ModernGhana Meets Ghanaian UK Fashion Icon YAW BAKO
ModernGhana’s Editor-In-Chief, William Nana Yaw Beeko, recently engaged one of Ghana’s fastest rising iconic fashion brands in Europe, currently based in the UK, YAW BAKO CLOTHING.
YAW BAKO has been inspired by the rising opportunity in the fashion space and is doing amazing things in the fashion industry.
Yaw Bako, left his stable job as a banker to pursue his dream of becoming a fashion designer, and has become the rising star of Afrocentric inspired menswear.
He believes that Africa’s fashion industry must become a global affair with the production capacity to supply large orders and strengthening the local economy, and fostering opportunities for the next generation.
Through his many shows, he has demonstrated how niche local brands can attract bespoke quality international buyers and expand their business.
Check out excerpts from the interview:
ModernGhana: Tell Us About Yourself And Your Ghanaian Origin?
Yaw Bako: My name is Nana Yaw Owusu, born to Madam Stella Ama Asiedua and Mr Daniel Darkwah. I am a 100% Ghanaian. Born and raised in Bubiashie, where I had my basic school education(Datus Complex School, Bubiashie). Continued to St. Augustine’s College, Cape Coast(business student); then to Takoradi Polytechnic (HND Accounting), and to Central University College (Bsc Accounting)
Prior to starting the clothing line, YAWBAKO, I worked with a couple of companies. Immediately after Poly, due to desperation, I took a job as an English and ICT teacher at Sammest Educational Complex, Takoradi, where I thought for 1 year, got a job as a direct sales executive (contract staff) at mtn, where I worked for 2 years.
From MTN, I got a job as a bank teller with UBA bank, and that was where I started pursuing my fashion dream
ModernGhana: In The First Place, What Inspired You To Go Into Fashion?
Yaw Bako: My main inspiration was the rising opportunity in the fashion space and the fact that designs come to me easily. I do not struggle to put together a new design. Back then, I used to give vivid details to my tailor, every detail! Button types, design, cut, thread colour, etc.
I used to get a lot of compliments from my colleagues and bosses anytime I wore a custom made outfit. So I thought to myself, why not take this seriously.
Also the stress of working a 9 to 5 job. Having to deal with bosses and supervisors who will give a lot of pressure and will not appreciate any effort from the staff. So I thought to myself, I was going to start my own business and channel that same energy into making it work!!
ModernGhana: How Did You Get To This Far And How Did You Get Funds For Start-Up Since Funding Is Always A Big Issue In Terms Of Entrepreneurship?
Yaw Bako: I will give thanks to God for how far He has brought me. I am also grateful to my wife and my family for how supportive they have been through this journey.
I will also add that, hard work and perseverance has contributed to my success so far. Additionally, I am obsessed with my dream. I always tell myself, this is a one way ticket for me. If I don’t make it, I would have failed myself, parents, family, workers, former colleagues and everyone else who looks up to me.
About how I got my funds to start my business; I knew what I wanted to do before I started working at the bank, so I put together an exit plan. I gave myself a target; things I needed to get before taking an early retirement at the bank. As a bank worker, I was entitled to staff loan. I made sure I took every loan and invested it into my business. From my machinery to rent to my studio equipment. I resigned after I got everything I thought a fashion business startup would need. Of course this is not to say I was a rich young man so I ll quit working as a banker, I just took a risk against all odds to start. I definitely had to start from somewhere and that was exactly what I did. So it was basically my savings and staff loans.
ModernGhana: Any Further Experiences To Share?
Yaw Bako: Entrepreneurship is not for the weak minded individual. You need to have a very tough skin to go through challenges that come with it. It is only your passion for whatever business you are into, that can get you through the rough times. There will definitely come times where you will feel like giving up, but passion, tenacity, the can do spirit, will keep you going.
So I will say by all mean be your own boss, but find something you are really good at and are passionate about, and build your business around it.
ModernGhana: A Lot Of Brilliant Ideas Go Untapped Due To Limited Opportunities; What Do You Think Should Be Done To Train And Nurture People With Deep Business Concepts? Your Final Word Of Motivation To Entrepreneurs And Start-Ups
Yaw Bako: Well, I will say the only limit there is, is one’s self! Start small and grow. I did not wait till I got everything before I started. I was taking orders from my colleagues and bosses while I was still working in the bank. When I didn’t have 1 sewing machine. I only started with my idea.
An investor will only invest if they see what you have done by yourself with no help. They will not invest because of a just great idea.
We should take ourselves out of the way and START!!! The right people are watching in silence, at the right time they will show up!