UK Company Opens Shoe Factory in Africa to Make Innovative Model

Birmingham, UK, 20 March 2017 – For women always struggling to find the right pair of shoes that matches the colour of their outfit, OMES, a Birmingham-based company, announces the launch of a customisable shoe that will solve the problem.

The shoe features interchangeable uppers that can be personalised with decorative cloths and ribbons. They can be tied in different ways, allowing users to experiment with different looks. The model will be available in two styles, wedge and high heel, in select stores and from the 01st May 2017 at RRP £59.99. Each pair comes in a shoebox made of sustainable wood with two pairs of satin ribbons.

This versatile shoe is the creation of Mr Nyam [ni-yam], a shoemaker who was bankrupted by the import of second-hand and free shoes distributed by charities in his home country of Cameroon.

“The life of Mr Nyam is a Hollywood movie” said Peter Gildwitz, OMES co-founder. “Born into poverty, he learnt to make shoes at a young age. In the 1990s he created a sandal that became very popular in Central Africa and helped him escape poverty. But in the 2000s, cheap shoes from Asia, and used shoes from NGOs killed the local industry. Mr Nyam was bankrupt and poor again. ”

“Three years ago, a friend on a business trip in Cameroon found some sandals on sale. They were so gorgeous that he looked for the man who made them. He found Mr Nyam and they became friends. When we understood the causes of his poverty, we decided to try to do something about it. Mr Nyam knew how to make shoes, we had the experience of global markets and believed that Africa would be the next manufacturing hub.”

Mr Nyam and his new friends created the company OMES. They recently opened a fair trade factory in Cameroon to produce the customisable shoe model, but also supply wooden heels and clogs to shoemakers. The factory operates with lean manufacturing processes and 100% of the production is exported. Proximity to the raw material and high efficiency allow OMES to offer some products up to 20% cheaper than China and without asking for a minimum order to its clients, mainly US and European footwear designers.

Paul Lamb of Sims Footwear in Birmingham, a retailer that will stock the OMES shoes, said: “This sandal is great fun, very quirky and versatile. It can be dressed up in so many different ways!”

Because OMES is a fair trade manufacturer, each pair sold will help to reduce poverty. “In my country, one breadwinner supports 10 people in average,” remarked Mr Nyam. “It means that when you buy one pair of OMES, you feed 11 people. This is more effective than giving money to those charities that put us out of business in Africa. I am the living proof.”

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