As a little girl growing up, I was always passionate about doing creative things with my hands like making cute dresses for my dolls. My creative interest continued when I went to High school. I studied art and needles work with specialty in textiles and picture making. I subsequently enrolled at Joyce Ababio College of fashion and design. Ghana's premiere fashion institutions to pursue a dream course in fashion and design. Because I was very zealous about what I was studying, I graduated as the best student in 2004.After graduation; I decided to work for myself and started marking clothes for my family and close friends. By word of mouth, my customer’s base started growing and I decided to go commercial as a fashion designer.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Starting the business was not easy at all. I started with two small machines which were just simple electric machines and one overloading machine for finishing. So when I took orders from clients it took me sometime to finish them. One of my highest fears was a client who was a plus size. I never thought I could make clothes to flatter their bodies, so I used my mum as a test case (she was a plus size). Gradually through more experimenting on her I was able to correct my mistakes. I started making clothes for the plus size and I noticed I gradually did them well. I also tried so much to cut down cost on personal spending so I would be able to afford industrial machines for the brand in order to make clothes faster and have good finishing. Due to hard work, I was able to push the brand through social media and also through referrals, I have been able to make the brand more visible. Now the Ophelia Crossland brands stands as a renowned luxury fashion brand in Ghana and beyond. Through hard work, I was made the Brand Ambassador for Swarovski West Africa, where I had the opportunity to showcase a masterpiece gown with forty-five (45) thousand Swarovski crystals at the Swarovski sparkling Couture Infinity in Dubai last year. I have also won several awards over the years as a result of my diligence in the fashion industry in Ghana.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Right from the onset, my parents never doubted me, they knew I had the passion and they supported me so much to pursue my dream. I believe it’s because it’s not new to them, my mum owns one of the biggest fabrics shops in my native country of Ghana (Sarah’s Fabric Limited) and I was always inspired by her hard work. My sister is a Milliner and my husband has been very supportive as well.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Determination! As a young girl growing up, some of my mates believed in securing jobs in corporate organizations so they looked down on my career choice. This gave me the motivation to go all out and stand out in my chosen field. Today, I smile when I look back.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Looking at how lucrative my clothing line has been over the years; I wish I had known the business bit right from the onset, I was more interested in seeing people in my clothes but I did not see it as a big business venture.
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
I believe to succeed in any area of work; one needs to be committed to study the dynamics of the trade and make it a point to stand out. It is also essential to be humble to learn from your mistakes if you want to be big. Finally never be afraid to fail! I believe in making mistakes and learning from them.