When I started this business journey, which was the summer of 2020, I noticed how challenging it was to find concise information on how to start, register, and set up a business in Ghana effectively and legally. In this video, I share behind the scenes how I created the concept behind Bandele Muse, who I worked with to make this lifestyle / media / fashion business a reality, and what steps were needed to register a company in Ghana. I hope you find this information helpful. Please keep in mind that there is no one way to do business. This is what worked for me.
As I said in the video, the very first step on this journey was my research phase. I listed all of the ideas, products, services, experiences, and ultimate results I was interested in and felt my skills are aligned with. The themes I took note of included media, fashion, education, technology, sustainability, animation, holistic lifestyle, Africa, and Futurism. I proceeded to learn through YouTube, blogs, books, and webinars about eCommerce, African manufacturing, and consumer behavior. This lead me to clarifying what I wanted to create, which really helped when it came time to invest in myself.
There were two virtual panels by Lagos Fashion Week that enabled me to push further on this journey. The first one was an interview with the founder of Tongoro, Sarah Diouf. I loved hearing her story on how she started her brand in Senegal and how she has maintained and expanded her eCommerce made in Africa brand. The second one was a panel with the founder of African Fashion Guide, Jacqueline Shaw. I was encouraged by her mission to empower and showcase African fashion trade and her services to contribute to sourcing and manufacturing fashion through out the continent. This was a big thing for me. Up to this point, my own inquiries in Ghana about how to produce fashion in Ghana was met with responses for trial and error with independent tailors. In my own experience, I have had clothing made for me in Ghana that was nice, but not the cut or standard I wanted to sell or mass produce. I knew there had to be a more modern and efficient way to produce in Ghana that still showcased original and traditional artisanship. This is what I found by working with African Fashion Guide.
The manufacturing process thus far has been a learning curve for me. My patience has transformed to a bigger super power. For example, I have been ready to produce since April. It is now September and the first sample is half complete. Time has been chewed up by what everyone complains about here: finding the right person + lack of equipment or materials. This is where the definition of progress starts to morph. First, you find the right person. Yeah, celebrate. Then you both grapple with the environment we are producing in. Would you like to hear more about this process? Let me know in the comments so that I can elaborate more in a video and post.
Later, I purchased the domain name and e-mail names (through Google work space). I also created the social media accounts. I kept all of these private for the mean time. Then, I signed up with FloDesk for my newsletter. Would you like to hear more about the tech I am using for this business? Let me know in the comments so that I can elaborate.
Next, the registration process. The business options to register and forms to apply can be accessed online. As I said in the video, I was looking for something similar to an LLC, which is considered a hybrid to those outside of the US. Again, asking around did not get me the full responses I needed. Thus, I got legal guidance from Agency77, a firm dedicated to small / medium size businesses and creatives. I came across their brand last year after they had hosted a workshop in Accra. I also felt drawn to their website because the image they are using at the moment reminds me of Afrofuturism, which is totally my thing. Carla Olympio is the managing partner at the firm. I really appreciated her guidance in understanding which type of business I should register and making the registration process efficient. At the end, they also gave me a packet with information on how the different business taxes work here and what I should look out for with bookkeeping. Once I submitted all the information needed to them, registration was complete within a week.
Now, let’s pause for a moment. Do you notice a theme here? I did not do everything alone. People relations are an interesting factor to maneuver. If you do not belong to a high school, university, or church community here, it feels as if you are always on the outside looking in. Putting myself out there with my super detective research skills has enabled me to find people I can work with. They may not be family or friends (yet), but they are people I will continue to support and they will do business with me again.
I hope you find this information helpful. Share with me in the comments about your experience starting or registering a business. Let’s continue the conversation.
Also, remember to join the Bandele Muse newsletter. I am sharing even more behind-the-scenes and surprises with my community there.
Take care and be safe.