Solomon Kwashie earned a degree in Theoretical and Applied Biology from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in 2009.
Before he left school he started thinking of the available job opportunities and what he could do to employ himself and others.
Mr Kwashie then decided that he will be a cobbler.
“The idea came to me when I was in my final year. I was thinking if after school I had no job, I was jobless, there was nothing to do, what will I do? And I thought about the fact that everybody dies, everybody wears clothes, everybody eats food, and the next thing everybody does is wear shoes, and, especially in this part of the world, I felt there is enormous heat, so, protecting your legs becomes an essential thing to do,” he told Accra-based Class FM.
“So, I figured if I can’t do clothes business and I didn’t want to get into food business, then the best line of action for me was to get into the shoe business. So, I researched into becoming a cobbler.”
He further explained that he chose shoe shining as a profession because “I didn’t like the way shoeshine people were treated. In Ghana, we associate shoe shining to dirty, unsophisticated and poor people but anything that earns you money should not be classified as not good enough.”
In defiance, he became a shoeshine boy “to prove to everybody else that a university degree doesn’t limit you to a job in the office”.
Solomon Kwashie did not start his shoe shining business right after school.
“After school, I managed clinics for 4 to 5 years with my biology degree. When I started working, my boss had one practice, and in five years, he had five practices, so, I realised I was using the prime of my youth to help somebody else build their own empire and I decided that now that I’m healthy and fit, let me give mine a shot, so I left my old job."
“I had saved up some money to make the transition. I built my own shoeshine chairs with bamboo, cane, and raffia and began business.”
Today, Spec Shine Cobblers which was started in 2016, has 4 employees.
He has four employees and has his bamboo-made shoeshine chairs positioned at the Achimota Mall, Airport residential area, and the Nyaho hospital street.
Kwashie said plans were far advanced to have a stand at any of the Melcom shops in Accra.
“When you visit any of my shops, you can hop in the shoeshine chair and instantly get your shoe shined, and after, you walk away”, adding that: “I enjoy the name shoeshine boy, too.”
Spec Shine Cobblers is a shoeshine and leather repair business in Accra. It is into polishing, re-colouring, restoring, and fixing shoes and any other leather accessories like belts and bags.
Most parents will be disappointed if their children after graduating from university decided to be cobblers. However, Mr Kwashie said his parents are supportive of his job-change – from a white-collar job to owning a shoeshine business.
“I have open-minded parents who are supportive of my business, they do not tie me down,” he said.