising me. When you know how to do what you learned, customers will pour in.

What are your future plans for the business?

Hmmm... My future plan is really huge. I am planning on diversifying my trade into making fashionable female bags which I would learn soon from a girl who is my good friend. I am targeting Mararaba because of the population to change my location with time, by God's grace.

If someone wants to be like you, what will you advise them to do?

I would say they would have to. I would want them to come and learn because there is no job.
The world is growing fast and the population is high, so cost of living also becomes high, because of this palms and sandals are demanded at very high rate. Almost everybody needs our service.

I looked for job and I couldn't find anywhere, then I remembered the idea using what I have to start life. The city Iife is tough but there is a lot of money in here; so endeavour to learn what people love, learning about what people would buy always.

Tell us about how every day is like for you from morning to evening.

Days have been really tough. I am usually engaged in patching of palms and re-soling of shoes. It's a lot of work but I need money. I need to work for it to achieve my goal; a lot of goals I have!

Emmanuel Okiffe resides and works opposite Goshen City, in front of Panny Shopping Mall, Awilo Sharp Sharp Fast Food Joint Auta-Balefi. Want a trendy shoe? Call him on 09092866379 or visit

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