Ghana : « I developed a passion for making beaded accessories as a hobby before turning it into a business ».
I love to play with color, and seeing people wearing my creation fills me with so much joy. Discover the adventure of the Ghanaian Pricilla Korlekour Agyeman.
Tell us about you ?
I am Priscilla Korlekour Agyeman, a Ghanaian based accessories designer who specializes in using native Krobo glass beads (made from recycled glass) to make exquisite jewellery under a brand name Kor.Le.Kour Accessories.
Our beads are interlaced with other materials to capture the essence of today’s woman and our designs aim to be fun, funky, bohemian and quirky with the core value of being African. I studied Metal Production at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. I worked 9 years in 4 multinational companies with roles varying from HR Manager to Social Media Manager.
How did you get started in this area ?
After I completed my first degree at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Art in Metal Production and had to wait four months for my national service placement. Quickly bored after a week of being at home, I began experimenting with my metal production knowledge. I started with tiny silver and beads earrings and eventually advanced to using my mother’s old jewelry and beads collection. After a few weeks of disturbing her, she suggested going shopping at the bead market in Koforidua. I had saved some money during my final year in university, thus my initial capital for Kor.Le.Kour was 40 Ghana cedis ($10).
With time, I developed a passion for making beaded accessories as a hobby. I would go to my studio and start creating any design that came to mind, especially when I was tired from work or having a bad day. My knowledge in color coordination and product design gave me an advantage in my creative process and I was able to create unique pieces which received several compliments. My confidence grew as I created more and more pieces, even though the pieces were mainly based on requests from friends and family.
Tell us about your profession? Why did you choose it ?
I think it came to me naturally. I had always studied art, from elementary school to university. As an accessories designer, I work with beads from different parts of Ghana, 80% of my material are sourced from Ghana, the beads are made from broken glass which is obtained from all over Ghana, They are crushed into powder, colored and baked to get the lovely beads I work with. I travel to the village and bead market to source these beads from the local women.
Tell us a little about your activity
I spend most of my time between sourcing, production, marketing, and PR . It takes me 21days to produce a full collection summing up to 50 pieces. I believe it is important to invest in your brand, thus I book photo-shoot session for my collection. Social media marketing thrives on quality pictures and contents, which enhance your brand.
My daily routine is to check my social media accounts for messages or inquiries and client orders. I post my content for the day as well. If I am in production mood I spend my day doing that. I personally handle the delivery to my stockist’s shops, Akataasia and Craft Freaks both in Ghana. This affords me the opportunity to interact with my clients. I update and manage my website weekly as well.
What motivates you in this activities ?
I love to play with color, and seeing people wearing my creation fills me with so much joy.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I am inspired by my heritage, my brand name “Korlekour” is the name of the second female child among the Krobo tribe of Ghana. Krobos are well known for their fascinating and colorful beads made from glass and clay.
A Krobo child knows her beads from a young age because she is adorned with beads in every celebration or festivity.
What do you like about this job?
I developed a passion for making beaded accessories as a hobby before turning it into a business. I would go to my studio and start creating any design that came to mind, especially when I was tired from work or having a bad day. My knowledge in color coordination and product design gives me an advantage in my creative process and I am able to create unique pieces which received several compliments.
Secondly the fact that these beads are made from recycled glass and are sold by the local women who feed their families from making these beads.
Were you accompanied at the beginning (training)? And if so, by whom? Are you still? And if so, by whom?
I studied jewelry making in the University, so I had an idea about the look and feel. 7 years later I took a beading class because I needed to improve my design and techniques in bead making.
Do you feel a change in treatment between your male colleagues and you?
Accessories design is dominated by women, thus there is little to no inequality.
What qualifications are required to fill this position?
Anyone can learn accessories designer but you will have to get a UPS ( unique selling point). The key thing that makes your design unique.
What are the possibilities for evolution ?
We are in the process of channeling the glass waste to these beads makers, forming a cooperative to support these women and exposing them to a wider market. We live on a continent with an abundance of raw materials thus we working on creating beautiful works of art with these materials.
Are there many women / young women in this field in your profession ?
Yes, the accessories industry is 70% women in Ghana.
If you had a choice, would you do anything else ?
No, rather I wish I had started much early because I have always loved making accessories with our local Krobo beads.
What difficulties do you encounter ?
As any startup, I had to start with a small capital from my saving. This restricts our marketing and also having a smaller studio/ workshop space does not help us in expanding our production.
Site : http://korlekouraccessories.storefoundry.com/
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/KorLeKour-Jewellery-1812444215648620/
Tel : +233 20 796 8122