Wear Ghana is one of the fast growing fashion brands in Ghana. According to the company’s About Us on their website, they are more than just another fashion house. They would rather describe themselves as Ghana’s foremost Image and Personality consultants. Though the brand has been in existence for only three years, it is swiftly becoming a household name in the Ghanaian fashion circles.
2EWEBOYS.COM had this chat with one of the two founders of Wear Ghana, Awura Abena Agyeman, to find out what the WEAR GHANA story is. Enjoy the read
2EWEBOYS.COM: What exactly is Wear Ghana?
Awura Abena Agyeman: WEAR Ghana is a Ghanaian fashion label that makes beautiful, quality clothes for both men and women.
2EWEBOYS.COM: What is the inspiration behind starting the brand?
Awura Abena Agyeman: We believe that African solutions to African problems are superior to all other solutions. And we realized that Africa has a problem when it comes to clothing.
- The continent spends too much money importing clothes both new and (especially) secondhand.
- There aren’t enough jobs in the continent. So if there’s a proven market for clothes here then it only makes sense to solve it locally and use that as an opportunity to create employment plus generate some good revenues which can then help the economy.
- The average Ghanaian tailor is not well to do. And yet they probably work longer hours than most professionals. They don’t go on holidays, they just keep working. And yet because of a general lack of proper organization plus discipline their hard work hardly counts for anything. We wanted to make the Ghanaian tailor more efficient and prosperous.
2EWEBOYS.COM: How did the brand start?
Awura Abena Agyeman: Well it began as a hobby. After making a couple of outfits for our families & friends, my business partner and I both quit our jobs (in the telecommunications and banking industries respectively) and launched the brand. This was in November, 2013.
2EWEBOYS.COM: Did you have any training in fashion designing?
Awura Abena Agyeman: I have some training in tailoring. My partner went to a fashion school. Both of us have had to learn most of what we know on the job. We’re learning every day.
What is your favourite part of what you do?
Awura Abena Agyeman: I love seeing the transformations that happen with our customers. When people dress well it literally changes their lives – from their professional lives to their relationships. I love seeing this transformation. I also really love seeing our tailors grow. I like seeing how little by little they’re becoming more aware of the prospects that the industry has.
2EWEBOYS.COM: Would you say Wear Ghana clothing are affordable for all?
Awura Abena Agyeman: I wouldn’t say so. Affordability is such a relative thing. Our clothes are not cheap and they’re not expensive either. We never set out to be a luxury brand. Ours is a lifestyle brand. And we do deliver value for money.
2EWEBOYS.COM: What makes Wear Ghana different from other fashion brands in Ghana? Why should I buy Wear Ghana and not any of the other fashion brands that all proliferating in the Ghana?
Awura Abena Agyeman: I have come to appreciate that the reason people buy is the ‘why’. But before I go into that, here are some of the tangibles: our designs are truly outstanding and we pay attention to detail. We realized early in the game that one of the main problems people had with local manufacturers was quality. So we’re trying each day to improve our quality to the point where we can meet world-class standards. We also sell convenience to our customers so that we save them the time they would otherwise have spent on getting clothes. But here’s the intangible reason: we do what we do because we believe in Africa. We’re building a great African company – one that delivers superior results, makes lasting impact and stands the test of time. And many of our customers buy from us because they believe in the same dream – that greatness can come out of Africa.
2EWEBOYS.COM: Wear Ghana has received several celebrity endorsements. Tell us some of the celebrities you have made clothes for and how their endorsements make you feel.
Awura Abena Agyeman: Well right from the start, even while it was still a hobby we got the opportunity to make clothes for a celebrity event for Kafui Dey, Kokui Selormey, Okyeame Kwame, Offie Cudjoe. They loved them. And from then, Okyeame kept getting outfits from us for his performances and appearances. Kafui too. We’ve clothed Naa Ashorkor, Kojo Yankson, Bernard Avle, etc. We’ve also done stuff for Miss Malaika pageants. But celebrities form a very small fraction of our customer base. We clothe many corporate executives who are doing big things in their small corners. We clothed a team from Facebook. That was exciting. We’ve recently made some stuff for the Senior Vice President & Head of Global Consumer Marketing at Apple& iTunes. That’s exciting too!
2EWEBOYS.COM: How do you come about the designs for your clothing? Tell us about some of your designs and the stories behind them.
Awura Abena Agyeman: Well we get our inspiration from everything around us. Personally I seem to think up designs when I’m sitting in ‘trotro’ or in church. Lol. We’ve been inspired by meshes, rainbows, music, trees, even food! Lol.
2EWEBOYS.COM: What fashion brand, worldwide or local, do you look up to?
