Home Wealth Kenya Sheriffi Hassanali: City Walk Founder Reflects His Entrepreneurial Journey 33 Years Down...

Sheriffi Hassanali: City Walk Founder Reflects His Entrepreneurial Journey 33 Years Down the Line

Sheriffi Hassanali
City Walk founder Sheriffi Hassanali PHOTO/Business Daily

Sheriffi Hassanali is the founder and managing director of City Walk Kenya.

City Walk is a limited company involved in selling unique, elegant, stylish and designer shoes, clothes, perfumes and leather items.

Hassanali established the company in 1991 after his friends advised him to explore the business opportunities in Kenya.

Here is his story as told by EAFeed.

Hassanali always had an interest in trading and when he arrived in Kenya over three decades ago, he decided to get into the shoe retail business after being advised by his friends.

As a result, the first City Walk Shop was opened at The Mall in Westlands in 1991, four years before the second shop was opened at Village Market.

In 1995, the third shop was opened at The Sarova Stanley hotel before another branch was opened at Karen Crossroad in 2006.

In 2007, City Walk set up another shop at The Junction Mall, and the following year, they opened two shops – one at The Sarova Stanley hotel and another one at The Mall in Westlands, dealing in bags.

In 2009, they opened another shop at The Hilton Hotel building before extending their presence outside Nairobi.

“I have seen many shoe retail shops open amd close, including international brands

“The shoe retail business is sensitive and challenging because as a shoe retailer, you have to stock more that 24 sizes from kids to adults,” he explained.

Come 2010 City Walk opened their Kisumu branch at the Mega City Mall, and a year later, they opened a branch in Nyali.

In June and August 2015 they opened an additional two branches at Garden City and Adlife Plaza respectively.

“While growing up, I saw a show shop at a metro in Mumbai, India though it didn’t stick in my subconscious mind and when I came to Kenya, I spotted a gap in the shoe market and thought of replicating the metro style shop in Kenya,” Hassanali said.

City Walk
City Walk staff PHOTO/Original

While starting off, he admitted that he faced among other challenges, language barrier and slow clearance of imported consignments.

Hassanali also had to deal with theft by his staff.

“It was blocking and holding and I had to devise a new people management approach; from boss to to employee relations to that of trust,” he said.

On their business model, Hassanali mentioned that he prefers signing distribution agreements with companies so as customers get value for their money.

“Honestly, I’m not keen on promoting other brands because City Walk is a Kenya brand. We do not just resell other brands as they are but rather customise the shoes,” he said.

City Walk has worked with among other brands, Nike, which approached them after failing to achieve success with other retailers.

“For the last two years, we have also collaborated wuth a local manufacturing company to make school shoes with soles designed by City Walk. This had given City Walk excellent customer feedback,” Hassanali mentioned.

Hassanali now says they are looking to expand internationally, and City Walk is currently registered in countries such as the US, Dubai and Mauritius.

“I want City Walk to grow beyond me and the next generations, which can only be possible if everything has been institutionalised,” he said.

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