In an economy where unemployment is up the roof, one can only be glad to secure a job after school. At this point the paycheck does not really matter because you are getting something to do instead of sitting at home. You gain a world of professional experience as well as building long lasting networks that will come in handy in the future. For those who are lucky enough to secure a well-paying job with a lot of perks, there are very few things that would make you quit to start a new career.
Co-founder of Wear Ghana, Awura Abena Agyemang is one of such lucky people who was able to secure a well paying job right after school. After her mandatory national service with the New York University (NYU) based in Ghana, she got a job with one of the popular banks in the country. She later got an even better paying job with more benefits in another bank. Indeed she was living every graduate’s dream unfortunately that was not her dream.
“I had applied for a job with a bigger bank. When I was called to pick up my contract with them and start working there, I realised that although my salary was going to be more than double what I was earning at the time plus some other great perks, I wasn’t happy. The thrill I expected to feel just wasn’t there. And in that moment I realised I was never going to be happy being a banker. So I quit.” Awura Abena said.
She had found a new love, a new passion she desperately wanted to pursue. She had fallen in love with fashion and that was her new dream. For something she started doing as a hobby, the feedback she got was amazing and motivated her to pursue it as a full time career. Today she and her best friend and former university roommate Angorkor Nai-Kwade, are co- founders of the fast growing fashion brand WEAR GHANA. Just like Awura Abena, Angorkor, had also quit her job in a telecommunications company to pursue fashion full time and even enrolled in a fashion school to learn more about fashion and designing.
For most people, taking such a risk requires a lot of planning. Weighing options and trying to figure out the next move after leaving such a great opportunity, but Awura Abena was different.
“I have always said I didn’t have a plan but i trusted my gut.”
She however stated that she would not advice anyone to not have a working plan.
“There are several obstacles that those who just plunge in face that people with a plan may easily avoid. What I’d say though, is that don’t let your plans keep you from moving. Some people stay in places they don’t belong for too long and use planning as an excuse. There’s power in action!”
It is not surprising that they faced a lot of challenges when they started. There was a lot of passion when they began but their main challenge was not knowing how to build a company from scratch. They had very little knowledge to back the passion and zeal they started with.
“We knew next to nothing on how to build systems that work. Our business model for example was flawed. It simply wasn’t in sync with the limited resources available to us.”
They were however lucky to find a solution that served Awura Abena and her partner well.
“We were blessed” she said “A colleague entrepreneur, Tonyi Senayah of Horseman Shoes introduced us to a company called Servled. And by Grace, we have been taught the basics. We are still learning of course. There’s always so much to learn.”
Servled Africa is a company that has a goal to help transform African start-ups into great, sustainable, ethical companies. All entrepreneurs should visit their website and start engaging them and will benefit greatly from their mentorship and assistance. They are also responsible for #MyBusinessFridays which is an event for entrepreneurs to talk and share their experiences with upcoming entrepreneurs in the country.
Another challenge they faced as starters was hiring the right team to push their brand.
“We were introduced to the concept of ‘Start with why’ – a book written by Simon Sinek. And once we got a clearer understanding of what our core ideology was, that is, Africans must solve Africa’s problems. Also African solutions to Africa’s problems should be superior to all other solutions. Once we understood that was our WHY, we started hiring right and by God’s Grace we currently have a very solid team of very dedicated female tailors.”
As to why they chose to have an all-female sewing team, she said, “this is not because we don’t think there are good male tailors out there. It’s because we want to in our own small way contribute towards levelling the playing field for women. There are many jobs that women are unable to do. Sometimes it’s because of our anatomy. Sometimes it’s just because of skewed perceptions. And we think tailoring is a great tool to use to create employment for women.”
To promote Arts and Fashion industry in Ghana, Wear Ghana has partnered Horseman shoes to put together an event at African Reagent Hotel dubbed #FreeUrStyleFriday on the 31st of March 2017 at 7pm.
It’s a fun event that gives corporate executives the chance to let their hair down and have some real fun while they’re being introduced to the products of enterprising Ghanaian fashion entrepreneurs.
All interested persons should be there, since there will be a discounted sale on some Wear Ghana’s products!
Awura Abena’s story clearly shows that it is not about the money but it is ultimately about your happiness. sometimes taking that step into the unknown may be scary, but it will definitely be worth it one step at a time. What is your passion?