Awura Abena Agyeman: I love the creativity on the local scene. There are many great designers in Ghana. And when it comes to brands we look up to they’re not necessarily fashion brands. Any company that rises to global relevance is an inspiration.
2EWEBOYS.COM: Would you say there is a fashion industry in the country? How well is it doing?
Awura Abena Agyeman: There is. It’s evolving and getting stronger. How well is it doing? It’s growing. The industry has been able to attract some of the finest minds. And that’s great news. These are the people who will transform it. In the past the approach to fashion was very laid back. It was a hobby. Now we have a lot of serious business minded people in the industry who understand the need to scale. The future looks good for the industry. And what can be done to make it better? I believe the focus should be not only on the art but also on the science behind fashion. We should look at fashion from a business point of view. There’s the need for collaborations too so that we can attract and fulfill bigger order sizes.
2EWEBOYS.COM: How easy or difficult is it for you to do what you do in Ghana?
Awura Abena Agyeman: Trying to build a great business anywhere is challenging. There’s a quote: greatness demands everything. And it’s true. Of course there are peculiar challenges here. But I bet if we had been set up in the states we’d have worried over a different set of challenges which wouldn’t have been in any way easier to overcome. That said, it would be great if the powers that be created a more enabling environment for start-ups.
2EWEBOYS.COM: What is your greatest motivation for continuing to do what you do?
Awura Abena Agyeman: The knowledge that if we persevere we can build a company that our great-grandchildren can come and work for. Build an empire that changes the way a continent dresses. That’s such an exciting dream.
2EWEBOYS.COM: Where do you see Wear Ghana in the next ten years?
Awura Abena Agyeman: We would have created a business model that would greatly improve the way clothing is made in Ghana. By our 10th year we would be replicating this model across the continent.
2EWEBOYS.COM: You announced your entry into the market with ‘The Engagement’. In your second year, you had ‘The Outdooring’. Where do you get those catchy concepts from? Can you give 2eweboys.com an exclusive by telling us what to expect in November this year?
Awura Abena Agyeman: Well that wasn’t our entry. For our launch we did a campaign called #15.11.15. It was truly successful and sent the word out there that we had arrived. lol. #TheEngagement and #TheOutdooring were for our first and second anniversaries. We’ve been blessed with a solid team of amazing minds who know how to do magic. We’re truly grateful for our friends who throw their weights behind us each year to make our campaigns successful. What can we say about this year? Well for starters it will definitely by a 15.11.15 thing. Expect some more fun.
2EWEBOYS.COM: What is the greatest lesson you have learnt on this journey of starting a company?
Awura Abena Agyeman: Here’s a definition of start-ups I love. It’s from Eric Ries in his book The Lean Start Up. He says a start-up exists mainly to learn how to build a sustainable business. It’s one I’m identified with. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that there’s so much to learn about everything.
2EWEBOYS.COM: What are the three most important values you have run your business with?
Awura Abena Agyeman: Integrity, Quality and Customer focus
2EWEBOYS.COM: Your brand seems to have a lot of Facebook trend. How important has social media been to promoting your business?
Awura Abena Agyeman: Social media has been a very important pillar for us. A good percentage of our orders come directly or indirectly from social media. And yet we’re still learning how to use it efficiently. It’s easy to get into the hype of social media without learning how to fully harness its potential.
2EWEBOYS.COM: What do you have to tell young people who have start-up ideas? What should they do?
Awura Abena Agyeman: Africa needs entrepreneurs to grow. It’s time to venture into building strong African companies. I have a theory. That ‘be fruitful and multiply’ no longer means have children, at least not for Africa. It also means multiply revenues. Create jobs. Transform economies. And I strongly believe that ours is the generation to get this done. We owe it to the generation that fought to make us independent. We owe it to the next generation. Learn. Read. Ask the questions. And find companies that exist to make you a successful entrepreneur. One such company is ServledAfrica.
2EWEBOYS.COM: Which persons are you most grateful to for WEAR Ghana?
Awura Abena Agyeman: It’s such a tall list! I’m grateful to God for the opportunity to be in this space of possibilities. I’m ever grateful to my family for the immeasurable support. My best friend and business partner Angorkor Nai-Kwade, who ensures that we don’t go crazy on those crazy days, her family who have given us space to work from and who support us each day, our friends who held our hands right from the start – Shelema, Tony Tomety, Selikem ( Palm Nut), Kwame, Tonyi, Kojo Akoto Boateng, Agtuahene Chief Awuah, the amazing group – DGG and all its members, Servled Africa who have changed our thought process, all our clients who have become family, our wonderful core team of employees, everyone who has ever said anything good about #WEARGhana and all our well wishers. We’re possible because of you.
2EWEBOYS.COM:Thank you, Awura Abena
Awura Abena Agyeman: Thank you