If you have the right skills, you can overcome every obstacle in life. Craftsmen have the power to unleash their imagination and bring it to life with the help of their skills. The same is true in the case of Toyi Swuro. Toyi is a skilled leather craftsman who creates wonders at his shop. Being a resident of Phek District Nagaland, he takes pride in calling himself a ‘Naga Cobbler’.
Toyi started his entrepreneurial journey in 2018 with the inception of Craft Gallery. In his unique shop, he makes a lot of things with leather such as footwear, purses, wallets, belts, bags and many more. He repairs shoes at minimal rates so that no one has to wear broken shoes. For all those people who cannot afford to give him any money for the shoe repair, Toyi fixes them for free. His great efforts were recognised and he was awarded the 1st North East Unsung Heroes Red Carpet Social Award 2019 in Entrepreneurship.
By running a shop for everyone, Toyi spread the message that no work is big or small. It depends on one’s hard work that can bring a change in the world. In conversation with The Global Hues, Toyi sheds light on his entrepreneurial journey, challenges and success.
Give us a brief introduction about yourself and your company, Craft Gallery.
I hail from the Phek district of Nagaland. During childhood, the financial condition of my family was not very good. All of my father’s income went into education and the daily expenses and needs. Being the eldest among all the siblings, I decided to become self-reliant and started to earn to support my family. I began working by doing what I was good at, that’s how I became a cobbler.
At Crafts Gallery, we are full-time leather crafters who mend shoes for the community at a very low cost. My vision is to be self-reliant and give back to the community in every little way possible.
How do your family and friends support you in your entire journey?
My family is very proud of me for the work I am doing. The love and support I received from them gave me the motivation to keep moving forward. This job enables me to earn a daily income with which I can take care of my family’s needs.
However, there are many obstacles in my entire journey because I am working as a cobbler. Many people think that I can get a much better job opportunity than doing a cobbler job because I am a graduate and also a trained hotel management individual. They see cobbler work as a menial job because very few people from my state do it. I believe that no work is small, if it gives you happiness and resources to raise your family you should do it.
You call yourself a proud Naga Cobbler. What is the reason behind that?
Because of this noble job, today I am financially independent and able to help others also. All the fame and recognition I gained is because of this work. This is the reason I don’t feel ashamed of telling people what I do. Therefore, I call myself a proud Naga Cobbler. I earn respect and blessings from many people and this is my biggest wealth. I am happy that I can help others in some way and make their lives a little less problematic.
What is the one thing that inspires you the most?
Providing services to people around me and helping them out is my biggest source of inspiration. It fills me with new energy to move forward without doubting my potential. The happy faces of people after I repair or mend their shoes are the most satisfying part of my job.
What message do you want to convey to the younger generation?
Do not solely depend on government jobs but rather be independent to create more job avenues and platforms for upcoming generations as well through private sectors. Identify your skill set and upgrade them to a professional level by coming out of your comfort zones. Stay humble and have a sense of humility in your work and the rest of the things leading to success will eventually follow you.