Enjoy how your amazing Brand came to be

Kelvin “AJ” Darko, the brain that birthed Vanush, has always been obsessed with footwear but his ‘unusual’ feet and ‘high’ demands made it a struggle to get a comfortable shoe. One day, after combing through heaps of shoes and finding none that fits for AJ, a shoe retailer told him that if he wants a perfect shoe, he should make one himself. It was unclear if that statement was made out of jest or frustration but one thing was clear: Kelvin took it to heart and determined that one day, he would make his shoes.

However, the idea began to take shape with the creative impulses he received from studying visual arts in senior high school. There, he committed fervently to this idea and began to work out plans to see it manifest. Kelvin read extensively about the history of bespoke shoemaking and immersed himself in the stories of such exploits across the world from John Lobb to Jimmy Choo; drawing inspiration and building steady momentum for the task he had set for himself.

Beyond these, Kelvin applied for an apprenticeship with one of the pacesetters in the bespoke shoemaking industry in Ghana and Africa. There he submitted himself to learning the tricks of the trade. After this period of understudying, he left for school to pursue a degree in Human Resource Management at the Central University of Ghana.

Throughout this period, the desire to make his shoes persisted. Kelvin contracted some shoemakers to make shoes that he had designed himself. The first pieces were terrible but AJ is not the type to lose heart easily. He kept at it till he got it right. Soon, friends and family asked if he could make some of ‘his shoes’ for them. Suddenly, the project was more than personal and Kelvin realized the potential.

So, starting from zero and knowing the enormity of the task ahead, Kelvin resolved to put together a team that could see the bigger picture and commit to it as much as he has. He teamed up with his friends Jeremiah, a lead shoemaker, and Prince, an artist.

In 2015, AJ Vanush chalked a major milestone winning a second-tier grant from the UK-DFID sponsored ENGINE Project by TechnoServe Ghana. With funding and Business Development Support from ENGINE, the team set out to build a world-class bespoke shoe brand from our garage.

The journey continues.



AJ VANUSH is a proudly Ghanaian leathercraft company of recent vintage steeped in the timeless qualities of the bespoke shoe-making heritage.

The company prides itself on upholding the core principles of the gentle craft to manufacture quality, unique and customer-centric shoes that are as distinct as a thumbprint and personal as a signature.

To accompany our quality shoes, AJ Vanush also provides an array of custom-made leather products such as slippers, wallets, suspenders (braces), belts, bags, laptop and tablet pouches among others.

From humble beginnings in a garage, the AJV brand has evolved steadily to become a leading style innovator on a mission to build a world-class reputation in Ghana as shoemakers and to represent African excellence on the world stage.

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