Woman Warrior - Uju Uzuegbunam - ashliebehmphotography.com

Woman Warrior – Uju Uzuegbunam

Women Warrior Series

Two shoes for the price of one? Yes, Please! 

Uju, the owner & creator behind Ozznek shoes had one thing in mind when developing her shoe company. How to get more use out of her kids shoes since they were growing out of their shoes faster than they were wearing them. And voila!

Uju developed Ozznek Shoes, a unique concept of shoes with interchangeable soles. Not only giving kids more use out of their shoes but doing so without giving up variety in styles. Uju’s shoes allow you to reuse soles. Simply take them off a shoe top and put them on a different  top. With each purchase you get two shoes for the price of one! Your kids get more use out of their shoes and you get to save a bit of money. How awesome is that?!

I thought this was such a novel concept and was really inspired by Uju’s new shoe design. I couldn’t wait to learn more about her business and share Ozznek Shoes with you! I had a lot of fun photographing her, her daughter, and her niece who modeled the shoes for us. Be sure to make it to the bottom for some photos from our photos at Powell Butte Nature Park. 

I’m excited to introduce you to the newest Woman Warrior in our series: Uju Uzuegbunam owner and inventor of Ozznek Shoes.

Get to Know Uju

Did you grow up in Portland? If not, where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Nigeria and moved to Portland in 2011. It has been a joy to call Portland home since. 

Tell me about your family?

I am a mother to two amazing kids who keep me busy and grounded. Although I am the 4th child of 7 siblings, my family and I stay very connected and we maintain some sort of contact on a daily basis. Because of how close knit we all are, my nephews and nieces consider me a second mom and usually refer to me by the name of “Mama Uju”.

What is your favorite thing to do in Portland?

When it’s not pouring rain, I enjoy outdoor activities like running and hiking. 

Your Ozznek Shoes Journey

When did you first know you wanted to become a Shoe Designer?

For 6 years I worked as a Child Protective Services Specialist with the Department of Human Services – Child Welfare Division. However the concept of my innovative shoes came to me in a dream in 2012. It was a dream I couldn’t shake off. Year after year, the urge to bring it to realization intensified. It was a dream I knew was a matter of time until I brought it to fruition however due to my busy schedule as a social worker, I never found the time to delve into a new career path until 2019. The urge to execute the dream, became more of a “Calling”. This time, I couldn’t hold it off any longer so I went into work and started the process of setting Ozznek Shoes as a business. Looking back now, I can say it’s been such a rewarding journey and one I am so glad I had the courage to dive into.

Where did you get your degree/do your training?

Interestingly, I have a degree in Environmental Biology from the University of Portharcourt and my degree has nothing to do with my current occupation as a footwear designer. 

Ozznek Shoes

When did you first start Ozznek Shoes?

We launched Ozznek Shoes in October 2020

Can you explain the different services/packages you offer?

We currently have 6 pre-packaged collections, each collection comes with two pairs of shoes with a pair of shoe soles. There is also an option to purchase individual “shoe tops” as an add on to any collection of choice. 

If you could give me a quick synopsis of your business in 5 sentences or less, how would you describe it?

Children outgrow their shoes before they’ve barely worn them and owning multiple pairs of shoes for kids, can be expensive. That’s why Ozznek Shoes are interchangeable, making it possible for parents to purchase multiple pairs of shoes for the lowest price possible. We are the only shoe brand that provides two pairs of shoes per purchase and we do this using an innovative technique that allows for our shoe tops to attach onto our shoe sole, creating a ready-to-wear shoe. With just one purchase, your child will be ready to step out in style while saving you money. 

Going into business for myself has taught me a tremendous amount about myself as a person. What have you learned about yourself since starting your business?

I’ve learned that I am much more resilient than I thought I was. 

If self-employment was easy, everyone would do it. Can you tell me about the obstacles you have faced being in business for yourself?

As someone that loves to plan and prepare, living in the unknown and the unpredictability and unexpected changes in business needs has been my biggest obstacle. 

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Taking an idea from a dream to an actual product  is a courageous move and one anyone should be very proud of. Starting Ozznek Shoes has been my biggest accomplishment. 

Close

I enjoy reading and love sharing new book ideas with others. What book  would you recommend to new or expecting parents? And please explain why in 1-2 sentences.

I enjoy reading “A Return to Love”. Although it’s a self-help book, I highly recommend it because it reminds and provides us with practical ways to stay grounded and practice self-love despite the busyness of parenting and life in general.

You can follow along with Uju’s journey on social media and head on over to her website to order your kiddos two shoes for the price of one!

www.ozznekshoes.com

Instagram – @ozznekshoes

Faceboook – Ozznek Shoes

Woman Warrior Uju Uzuegbunam

dark-skinned woman in black blazer nature headshots
Toddler wearing Ozznek Shoes out in nature
Two toddlers sporting their Ozznek Shoes while picking up rocks on a trail
Uju Uzuegbunam owner of Ozznek Shoes nature headshots
Ozznek Shoes being modeled out in nature
Ozznek Shoes owner and creater - Uju Uzuegbunam
Ozznek Shoes Owner - Uju Uzuegbunam with daughter out in nature modeling Ozznek Shoes
Uju Uzuegbunam - owner of Ozznek Shoes Headshots

Want to read about more Women Warriors in our community? Check out these other amazing women: 

Erin Brockmeyer of Solstice Acupuncture

Dr. Katie Kanda

Marnellie Bishop of hānau doula

Mirra Nerenberg of Portland Natural Birth

Plus many more – check ’em out!

  1. Julie says:

    Love this story. Can’t wait to check out the shoes😍🙌🏻

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.