Gwen Gyimah Addo is the Chief Executive Officer of the luxury hair brand The Hair Senta. Gwen is an entrepreneur who runs one of the most successful hair companies in Ghana. You wouldn’t guess how she started: by selling out of her car boot. Needless to say, she knows a thing or two about growing a business, and a brand.
So this week on The Entrepreneur’s Corner, we take some cues from Gwen Gyimah Addo on growing a successful Ghanaian business. The CEO of The Hair Senta (also former Miss Malaika participant) will also give us some tips on how to make your brand stand out.
Starting The Business
After the university, Gwen quickly found employment at the Standard Chartered Bank. She worked at the bank for 7 years in Credit Analysis. And as far as her job goes, Gwen wasn’t unhappy. She liked her work—and the money was fine. However, even while she worked, Gwen had a passion for hair. The idea to start a hair business came naturally.
Gwen traveled outside the country and used the opportunity to get her first stock of hair. However, that first investment … ended rather poorly. Gwen was unable to make back even half of the money that she had put into starting a business. Which brings us to a warning for all entrepreneurs, from Gwen; don’t just copy what you see, because the economy will hit you and the friends that you thought would buy will disappoint you. When you start a business, you need drive for when everything doesn’t go according to plan.
The second attempt came at a time when Gwen had grown in her journey as a hair entrepreneur. She had learnt more about her product, and the market that she wanted to sell to. She opened her first shop and threw herself into establishing her business. In the beginning though, she struggled to get people into the shop. It wouldn’t take long for Gwen to find her bearings and start on the course to making The Hair Senta what it is today.
Quitting Her Day Job
When Gwen’s first investment went badly, the fact that she had a job already helped to cushion the blow. It also helped that she had a passion for hair, and a brother who believed in her idea. She resolved to give her hair business another go and got things started.
Soon, Gwen realized that the business needed her. Her passion for her business at that point led to her leaving the job at the bank to focus on running the business full time. She worked to grow both the brand and the business, even selling hair out of her car boot on weekends.
Leaving the bank wan’t the hardest of decisions. However, Gwen had been there for a number of years and had built familiarity with her coworkers. It was going to be tough to leave them.
Putting A Face To The Brand
Gwen believed that there was a marketing opportunity that would be vital to the business. People hadn’t yet put a face to the brand. She didn’t just want to sell hair, she wanted people to think of hair and instantly think of The Hair Senta. The idea was to have people anywhere in the world to be able to identify the brand.
Gwen believes that social media was instrumental to establishing The Hair Senta as the brand that it is. You shouldn’t just post though, you have to find a way to make your content engaging and catch attention. Social media is a big part of what hair center is. In fact, if you walk into the company’s retail shop there’s an area set-up just for taking pictures.
By focusing on building a brand, there have also been opportunities for The Hair Senta to turn into a franchise. People get their own shops, and then create contracts with the company. They do this because of the sense of surety people have in the brand.
The Hair Senta is successful because Gwen Gyimah Addo had a passion for her business. She learned about the market and the product that she wanted to sell. She also also learnt the tools and strategies that she would need to be successful. Hopefully, you picked up a thing too.
You can find Hair Senta on Instagram (@hairsenta).
The Entrepreneur’s Corner is a weekly series that brings you business tips and insights from people with real-world business experience.
Source: Berla Mundi interviews C.E.O of Hair Senta, Gwen Gyimah. (YouTube: Berla Addardey).