What inspired the creation of your collection?
My current collection was literally in the works for a few years, I just didn’t realize everything I was doing was leading up to it. It’s named The Sankofa Collection. The Sankofa symbol is represented in two ways, as a stylized heart and as a bird looking back and holding a precious egg in it’s mouth. I am using the heart symbol. This symbol is a reminder that we must continue to move forward in our future as we remember and take cues from the past. “Go back and get it” is what it literally means. This is essentially what I have been doing these last 5 years creating jewelry that pays homage to my Ghanaian culture and my ancestors. I’ve been going back to the source for inspiration. I have some fond memories of childhood summers in Ghana. I am also in awe of Ghana’s complex, difficult and layered trade history both in gold and in slaves, it’s weaving traditions, and oral storytelling that gave the world Kente cloth, Adinkra symbols and stories of Anansi the spider. All these have formed and influenced where I am right now.
What lead you to pursue entrepreneurship?
There didn’t really seem like any other way to go. When it became clear to me that I was actually good at this thing called jewelry design, and that people actually wanted to buy what I made, it just seemed like a no brainer. The process isn’t easy and there are things that I still need to do to grow my business, but when this is yours then you will sacrifice a lot to see it grow. Accountability and ownership of this whole enterprise is very important to me.
What excites you most about this new and exciting chapter?
What excites me most is the light bulb that goes off in people’s heads when they realize what the references are for my designs. My goal as a lifelong learner is that I share what I know, experienced and what I’ve learned. I want us, as people of color, to know that our history and our stories and even our pain can translate into beautiful jewelry. I want people to know that our jewelry doesn’t have to conform to a Western idea of what beautiful commercial or fine jewelry should look like or who produces it.
What was your favorite piece to create?
I am in love with my Sankofa skeleton key. Traditional skeleton keys where designed to fit many locks and open many doors. The combination of the skeleton key design with the Sankofa heart as the bow ( the top part of a key that protrudes out of a door) just gave me all the feels!
The key essentially is a reminder that we have to unlock many doors in our past to move forward in our future. “Go back and get it”
What is your BIG vision for your business?
My BIG idea is that my line becomes globally recognized and that it will be on par with the likes of Mikimoto and Bulgari, recognizable jewelry houses.
How would you describe your work ethic?
Right now, it’s just do it! But I am learning to throw some fun in on occasion. I just feel like right now I’ve got momentum going and I feel like I am trying to play catch up so I am constantly going, going, going! This is a transition into a mid-career change so I seize all the opportunities and focus most of my attention on my business.
What keeps you going when juggling life and business presents various challenges?
My BIG vision, the inspiration for the creation of my collections, my favorite piece in my collection.
What advice would you offer to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Step out with faith and boldness, having finances doesn't hurt either lol!
What is the best business advice you have ever received?
Keep your receipts. Trademark/ copyright when you can. Keep track of your work on an excel sheet to facilitate your work process and help with every level of your cost and price points.