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Princess Juicy Joy Gans-Lartey | Ghana | Pursue Your Passion

Founder | Chief Executive Officer of JUICY’S Depot

As the founder and CEO of Juicy's Depot, I'm excited to share my experience of creating and managing a successful branding company. My desire to become an entrepreneur began at a young age, driven by my aspiration to be my own boss and make a positive impact on people's lives.

In 2019, during my final year of university, I decided to pursue my passion for entrepreneurship and establish my own business. As a person who enjoys taking on challenging roles, I was determined to create something that was unique and exceptional. One day, while watching a movie, I noticed a character sporting a branded jacket, and it struck me that people loved branded items. I saw an opportunity to create branded products, but the challenge was finding reliable partners to work with. After some searching, I eventually found a trustworthy supplier and took the leap. Initially, I started with creating branded towels and eventually expanded my product line to include morning coats. I sourced raw materials locally, but eventually, I started importing them from China and Turkey. However, running the business proved to be challenging, as not all of my partners were honest and trustworthy, which added stress to the job. Despite this, the business was successful during special occasions such as Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Christmas.

Juggling between managing the business and my studies was overwhelming, and my father wasn't supportive of my entrepreneurial venture, as he believed it was taking away my focus from my studies. Nevertheless, I persisted and continued running the business during school breaks. In my final year, however, I had to pause the business and concentrate solely on my studies. Nonetheless, I continued dreaming of the business, and even during the COVID-19 pandemic, I found a way to revive it. The pandemic created a demand for branded products, and I saw this as an opportunity to relaunch my business. Since then, the business has been thriving.

What were the biggest initial hurdles you faced and how did you overcome them?

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was employed at Nestle Ghana, where I faced a demanding work environment that put a significant strain on my own business, causing me to struggle to meet customer demands and experience lengthy delivery times. However, with the onset of the pandemic in 2020 and the implementation of movement restrictions and flexible work arrangements, I made a firm decision to fully commit to my business endeavors. Despite discouragements, I remained steadfast in my focus and decided to increase my advertising budget to consistently promote my brand. As a marketer by profession, I firmly believe that effective marketing leads to increased sales.

To further grow my business, I expanded my product range from bath robes to include bedding and linen products such as pillows, banners, flasks, mugs, fans, and many more. However, the customization requirements of these products presented a significant challenge. Each product type had unique branding and design needs, which required the use of different equipment and technology for each order. Nevertheless, I remained committed to gradually expanding my product range while prioritizing embroidery as our flagship product to solidify our core market. Through perseverance and commitment, I was able to overcome the initial hurdles that my business faced. By focusing on effective marketing and strategic expansion efforts, I was able to improve my business's cash flow and better meet the needs of my customers. Access to credit has been a significant challenge for my business, which is capital-intensive and requires substantial investments in machinery, equipment, inventory, and working capital. My vision for the company was always bigger than the available resources, and I envisioned a fully operational assembly line that could produce most of our inputs. However, obtaining credit was not easy, and it remained a significant hurdle for the business.

Despite these challenges, I remained focused and determined to make the business a success. I faced pressure from my family, especially my Dad, who was concerned about me not getting a stable income from a regular job after completing my Master's degree, but I persevered and continued to work hard. I am a spiritual person, and I relied on prayer to guide and direct me throughout the tough times. By divine providence, hard work, and determination, we have made significant progress. We have secured funding and invested in the necessary machinery, equipment, and inventory to support the expansion of our product line. Although the road has been bumpy, I am grateful for how far we have come and believe that we are headed in the right direction.

What advice do you have for young people locally and internationally who are just starting out in their careers or pursuing their passions?

Based on the experiences and challenges I have shared, here are some pieces of advice that I believe could be useful for young people locally and internationally who are just starting out in their careers or pursuing their passions:

Pursue your passion: It is essential to identify what you are passionate about and pursue it. When you are passionate about something, you are more likely to be committed, motivated, and willing to work hard to achieve your goals.

Learn and acquire skills: Knowledge and skills are essential in any career or passion. Take the time to learn and acquire skills that are relevant to your field of interest. You can do this by attending seminars, workshops, taking online courses, and internships.

Be open-minded: Be open to new ideas, opportunities, and experiences. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things.

Stay determined and persistent: Pursuing your passion and career goals can be challenging, but staying determined and persistent can help you overcome obstacles and achieve success.

Embrace failure: Failure is a part of the journey towards success. Don't let failure discourage you. Instead, use it as an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve.

Stay positive and have a growth mindset: A positive mindset can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals, even during difficult times. Embrace a growth mindset that encourages learning, progress, and development. Surround yourself with positivity and avoid negative influences.

Social Media Handles:

* Instagram: juicy_depot

* Snapchat: juicy_depot

* Tiktok: juicysdepot1

* Facebook: JUICY’S depot

* Twitter: @juicy_depot


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