I've always gone by this expression "you need to experience failure in life, only then will you know the value of success!". I must say the journey has been a really tough one. I decided to do fashion full time after I graduated high school. My family was not in support because obviously they wanted a college graduate in the family! Amidst their tantrums I still went ahead to follow my dreams re: fashion industry. In order to challenge myself and to showcase my abilities, I resorted to youtube sewing tutorials and that was one of toughest hurdles I ever had in my life. It wasn't easy, especially with power outrages in Ghana. Then again, I still accepted orders even though I lacked sleep and eventually that affected my eating habits. In no time, I had grown lean but I still pressed on. A few years later, I ended up enrolling in Accra Technical University to pursue my Marketing diploma. Moving forward, 3 years and counting I am a HND graduate. And a successful fashion designer making waves. (I intend to still further my education though). It is self-fulfilling to have been given the platform to work with big industry players, from campus beauty pageants to Miss Ghana 2019 Beauty Pageant Designers. I would like to thank few personalities who have made my entrepreneur journey memorable one. Shout out to my own Irene Logan, Priscilla Akua Gameli (Miss Ghana 2017), Libby Dsane, Shawna Akosua Nyarko Bubune, Anita Akua Akuffo, Akosua Dentaa Amoateng MBE, not forgetting Award winning Gospel artist Diana Antwi Hamilton and Actress Juliet Ibrahim for the massive support they give me each time I called on them. I am also grateful to God for the life of Nana Asante Bediatuo (inspiring me since I was a kid).
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?
How did the idea for your business come about?
I have been a fashion freak since I was a kid. As this saying goes "dress how you want to be addressed". Coming from a family of designers, I endeavoured to depict what my family is known for; making people look good plus I disliked when I saw individuals looking all shabby and unkempt. To change the conversation, I started designing my own clothes and eventually people noticed my handy work - (orders began coming in afterwards).
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Juggling college workload and work life at the same time is or was extremely tedious but I was determined to meet my goals. I would like to become a marketer and a fashion Icon. Its not all rainbows and sunshine. I strive to produce unisex designs but due to limited time, currently I am more focused on female fashion. Although, I am looking to release some male designs soon. I am also struggle with investment, like most self-starters.
The high market costs of fabrics and other accessories I need for production, stretches my already limited resources. Unfortunately, my struggle is one of many in the Ghanaian creative arts industry which is full of young talent looking strategical partners and investor who are willingly to go above and beyond.
I hope everyone reading this piece would spend a little bit more on a locally designed outfits, rather than already-made outfit. High - street brands come cheap but they stifle young talents.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
THINK AND GROW RICH by Napoleon Hill
it's one of my birthday gifts I cherish so much. I got it from a good friend of mine - Mariama Diallo, France - (smiles)!
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?
As recorded earlier, I come from a family of designers; my uncle is a designer plus my biological mother is a seamstress. Initially, they didn't like the idea following their footsteps - loads of discouragements, negativities and all. But through it all God has been faithful.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
I was very committed to my personal goals and I went ‘extra mile’ to achieve them.
We all have a tendency to work hard when we love what we are doing regardless the criticisms from friends and society at large.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Taking the right level of risk.
Hmm I had to study 3 years HND Marketing at Accra Technical University rather than any fashion related courses because I had a long term plan to build my brand no matter how long it takes. But then people often don't understand my journey.
Most lecturers were amazed when they later got to know I'm a marketing student.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Humility has always been my hallmark...note that 'pride goes before a fall' as such, you should be humble enough to be able to learn from others.
Again, I advice that be innovative, a critical thinker and self-motivated. These 3 keys work hand in hand.
It paid off...All the sleepless nights, the sacrifices, determination to meet my deadlines were all worth it.