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My name is Michelle Ekure, the CEO of Michelle Leathers. I am the last child of 8 children. A graduate with Honors in International Relations. I am an entrepreneur, God fearing, passionate, reserved, energetic, goal-driven, resilient and hard working. I have pushed through against all odds and today have established my shoe brand (Michelle Leathers). I also mentor and train other people on how to make shoes. I am one of the new faces of women thriving in the “so-called” male industry in Nigeria. Michelle Leathers brand caters for all individuals and high end celebs in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.
My initial plans like every other student out there was to finish up my tertiary education and get a job but landing that job was not forth coming after university and one thing led to another.  As a lover of fashion, and art and an ex model, I decided to think outside the box. I had to find a way to create my own paycheck rather than wait for one to be handed to me. There was a desire to explore uncharted waters. However, shoe-making was not the first thing that to mind back then.
There is always that point in one’s life when you search your soul to find answers, and this I did diligently, considering opinions from family and friends, but at the end had to listen to my own heart. The fear of failure and trying new things was the emerging challenge I had to battle as I search for my path in life. Nevertheless, I stepped into the unknown and took the path of learning the craft of shoe-making, then discovered I was a natural at it. I continued polishing my skills…till date. I have no regrets and no reason to look back. When I started, I had no capital and so, I only used monetary gifts from friends and family members to buy materials and make shoes and give back as gifts or sometimes sell them. I loved the positive feedback and admiration when I made shoes for friends and family and that’s how my shoe-making journey started.
I started making shoes in 2011.  It was not so lucrative initially, especially not having a brand and just servicing the needs of friends and family members but now, I can say with the increasing awareness on home-made products in Nigeria and also how I’ve improved on my craft – the business is becoming more lucrative and rewarding.
People asked me how I do manage in such a male dominated industry but actually, gender has no role when it comes to chasing your dream and being artistic. I am more in touch with my femininity now than ever but when I am in work mode I don’t know what gender I am in touch with…lol. My passion has been my driving force, but more importantly, personal motivation has made me rise above my fears and any form of gender bias. 
Watch her video here
As an entrepreneur and my own boss, I have a deep sense of fulfillment knowing I make a difference in the African Continent and that I made the right choice pursuing my passion as well as giving back to the community by training young individuals who want to pursue their passion too.
In conclusion, I want to say to all the youths out there, that we have to remain diligent and persistent in pursuit for financial independence and building Africa through entrepreneurship. The job you seek was created by someone just like you.  Youths need to wake to the reality facing them and reduce their dependency on the government and acquire every necessary skill to be of service to themselves and their community. Find your own unique voice and skills. We are all gifted but how deep have you searched to know what you are gifted in. if you can find your answer, then you are on the right path to becoming the next big thing. 
Landing that dream job is good, but what if it doesn’t happened? Find a problem in your community, or your country and solve it – and you’d get paid for bring value to the market. Your mail goal towards your pursuits should not be money, because if it’s your driving force then you might be on a wild chase. Greater fulfillment stems from using your talent or skill towards solving problems and satisfying the needs of people and the reward comes in all forms including money.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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I am Nicky Verd, a Prolific Writer, Blogger and Transformational Speaker. I am passionate about inspiring you to Take Ownership of Your Life. Reconnect with your dreams and jump-start your personal transformation. 

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“You owe yourself everything you expect from others”


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