All about Da-shika
Posted on 18th November 2019 at 14:33
I lived in Ghana for 25 wonderful adventurous years before I moved to the UK and now live in Bristol. Bristol is a city and county in South West England and one of the UK's most popular tourist destinations. A deep connection and love for Ghana, a desire to share my amazing talent and rich culture have influenced my business concept.
Ghana is located on the west coast of Africa. Ghanaian culture is rich and diverse. There are many tribes, each with their own unique traditions and characteristics. Many of these traditions and beliefs are brought to life through ancient arts and skills such as carving, farming, painting, fishing and weaving. Ghanaian national dress is kente cloth which is a source of common identity and pride. It is handwoven into elaborate patterns from brilliantly coloured cloth strips from interwoven cotton and silk. Men typically wrap it around their bodies and women wear it as two-piece clothing. Gold and cocoa are the main export which also stands as identifying the symbol of Ghana.
I am very proud to present some collections from Ghana and feel that they showcase the immense talent that Ghana has to offer. Ghana’s rich tradition of beautifully crafted handmade products as well as the use of simple, elegant designs and natural materials create a superb product which I cannot resist but to share with the rest of the world. Behind these talents are hard-working men and women who are passionate about their work and determined to forge a better life for themselves, their families and communities. As such, the sale of these products goes a long way to improve people’s lives.
I am so excited to share with you my story; love for beauty, passion for creativity, zeal to share all that I have with the rest of the world and courage to pursue my dream. As Walt Disney wrote, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them”. In agreement of this, my courage has appeared, but this did not happen overnight. I have always wanted to be a fashion designer and own chain of businesses.
As a child, I received countless praise for my creativity, increasing my inner desire to be a fashion designer. After junior secondary school, I wanted to study fashion, but my dad advised me to finish my education before I learn a trade so that I can have a wider opportunity in life. After studying visual art in secondary school, I went to fashion school (KALB’s) in Ghana while I waited for my results. I then attended Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to earn BA Degree in Publishing Studies.
At KNUST, there was an annual ‘end of year’ dinners for many clubs and associations, some of which I was a member. Knowing how to make clothes, I designed and made my own dinner dresses which were very impressive. I had lots of compliments which made me design some more for the many dinners and lectures attended.
My husband happened to be my date on one of these dinners and was very impressed. My dress style and its elegance mostly become the talk of the night and I made some and more for my friends on order. Till date, I get a lot of compliments for my taste for fashion with people showing interest in my wardrobe. I also had a flair for hairdressing, so after my graduation from university, I learnt some hairdressing tips before travelling to the UK.
In the UK, I got married and started a family. I worked in the retail logistics sector for many years, I then thought that training to become a nursery manager will provide me the opportunity to care for my children while taking care of others, so I did. After some years, I wanted career progression and wanted to do a master’s programme as a refresher. Once again, I was torn between fashion design and logistics and supply chain management programme. Fast forward, I attained MSc Logistics and supply chain management at the University of Warwick and currently practising my career in the Defence sector as Operation Manager.
Starting a business
At this point, I realised that bringing all this expertise together could form a good supply chain business. The business idea was to own and manage a plaza called Dorothy’s Plaza. Where there will be made to measure clothing, textiles and accessories sale point for making cloths, hairdressing saloon so that people who come to collect their clothes can visit the saloon at the same time, as well as childcare (nursery) for visitors and staff. There will also be restaurant alongside as my hobby is cooking. Those who ate food prepared by me always wanted more or what next, I have in the cooking pot. This I believed will also create an area for people who want to spend the day out as there will be artefact display for sale alongside which was influenced by my visual art background.
Unfortunately, I did not start the business I have dreamt of for many years. I encountered some challenges at work which made me realise that I was talented enough to make something for a living with my hands. Growing up, my mother used to tell my siblings and I that God gave us hands for a reason. Hands must not just be folded or pocketed as one cannot achieve anything with their hands in the pockets, especially when there were chores to be done.
There is so much one can make with their hands. As Aristotle said, “the hand is the tool of tools”.
It was a challenging moment in my life, and I prayed for God to deliver and direct me. This encouraged me to start making Kenkey (A native food from Ghana for the Ga people in Accra). If you know how to make kenkey, you will realise that it’s not an easy task. However, I was eager to move on and to change my life knowing how talented and entrepreneur I was. I reflected on all the things I was good at and how I can change my life and the world by bringing all these talents together to meet people’s needs/ requirements and share all that I have while improving people’s lives and making a difference.
I also started making “Shito” chilli pepper sauce, beaded jewellery and clothing. I started offering them as gifts which people were very appreciative of and eventually selling to friends. Soon I realised that I couldn’t make all the products by myself as I already had a full-time job. I started involving disadvantaged people from Ghana to help them generate a source of income to help them care for themselves and families.
I have a dream
In the quest to fulfil my dream, I leant that through hard work, planning, risk management, perseverance and a faith in God, you can live your dreams. Nobody will ever be able to take your talent, education and training away. Above all, there will always be opposition and difficult times, just remember that challenges are not meant to destroy you but to promote, make you grow and strengthen you. As Jimmy Cliff rightly said, “You can get it if you really want, but you must try, try and try, try and try, you’ll succeed at last.”
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