Adding value to chale wote: The story of Pea God

Source: Ghana | Luv FM | Ralphina Osae-Akonnor
Date: 21st-june-2018 Time:  4:31:43 pm

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Flip flop sandals, known in local parlance as "chale wote" can be found almost in every home in Ghana.

It’s been around for centuries but it remains largely known as casual footwear in domestic settings.

Luv FM put the spotlight on innovations of a former radio presenter who is giving "chale wote" a new outlook.

The former reggae presenter goes by the name Pea God.

Three years ago, the gifted craftsman created the informal footwear and transformed it into a valuable product.

“We were not selling the ordinary chale wote at a higher price so I decided to add value for it to go international.,” he said.

Like every start-up, funding was a challenge so he begun with a sack of flip flops and a few packs of assorted beads.

“The sack of flip flops cost GH¢250."

He specializes in two different models: adorning the footwear with either wax print or beads.

“I have variety. The gladiators [is] one with spaced out beads and slippers.”

A typical bead-designed pair of slippers takes about six hours to complete. More complex designs can take up to two days.

Having enjoyed significant local patronage, he started getting orders from abroad.

A pair of decorated slippers goes for GH¢30. It’s about same abroad and he is determined to promote it internationally.

“The gladiator is sold at GH¢50 a pair and the spaced out slippers is GH¢35.

He has so far trained more than 10 adults who are now applying their trade in different parts of the country.

Sandra Owusu, for instance, is left with a few months to pass but she’s already enjoying the fruits of her labour.

“I was into mobile money but things weren’t going well and my sister advised me to learn the trade from him."

“So far I’m able to make some [slippers] and put them up for sale. The business is going on very well,” she said.

 

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