Fashion & Lifestyle

INKA Accessories Ghana | Exclusive Interview | #MyComeUpStory

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Learn as much as you can about what business you would like to venture into and start with what you have.

Naa Korkoi Armah , INKA Accessories Ghana, INKA Accessories

Brand Profile

Name: Naa Korkoi Armah

Current title/ company?

Creative Director

INKA Accessories Ghana

What’s your motto? Exquisite handmade jewellery for the real you.

Year you launched the company: The company was formally registered as a business in 2009.

Naa Korkoi Armah , INKA Accessories Ghana, INKA Accessories

My Come Up Story

Educational background? Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?

My love for the art and bead jewellery making is self-taught but with training somewhere along the line for quality and finishing of production. I majored in a degree in Publishing at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. Writing, books and anything literary have always been a great love of mine. I still apply this to creations of wearable art in all forms.

What sparked your interest in fashion? Describe the journey of creating your first piece?

I have always loved colours and being able to create wearable objects for people. Creating my first piece came very easy even though it was not flawless. I made my first few pieces out of my mother’s stash of old beads and jewellery. I must admit that her good eye and gift of fashion rubbed off on me and this has been a big push into my interest in fashion.

How did you start believing in your own work and talent? What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?

I began making jewellery for friends and they in turn sold them. This was a good sign that they were properly done and ready for the market. It gingered me on to start researching, producing and marketing my products on a larger scale and not only to people around me.

Even though I was fully employed and working all day, most of my free time was spent sketching designs and scouting for materials to work with. My weekends and nights were constantly buried in what I loved to do most. My orders kept growing and sometimes I would have to get a few other people to help me string beads even though they were not on a payroll yet. This was a sign that I needed to take my creativity more seriously.

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

Learn as much as you can about what business you would like to venture into and start with what you have.

Breaking into the fashion industry isn’t an easy feat. What advice would you give to up-and-coming designers? Marketing tips?

Make use of the different media and social media platforms which are available to you. Sponsoring events and photo shoots are also good avenues but may require some investment which may not be conducive initially for an up and coming designer depending on your financial base. Take part in as many exhibitions and bazaars as you can and remember to always give out your contacts, but do so tactically weighing your cost and the outcome. Use friends and family as well as yourself to market your designs. They will always be proud to show off what their friend is capable of doing.

Do you recall any embarrassing moments you had during your come up?

Certainly, there have been a few times during shows when models did not turn up. I had to grab some kind hearted people to substitute for the show. Some collaboration with other designers have gone sour but at the dire moment things worked out even though it was somewhat embarrassing.

Tell us about a time you were faced with insurmountable odds, yet persevered to overcome

The growth of the company has added on a lot more roles than just being a creative director. Managing employees, designing and marketing are some of the major functions which constantly run the business. There have been times when meeting deadlines have been a nightmare especially when employees failed to turn up at the needed times. Yet still we pull through professionally and are able to satisfy our clients. Having to deal with human resource and managing finances can be very challenging.

Naa Korkoi Armah , INKA Accessories Ghana, INKA Accessories

My Daily Behind the Scenes

What is your typical week day and weekend like? What do you do when not working?

When you love what you do, sometimes it feels like there is not enough time to create all the unique designs I would like to share with the world. The days are filled with lots of research and trying out new themes for collections.

When not working I am trying to relax a bit by enjoying family and friends.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I love being outdoors and the blend of nature’s colours is a perfect source of inspiration. My interaction with people from all over is also an integral part of inspiring our creations.

How did you initially source materials and manufacturers?

I started gathering materials from my mother and grandmother. In Ghana, most of our grandmother’s hand down the precious beads to their daughters as part of the family heirloom. I got a bit of that and did a lot of buying when travelling around.

The Ghana Bead Society has a strong pool of great bead makers who supply very unique products on the market.

How do you produce and distribute your designs?

All out pieces are hand made from start to finish and once they are done depending on the clientele we have they are either delivered or supplied to some outlets locally and internationally.

Once you have the product, how do you get the word out?

Once our products are ready, the first thing we do is to take a snap shot. No matter the gadget we have, keeping records is of utmost importance. We use our social media platforms to distribute product pictures and follow up on responses.

We also hold private shows, and exhibitions for clients.

Do you scope out the competition, or are you so tailored in your aesthetics that it isn’t necessary?

Definitely there is competition but not a threat at all. The art and creative world is so unique and difficult to copy because it is in born. INKA Accessories, has a unique signature to all our works and the same goes for any good creative person such that even when you try to copy an item it never comes out the same.

What songs do you listen to that psyches you up and makes you feel strong?

Music is the food of life. Rhythm that makes me bob my head and sway is the way for me. In a more creative mode when I need to think then I do some classical and traditional hi life music with words of wisdom.

What is one thing you do when you’re feeling stuck creatively?

It is difficult to get stuck when creating. The problem I face is perhaps not sure if a colour looks good for a particular piece. I take a break and do something else like work some puzzles, grab a good book to  refresh my thinking or take a walk, and I come back with a lot more passion in a short while to work non-stop.

My Now, My Future

What would you like to achieve before the end of 2016?

It is part of this year’s projection to begin a training hub and workspace in Ghana for fashion designers.

What is the most meaningful project you have done? What would your dream project be?

Our most meaningful projects have always been our motivational training for young fashion entrepreneurs and nurturing students into fashion careers as they prepare for the world.

Our dream project is to open one of the best fashion and creative training institute with cutting edge technology well equipped with the best fashion and business resource open to all and reaching the entire globe.

What’s one dream you’ve achieved that you’re most proud of and why?

Every little achievement counts. Being able to fully explore my talent as a designer with a lot of focus has been one of my biggest dreams come true.

Name a charity you are passionate about & explain why it matters to you. How do you show your support?

We continue to support different charities and have worked with several. Our overall focus has been mentoring girls from a very young age into strong hard working women and giving them something to live for. This cuts across for most charities we have worked with.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your teenage self?

I would have saved some more money to put into my business and embraced my creative self with a lot more seriousness.











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