Fred Deegbe was standing outside a shop window five years ago, marveling at the shiny pair of wing-tip Oxfords he'd just bought, when he started wondering whether such beautiful designer shoes could ever be produced in his country, Ghana. “Impossible,” a nearby shoeshine boy purposefully declared after being asked by Deegbe; later, at home, his friends were equally dismissive. “Everyone was convinced that these high-end shoes could not be made in Ghana,” recalls Deegbe. Everyone? Not exactly.
Despite not having any real knowledge about the shoe market, Deegbe, who was a banker at the time, decided to prove them all wrong and take on the world's leading shoe brands. Soon after, he teamed up with a friend and started Heel The World (HTW), a high-end shoemaking company based in Accra, Ghana.
That was in 2011, and one year later Deegbe quit his banking job to dedicate himself fully in his new ambitious venture.
|Fred(L) & his friend, Vijay Manu who he teamed up with to start HTW|
“We started buying machines (and) brought them over to the house,” says the young entrepreneur, who launched the company from his parents' garage. “We had no intentions of starting the factory in the house, but one thing led to another and we just had to start.”
“WORKS BY FRED DEEGBE’S HEEL THE WORLD”
Deegbe is determined to put Ghana firmly on the map of luxury shoemaking: “The good things is we're all quite young in the company — everyone's under 30 — and we have a long time to prove people wrong,” says Deegbe.
“Eventually people will not think of HTW and question it anymore — people will think about it and think quality and think the most awesome brand coming out of Africa,” he says.
Watch Fred’s full feature on CNN African Start-Up below.
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