In our second guest article, we are featuring the Marian Naaku Allottey, the CEO of Luzquisite and founder of Womenpreneur Ghana.
Instagram : instagram.com/luxquisite
Instagram : instagram.com/womenpreneur
Kobylarry (Ghanatalks Editor) spoke to Marian in an interview and below is the full scripted interview that went on.
Kobylarry : Hi Marian, tell us about yourself and your business.
Marian : I am Marian Naaku Allotey the CEO of LuxQuisite and founder of Womenpreneur Ghana – LuxQuisite deals mainly in swimwears, beachwears, kimonos and sunglasses. We however deal in ladies shoes and other fashion accessories as well.
Womenpreneur Ghana – It is a community of focused, passion driven, ambitious, resilient and goal oriented women entrepreneurs who are down to help each other grow. We seek to encourage each other and yet to be women entrepreneurs through this not so easy entrepreneurial journey, share ideas and possibly to create partnerships and collaborations. It is also platform for womenpreneurs to shine💫!
Kobylarry : great intro you have there, kindly share with us how you started your business.
Marian – Growing up I always wanted to have my own business but had no I idea of what I wanted to venture into until one time (uni days – level 400) when I had to search for a bikini for purchase for pool hangout. It was such a stressful process for me.
I checked out a lot of pages on Instagram and I could get only one store out of the many that had a few bikinis at really outrageous prices. This experience was what informed my decision about starting my business. I then surfed the internet for bikini suppliers, that is how it all started.
I started with sunglasses though, because my very first supplier dealt in sunglasses as well and the minimum quantity he quoted for the bikini as at then was nothing I could afford so I decided to start with the sunglasses in order to raise enough funds to order for the bikinis. And after sales of a couple of sunglasses, I now had enough funds to order for the bikinis.
Kobylarry : why did you commence LuxQuisite ?
Marian : I started LuxQuisite after I noticed there are very limited bikini shops in Ghana and the very few that were operating before I started were selling at really expensive prices.
The reason for starting Womenpreneur Ghana is that, as young entrepreneurs there are times when one needs someone to talk to, someone to consult for advice on certain things just like other entrepreneurs.
Being an entrepreneur myself I noticed that sometimes just reading some motivational quotes and listening to stories of other entrepreneurs gets me going especially in times when things are a bit rough for me.
I figured it was so with other entrepreneurs too so why not start something that can keep myself and other entrepreneurs motivated. We all need that positive energy to keep us going every time.
There are a lot of successful women entrepreneurs who pose to be down to help young entrepreneurs grow but the truth is you reach out to them and they don’t even mind you or reply your messages.
This fueled me and my co-founder Duphie of Fashforward to start this community where we will have women who are real and are willing to support each other grow.
Kobylarry : that’s really interesting, tell us where you want to see LuxQuisite and Womenpreneur Ghana in the years to come?
Marian : LuxQuisite seeks to be one of the biggest ladies fashion brands in Ghana and beyond. LuxQuisite looks forward to having its own bikini production factory right here in Ghana in some years to come which will serve as a wholesale outlet as well.
Womenpreneur Ghana looks forward to be the hub of all women entrepreneurs in Ghana. We also look forward to be having gatherings where we can meet, network and discuss some important entrepreneurial issues.
Kobylarry : I pray that vision is realized quickly, tell us what your motivation has been or what gets you motivated.
Marian : I’m simply motivated by seeing other women excel in their various fields. It just gives me so much hope that with determination, focus and hard work we can all get there too.
Kobylarry : very motivational words there, what has been some of your achievements so far?
Marian : Currently, we have chalked no major achievements yet but there’s surely going be one pretty soon so you all should watch out .
Kobylarry :what are the main objectives of LuxQuisite and Womenpreneur Ghana ?
Marian : For LuxQuisite – To offer very unique trendy and classy swimwears, beachwears and kimonos at relatively affordable prices.
Womenpreneur Ghana – To build a rising generation of women entrepreneurs who don’t wait for opportunities but create opportunities for themselves and always open to partner and collaborate with each other. Also to have women entrepreneurs who are willing to help and mentor yet to be entrepreneurs.
Kobylarry : that’s great, what are your thoughts on Entrepreneurship in Ghana?
Marian : Personally, I think Entrepreneurship in Ghana has taken a different level now; Ghana now has a lot of young promising entrepreneurs.
Gone are the days when people where scared to execute their ideas because they were shy and were afraid of being laughed at since their ideas weren’t what everybody else was doing. A practical examples are Anita-Pearl popularly known as The Female Painter (so much respect for you girl!) and The Atomic Waakye guy.< Kobylarry : what is the focus of your brand LuxQuisite ?
Marian : Being a brand that focuses on maximizing customer satisfaction and offering quality customer service.
Kobylarry : tell me about the challenges you face as an Entrepreneur ?
Marian : Currently one of my major challenge is having to combine my 8-5 job (corporate job) with my business. My workload as a corporate worker keeps increasing every single day making it kind of difficult having ample time for my business but I try my best by planning my time really well.
Another challenge has to do with some customers . Difficult customers that matter but you know what they say; the customer is always right.
Kobylarry : those words are very true, being an entrepreneur isn’t an easy task, where have you been gathering all of these entrepreneurial traits from ?
Marian : I naturally think I have the entrepreneurial traits in me which I believe I got from my parents (both mum and dad are entrepreneurs). As young as 12 years, I used to serve as an administrator at my dads office whenever I was on vacation and I also used to help mum out at her shop. I didn’t have the chance to roam about like others did whenever on vacation. My parents always got me occupied and busy which I was mostly annoyed about but didn’t have no choice. Today I recall all those times and realize it was for my own good.
Kobylarry : wow, that’s great! What are your final words for all entrepreneurs and startups, any additional comments ?
Marian : People should know that supporting other people to progress doesn’t dampen yours. Some entrepreneurs are just so self centered. I get it that we are all busy building our brands but doing stuff like sparing a minute or two out of your busy schedule to post another entrepreneurs shop opening, flash or clearance sales artworks on your page shouldn’t be so much of a work to do.
One last thing I’ll love to add…’Work in your own time zone’
This journey is not a rush..it’s no race. Don’t let other people’s progress or success intimidate you, your time will surely come.
The fact that your competitor or even a friend has a website now or has opened a shop now doesn’t mean you should also do so when you don’t have enough means to do so yet. Just continue working hard and FOCUS. I’m saying this out of personal experience.
Kobylarry : very powerful words there, thank you for your time,wishing LuxQuisite and Womenpreneur Ghana the best of luck!
Marian : thank you to kobylarry.