Wearing the African Prints with Pride
Wear Ghana is a women-led Ghanaian apparel company that aspires to be Africa’s most loved brand. The company’s story began in 2013 when two young women Awura Abena Agyeman and Angorkor Nai-Kwade (Keke) left their corporate jobs. Although they did not have any formal training in apparel manufacturing, they were firm in their decision to pursue the entrepreneurial journey. “Entrepreneurship holds the key to transform Africa” as stated by Awura.
Today the company is run by a team of young professionals under 30 years old and 90% women. These women come from a diverse background – some didn’t finish school and some hold master’s degrees from overseas universities. But they share a common purpose: they want to promote African culture through fashion.
Shifting the business model in a timely fashion
As a brand that started as a small made-to- measure boutique, shifting to a ready-to-wear business model is a challenge. Not only the company had to adapt its brand identity, but it also needed to recalibrate their corporate culture and strategy. “Ready-to-wear model is the only way we could scale up our business,” said Keke.They had been producing everything in-house, but they realized this model is not sustainable in the long run.
Both Awura and Keke believe that talents play an important role in the success of every apparel manufacturing business.
“ENTREPRENEURSHIP HOLDS THE KEY TO TRANSFORM AFRICA”
"“Building an apparel brand that can be the next global company requires professional experts to support train our staff, advise us on how to expand the supply chain and how to develop sellable products., There are highly skilled producers behind high-quality products”.
The company took the opportunity to join a coaching programme on product design and development for apparel manufacturing companies offered by the Africa Fashion and Textile Accelerator Network (Africa FAN) project. The training was tailored to the needs of the company to help it develop products tailored to different segments and seasons as well as fashion trend forecasting. “Forecasting is a great tool to build apparel stock that we can sell ahead of the season” said Awura.
Through this coaching, Wear Ghana decided to move forward with their plan to adapt their business model and start focusing more on the product development and partnering with external factories for the production.
Growing communities across the African continent. Next: go global
Although the business model is shifting, the end goal stays the same. “We want to build a community around the brand” said Awura. She wants her customers to talk about Wear Ghana be it in the street, in the community events, or in the social media space.
Wear Ghana has also benefited from the Africa FAN’s coaching programme on Branding and Marketing to further leverage their digital marketing channels for increased visibility and sales. The training helped them explore different social media channels that are suitable for their needs and identify ways to better engage with online customers. They recently started using Whatsapp which proved to be very effective for sales. Through the ITC training, they also learned the importance of having a streamlined visual brand identity especially for an application like Instagram. As encouraged by the expert coach, Wear Ghana hired a social media manager who is fully dedicated to bring their online presence to the next level. Combined with many other practical tips adopted from the coaching, Wear Ghana’s Facebook page followers went over 260% and the Instagram followers went up by 85% within a year.
While most of these customers are Ghanaian, they hope to reach out to customers in Africa and beyond. “We want to be Africa’s most loved brand. We want to have a presence across the continent, and places like the UK, US, and Europe”.
About the Programme
African Fashion & Textile Accelerator Network (Africa FAN) is jointly implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the International Trade Centre (ITC)'s GreenToCompete initiative. The project aims to increase sourcing of sustainably produced textiles from emerging textile and apparel production hubs in Africa, thereby creating jobs for the region’s growing workforce.