As the world is increasingly more interested in African design, particularly in the accessory and clothing space, one entrepreneur in Ghana is captivating attention through her label Pernia Couture. Anna Cole Ojukwu is taking the best of African inspiration and turning it into must-have accessories and clothing.
What does your company do?
At Pernia Couture, we use African beads and other beads to design and manufacture ladies’ accessories like neck pieces, bags, slippers etc. and also transform different types of African prints into beautiful ladies clothes.
What inspired you to start your company?
I was born with a creative talent, so being a woman and knowing how important it is for a woman to be confident, I saw creating bold unique accessories and clothes as a way of contributing to making other women feel more confident....
Why should anyone use your service or product?
My products are unique, fashion forward and African inspired so for a woman who was to wear unique, fashion forward accessories and clothes and still keep her African identity, my brand is the one to choose. My products are very durable and comfortable to wear.
Tell us a little about your team
We are a team of four. I personally create and design every single accessory and piece of clothing. I have Deborah who helps me with the manufacturing of the accessories and clothes. Then Issac Owusu, who handles all my photography and graphic design work. And then Emmanuel Ofori, who handles the marketing of all the products produced.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Mrs. Mary Coleman my mother was a designer and a seamstress. She was into designing and manufacturing ladies’ clothes with about five workers, so I saw how the job was done every single day of my life - as a result, I knew what I wanted to do in life. But the fear of not being accepted or failing kept me from starting up the business initially. Even though my mother and two younger sisters kept encouraging me, I never yielded until I met my Nigerian friend who is now my husband, Chibueze Ojukwu. So the four of them kept encouraging me until September 2012 I finally decided to take the bold step to start up PERNIA COUTURE, designing and manufacturing ladies clothes. Up until May 2014 when my worker left, I had to take a break because the work load became too much for me and my mother. During that break, I kept wondering what else I could do till I slept one afternoon and I had a dream of me creating neck pieces - so I woke up, sketched, manufactured all the designs, and that's how I came out with my debut beads accessory collection “GRANDEUR”, all neck pieces in 2015. The following year in 2016, I came out with my second beads accessory collection "A-SHE-SO-DZI “, again all neck pieces, and I haven't looked back ever since. I must say, it's been a journey worth it so far...
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
My aspiration is to work extremely hard for my label PERNIA BY ANNA COLE OJUKWU, and two build it into an acceptable fashion brand world wide. To have showrooms all over the world to enable me to showcase our beautiful African culture through my works. And also to train more women to be resourceful and to help more women who want to start up businesses but who don't know how to go about it.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
I find so much fulfillment when clients patronize my products and they appreciate my works. Gradually getting to the stage where I would have the opportunity to employ so many unemployed women is fulfilling. And also being able to make an impact in my generation positively with my talent.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Know that you are capable of doing anything you set your mind on to do...
Research on the area or sector of business you want to get into and then have thetraining to really understand what you are getting into.
Start, no matter how small. Don’t sit down waiting for a very huge amount of capital because you might not have it, but starting small will rather let people around you see how determined you are and might push them to invest into your business. Also starting small minimizes your losses just in case the worst happens…
Source: Lionesses of Africa