March 10, 2019
A well-tailored kaftan, according to Enoch Aworo, is a fine balance between the cut and neat stitching.
While his philosophy may be subjective, this is how he’s built his men’s wear business; making simple yet classy shirts. “When I started making kaftans, there were a lot of things I didn’t know how to do, like to how to fix a collar or even make good buttonholes,” shared Aworo. “So I kept the shirts very simple, sticking to the basics and paying attention to detail.”
Growing up, Enoch had an eye for good fashion, but he had never considered tailoring as a career path. Instead, he had always wanted to work in a bank, and promptly after graduating from Ashesi landed a job in the financial industry.
“I had always wanted to work in the bank, mostly because I thought it was a cool place to work,” he shared. “However, after working there for a while, the monotony got to me, and I realized I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life.”
Leaving the banking industry, Enoch started to explore new things. Encouraged by a friend, he picked up shirt-making, serving as an apprentice to a local tailor. Unfortunately, his early attempts were woeful at best and were let go by the tailor. “The initial setback was disappointing yet I decided to stick to it and started making shirts for myself,” he shared. “Soon, I was getting compliments for my shirts and requests started coming in. This is how it started.”
Luckily for Enoch, there was not a lack of inspiration or talent around him; his late grandad was an award-winning shirt-maker who had built experience working in Ghana and in the United Kingdom. Invariably, all his children, Enoch’s aunts, and uncles knew a lot about making good fashion, so he picked their brains whenever he could.
Fittingly he called the company Grandpa. Two years down the line, built solely on referrals and word-of-mouth marketing, Enoch has grown a steady clientele, expanding from just himself to nearly 20 tailors and delivering close to 60 kaftans every week.
“In the beginning how far I could go was not that clear because we started with just one machine and just one person,” he shared. “But as orders kept coming in, we started expanding, hiring tailors and establishing a workflow.”
Like many entrepreneurs, Enoch, who studied Business Administration at Ashesi, picked up many lessons along the way, often falling on some of the classes he took from his time in college.
“Courses like Financial Accounting, Business Management, and Entrepreneurship soon made sense, as gradually opportunities came for me to chip them in,” he shared “I’ve also had to learn how to manage my team and relate with customers. It’s a daily learning experience.”
Gradually Enoch is working his way up the fashion industry ladder in Ghana making clothes for a wide range of customers, from the everyday person to celebrities.
Today, he spends more time dealing with clients, managing his growing team of tailors and figuring out how to scale the business to service more orders.
“When we started, I was thinking about creating a luxury brand to suit very specific tastes and preferences,” he shared. “However, as we kept growing I realized I we could build capacity to cater to a wider customer base. So we’re aiming at becoming a production house where we can sew for different brands across the world. At this scale, we can also double as an institute to train people to sew, helping create employment for the youth.”
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