Abena Ofosua Obuba’s dream has always been to own a business she is passionate about and be her own woman. So, after being in the Ghanaian power industry as a Chemical Engineer for 4 years, she knew it was time to make her dream happen.
This led her to start with the necessary preparations by maintaining her position for another year in order to save money. Abena also acquired entrepreneurial skills before starting up on her own.
She then resigned after her fifth year with the power industry and started Akatasia Brides, a bridal consultancy business which took off immediately due to her carefully, well thought out plans and preparations. Now, Akatasia Brides is a household name and one of the best bridal consultancies in the country.
Tell us a brief history of your career as a chemical engineer before Akatasia Brides?
I worked in the power industry for 5 years as a chemical engineer in the business development section. I started my career first off as a Health and Safety Officer. Later, my role changed to business development and I think that was a great stepping stone for me to branch into entrepreneurship because I was meeting high level officials/influencers in Ghana’s power industry.
I began to develop a perfect skill set for entrepreneurship. The company I was working with at that time was a start-up, so I learned a great deal of lessons as the company grew and as I took on a managerial role.
Why did you switch from chemical engineering to bridal consultancy?
I switched from chemical engineering to bridal consultancy because of the following three reasons;I knew if I did not resign, I would never achieve this dream of becoming an employer Click To Tweet
- My interest in chemical engineering was fading. Waking up each day to go to work became a chore. It was a huge task for me. I was unhappy and it felt like I was at the wrong place. I however put in a 100% whenever I was at work though it was unsatisfying.
- I was planning to have a baby. Having a baby is a full time job and my position as a Chemical Engineer required total commitment. This means, I had to work from 7am to 6pm and this would have taken a toll on me and my family
- My passion to own my own company. It had always been my dream to run my own business; to be the controller of my own ship. I knew if I did not resign from my position as an employee at some point, I would never achieve this dream of becoming an employer.
What preparations did you make towards your resignation?
I planned for a whole year on how to smoothly transition from my previous job to the bridal consultancy business. I planned out how much money I needed; the exact time I will be leaving my previous employer and the work that was required to start a new business.
That planning period was also my trial period so that meant I saved all I could for that one year and lived on the new business. Since that worked, I knew the business was going to work if I were to resign from my previous job.
Walk us through the process it’s taken you to get Akatasia Brides to where it is now?
Akatasia Brides started out as an online business on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms where I worked as a freelance bridal make-up artist. After sometime however, I thought of sourcing for gowns for brides.
This was to add value to my work by providing the complete packages for brides. So I researched and gained experience in dressing up brides. I added on my personal style and helped dress up brides for their big day.
After the great feedback I had from my customers, I opened a bridal salon with a make-up studio in Tema, Ghana. There I sell ready-to-wear wedding gowns; assist brides to select customized wedding dresses with all their specifications and provide beauty services.I started @Akatasiabrides as a freelance bridal make-up artist - Abena Ofosua Obuba Click To Tweet
What are some surprising lessons you learned along the way?
- You need support from your business team and your family to make your business work.
- You should be reinvesting your profits into the business at least for the first two years.
- Time management is of the greatest essence when you start your own business.
What were the biggest things you struggled with when you started Akatasia Brides?
I did not have any financial background so I struggled with keeping tab on the finances until I hired a professional to take over this part of the business.
I have started taking accounting lessons also. I need to know where all the money is going.
What’s your most memorable experience as a bridal consultant?
The first time a bride kissed my cheeks and hugged me after trying on her gown and said “thank you so much Akatasia”.
Everyone calls me Akatasia now —it means lady in our local dialect, Twi. I do not think I can get any better experience and satisfaction than this.#MotherlandMoguls looking to resign to start their businesses should PLAN Click To Tweet
If you could offer one piece of advice to a person considering resignation, what would it be?
I would say they should PLAN. If they can put out some sort of plan on paper, then they can draft a business plan from that.
From that plan you can have a better view of what you will be getting yourself into.
How do you think pursuing your passion has turned you into a better person?
I have become very enthusiastic, optimistic and strong. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted because you do not know what the market/environment is going to hit you with next.
Your resilience always carries you through. And being able to succeed through this has made me a stronger person.
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