Adhiambo Mula-Lauwers – The startup story of a South African footwear brand turning the traditional concept of shoe design on its head

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GALAGO is a footwear brand with a difference. It not only celebrates an African aesthetic, embracing the traditional techniques and craftsmanship renowned on the continent, but also brings in a uniquely customised aspect for the wearer. Fashion entrepreneur and founder, Adhiambo Mula-Lauwers, is tapping into a new design aesthetic that is highly customer centric and very individual.

 This month, LoA celebrates the inspirational work of talented design entrepreneur, Adhiambo Mula-Lauwers, and finds out more from her about the process of creating a truly unique and proudly African footwear brand.

“Galago’s unique advantage in this competitive market, is in allowing the customer to design her own style, a trend-cum-practice perfectly suited for our 21st Century mindsets, for which the right to choice has become a fundamental human right!”

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What does your company do?

GALAGO is a customer-focused, fashion footwear brand, built and inspired around Africa.
In embracing the African aesthetic, Galago draws on craft, talent and traditional techniques, creating fresh contemporary products infused with soul. We manufacture and sell African inspired footwear under 2 lines:

Firstly, GALAGO “Design-your-own” concept footwear. These on-trend, handcrafted sandals consist of full leather soles complemented by a variety of interchangeable uppers, utilizing a design-registered technique. Secondly, “Ready-to-wear” footwear consisting of pumps, loafers, and soon to be introduced slip-ons.

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What inspired you to start your company?

The concept for GALAGO was born through a series of trial and error, made mainly out of the desire to make luxury African footwear.

Where did the inspiration come from for your focus on sandals?

Why sandals? Well, being born and raised in the sunny costal town of Mombasa, where no-one ran around barefoot – wearing sandals was what we did. And there was every kind of sandal! From intricate Masaai beaded ones, to the “Akala” – the hardy tyre sandal. So the design journey began – how could we take it a step further? Why not change colour, style, texture? What if we can could make 7 different styles with one shoe? One for every day of the week? And that is how Galago was born.

Why should anyone use your service or product?

Galago’s unique advantage in this competitive market, is in allowing the customer to design her own style, a trend-cum-practice perfectly suited for our 21st Century mindsets, for which the right to choice has become a fundamental human right!

Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?

The Galago brand is my long-time sartorial dream and I established it in Johannesburg in 2012. My background is in the fashion industry, first as an international model and a regular on the runways of SA Fashion Week, then as a fashion show producer at SA Fashion Week and African Fashion International.

After 7 years as a model I finally followed my entrepreneurial spirit, a trait I think I got from my industrious mother, who also had a love for shoes. For 3 years, I imported luxury shoes from Europe’s most renowned labels and sold them to a loyal local clientele before I realized there was a definite a gap in the local shoe market. I saw a need for locally produced quality footwear.

In addition to bridging the style and price gap, I wanted to create a product that honoured African heritage and today we source all our materials locally, and all our products are expertly stitched and sewn by African hands.

 

 

 

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source. Lionesses Africa

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