Giving Me Ghana "Vim"
Entrepreneurs and Businesses
So the next category of Come-Ups and Legends that give me #Vim are the entrepreneurs residing in Ghana and the wider diaspora. I'll name just a few and you can click through to see for yourself what I'm talking about.
Ghana, specifically and Africa more widely are home to #thehustle. There is a strange yet fascinating phenomenon that happens, especially in major African cities. Due to the bustle of daily activity it both does and doesn't take much to set a little something up: the entrepreneurial spirit is alive everywhere. You will find people selling on the roadside, in the middle of the road, and over gutters. But it takes a lot of grit and determination (not to mention microloans or family investment) to actually get "a little" something going.
I wanted to spotlight this particular branch of #GhanaVim in honor of all the shipping container mavens/maestros, the Makola women/chiefs and Kayay3 (boss ass women/mothers literally carrying the world in a handbasket on top of their heads and babies on their backs).
*Also, given that I won't be in Ghana this Holiday Season 2018, I'll live vicariously through this post. If you're there, bring back gifts. #itoldyouso #youarewelcome (yea you @jadapinkettsmith @willsmith @willowsmith :) )
The following are some of the spaces and endeavors I've gotten to experience myself or that have been recommended to me.
Hopefully one day the WoBusu brand is added to your own list.
The Shop Accra by Eyetsa
(*Also has two outposts in Nigeria)
The locale on the outskirts of Osu towards La Road is as much an experience as it is a store. You feel immediately invited in: from its small front yard (with bike rentals and Sunday city tours) to its communal dining area/gallery and performance space. As of September 2018, the layout changed a bit from when I visited early in 2018 so I can only imagine the ever-evolving style of the space in years to come. Your eye will never rest while you're there; taking in all of the crafts nestled into the wooden-milk crate displays. All of the staff seem genuinely interested in your questions but will also leave you be to just browse. They sell lots of local brands at fair prices. You'll find everything from accessories, beauty products, artists works, homewares etc. I'd also recommend filling up on treats after shopping so hard: the smoothies and jerk chicken wings were great, and the palm wine is a nice #treatyoself for not buying everything and still managing to pick out unique souvenirs for others.
Untamed Empire ( IG @untamedempire)
I first came to Untamed Empire in August 2016, during a Chale Wate Festival event held at their former Ridge location, the backyard of the inimitable/radiant WCW @lovefromsefa ). I Ubered over by my lonesome at night following the opening for Jeremiah Quarshie's "Yellow is the Color of Water" exhibition by Gallery 1957 in the unfinished parking lot of Kempinsky Hotel. I digress if only to paint the picture of leaving an art opening and arriving into this enchanted space known as Untamed Empire. It was lit up with a large light installation (later installed at the festival in Jamestown) and giving off sprawling secret-garden-type vibes. I had a similar reaction when I first went to the Nubuke Foundation about 7 years ago, and also the Foundation of Contemporary Art space housed at the W.E.B Du Bois Centre when run by the late Professor Joe Nkrumah some 10 years ago. But Untamed Empire was on another level. The store was made out of at least 2 shipping containers stacked atop each other. It was not only a beautifully curated store but also a space for collaboration and meetings with the 2nd floor used as a mini gallery.
At the beginning of 2018, they announced they'd be moving to a new location on Spintex Road, which saddened me a bit (loss of the secret garden!) but a peek over the fence at the Spintex location leads me to believe that great things are in store for Untamed Empire. Even more recently they've opened a shop in the new Terminal 3 at Kotoko International Airport. Which is a plus for you last minute gift-shoppers, but prohibits a sense of community/gathering space. Hopefully, the Kotoka location will just be a snapshot of what to expect at Spintex. You can still shop online and they deliver worldwide via DHL. They too representing lots of local designers and talent.
Keky3 Fabrics (IG @keky3fabrics)
Located adjacent to Hotel Georgia in Airport Residential. I first came across Kyekye Fabrics via the Instagram account of beautiful/#goals designer @iktsch who modeled some of their fabrics. They have a wide and unique selection of prints. Having scoured the maze-like wonder that is Makola Market for eye-catching WoBusu prints, my interest in their selection was piqued. I'm uncertain if this is their permanent location. I took a brief stop there after dining at Azmera restaurant (another absolute must: buffet style with delicious traditional dishes and decor. Just be prepared to spend a bit of dough for the dough and also to spend a bit of time savoring the dishes). But while I was somewhat underwhelmed with the space itself, the staff were very helpful and patient as I went through my elaborate selection process. Anyway, this is all to say that I like what they had on offer and also their social media presence. I hope that either Hotel Georgia or another hotel will see the potential power that a more elaborate collaboration with Keky3 Fabrics could have.
Officially founded in October 2017, Adwoa Beauty came on my radar through the genius of social media: the adorable toddler-come-influencer @jayde_robinson1 doing a product review with Adwoa Beuty's curl defining cream fuzzily in the forefront of the camera. Adwoa Beauty was never mentioned per se, but it didn't need to be. Although it is its own video, once GotDamnZo got hold of it, it's viral potency took off (I love you @iamzoie !). For my own selfish reasons, I love to see the name Adwoa out there in the world. Right now, Adwoa Beauty is among the top three results on google when you search for the name. Anyway, the brand is owned by Julian Addo who grew up in the states, to a Ghanaian father and Liberian Mother. Julian's journey in the beauty and cosmetology game is laid out on the brand's website, and it is a long and varied one. Reading about her decades-long hustle energizes me, so I see you @AdwoaBeauty, and I hope to live up to the name.
Lastly I'd love to give a shout out to the Ghana Tourism Authority, who on the heels of Prince Charles' November visit and the "Born in Ghana, Raised in Gold Coast" Fashion Show, have lots in store for 2019, with a whole year's worth of activities to mark the 400th year since the start of the TransAtlantic Slave Trade and the Middle Passage: "The Year of Return: Ghana 2019" is being framed as a call to the diaspora to mark the resilience of the African and her children (check out these links if you haven't already).
For now, that's all I'll post on the entrepreneurs/spaces giving me vim, but there are sooooo many more. Afterall #weoutchea. But I'll definitely be back with more because every day there are new enterprises on the come-up. Blessings to us all this Holiday Season!