Photo courtesy of Luminous Spring.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Pursuing her dream of becoming a designer, Kani Ahmed, 30, moved from the Iranian capital Tehran to Erbil in 2014 where she has now designed and owns her own shoe brand.
Kani brought her new degree in business and her ideas to Erbil and she designs shoes for men and women under the brand name Luminous Spring.
“By virtue of knowing Kurdish, Persian, English, Turkish and some French, I first started working as a sales coordinator between customers and a hotel in Erbil. I worked there for two years, and made some money,” Kani told Rudaw.
“Then, this idea crossed my mind. I didn’t see a pair of shoes which you could wear all day comfortably, without developing pain in your toes. In addition, foreign brand high quality shoes drew my attention. These very brand shoes are brought into Kurdistan in bad quality, yet sold for a lot of cash. That is why I wanted to make a shoe brand called ‘Kurdish shoes’,” she added.
Kani invested $30,000 she had earned in her enterprise in 2016.
“I set up a place to store the shoes in and sell them wholesale. I then opened an office in the English village, and set up a place in Ainkawa to display the shoes,” she explained.
She chooses colors and material that would appeal to Kurdish clients.
“We thought about the project in a scientific and medical way so that we could produce a brand that doesn’t tire people wearing it. We put some plastic material underneath the place where the toes rest so they don’t get tired. And the heel is medical so it doesn’t hurt your back. We have also chosen a type of cloth for the inside so the feet don’t sweat in summer.”
“It is a regret that I couldn’t set up a factory to make shoes in Kurdistan. We make them in Turkey where officials don’t allow us to write Kurdistan on the brand because the factory is theirs, although the idea and the materials are all ours. That is why ‘Made in Turkey’ is written on the brand. They allowed us to put only my logo ‘Luminous Spring’ on the brand,” she said.
Since Kani started this business six months ago, she has made nearly 1,000 pairs of shoes for both men and women, with 70 percent of her customers being from abroad. She said that only 30 percent of her brand is sold in the Kurdistan Region.
“Customers from many countries order the brand via online shopping. For example, some shoes were ordered by the Amazon Company for people in California and Canada. There, they sell it four times the price of the shoe. My product wouldn’t sell if it wasn’t good quality. There is demand on my brand in Jordan, Turkey and Sulaimani, too,” she said.
The wholesale price for Kurdistan starts from 25,000 to 45,000 Iraqi Dinars for a pair of shoes, says Kani.
“The shoes come with a 2-year warranty,” she said. “I will increase the price if the product proves to be marketable later.”