Some of the shoe lines that are manufactured at Millennium Footwear

ONE of the country’s leading exotic leather shoe manufacturer, Millennium Footwear, has pushed up capacity utilisation to over 40% due to increase in local demand, the company’s director, Stuart Simali, has said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Established in 2000, the Bulawayo-based company has grown in leaps and bounds, having started as a small company manufacturing only sandals and moccasins.

“At the time of inception, we used to make sandals and moccasins. We are currently making shoes from exotic leathers which include elephant, crocodile, ostrich, buffalo and giraffe to make casual, safari, classic shoes and sneakers,” he said

“We also use cow leather to make school shoes, safety shoes, sandals, ranger boots, drummies boots, security shoes, ladies pumps, duty shoes, farmer shoes and belts. We are currently operating at 40%.”

The company has 18 skilled workers and is exploring export opportunities in the Sadc and European Union blocs.

“We have a small presence in Zambia, Namibia and Botswana. We aim at exporting to the whole of the Sadc region and beyond, Just last week, we were in Italy for the Zimbabwe trade mission in which we were invited by ZimTrade to try and penetrate the international market,” Simali said.

He said the company’s strength lies in manufacturing high quality shoes.

“We make fashionable, durable footwear made from exotic leathers. We boast of well trained and highly skilled labour force and the use of modern technique management systems,” Simali said.

He said the future for the leather industry was very bright and “we hope to be one of the major players in the sector, as well as being greatly involved in the economic revival through manufacturing world class footwear and employment creation.

Simali said major challenges in the sector include shortage of foreign currency, cash shortages, very high operating costs and low consumer disposable
income.