2 year ago I decided to quit my job and start an online business in Ghana of all places. I still remember when I told my family about the business, and if you knew me then you would think I was crazy too. In London I had a good job and stable pay and I gave it all up to start a custom t-shirt printing business. My mum said ” you are an accountant and after all that, you want to stop and print t-shirts.?” To make things even worse I had no idea about graphic design or t-shirt printing. To be honest I thought I was crazy too at some point. I mean all I got was all that was wrong about Ghana, people never tell you or focused on what was right about it. Even my closest friends tried to talk me out of it, telling me about Dumsor and corruption and the list goes on and on.
But there was one person who actually thought the idea could work and went out of her way to show me. My wife. She had been on the Ahaspora group and always spoke highly of the group and conned me to join. Lol conned because she signed me up. All of a sudden I realized that I was not alone in my belief for Ghana. I have read emails from people who are in Ghana facing harsher conditions but still have the firm belief that its the place to be.
I have seen members recommend online business to each other to make the journey easier. That alone made me sit up and think.
In January 2016, I came home for holiday and thank God I did because from there my reality changed. Don’t get me wrong the Dumsor and all that was a bitch (pardon my french). I saw how much people were willing to give it a shot.
They were not out to change the world but just to bring some small confront from their life abroad. Amidst all the confusion and frustrations, I found out something, people had adapted, not accepted but adapted. I met one person who told me, we all want it (Ghana) to be better but we cannot do it standing on the out side. We all must do our part. From that point, I decided not to take what the radio said seriously and focused more on the people who were actually make the best of the situation that they were in.
When I came back to London, I started the business full swing, got the website up and running and setting up the factory, then it came to staff. I never know why people did not trust each other so much until I put out an advertisment from a production guy and a designer. I decided to come with an open mind because I had been burned before working with my fellow Ghanaian. My first hire was a complete disaster,the guy took money from me and run off. Last I heard he was a Brazil and asking for my forgiveness. The second was just bad business because we just did not see things the same. He was such a small thinker and really did not believe in the online printing company. I found that all he did was just stereotype, saying stuff like “oh Ghanaians will not go for it or ah this will never work in Ghana” there was no proof of that though.
At this point I was at my wits end but decided to give it one more shot. I allowed the next person who came for the interview to interview me. Yeah crazy right!!! But I thought to myself how do you build trust, sell the dream. So I did my best and a few minutes later there was chemistry and ideas and bingo, I found a professional willing to work with me to build the business. We found out a lot about each other and I even took a lot of his ideas on board. To date I ask him his thoughts before I do anything. Believe it or not, some months they don’t take their wages because we have not sold enough merchandise rather, they suggest it and I check my stock everything is intact. Obviously its still early in the day but I have a good feeling about them. I think its important to have faith in people no matter what you hear or believe, they just might surprise you.
Just as quickly as we started to my surprise, we started getting orders. That alone made me feel like “woooooooooow.” From all over the country. we have fulfilled order from Accra to Tamale and even Wa. We have merchandise contracts with Ghana think, Tedx and all the bar camp events. And more visit to our website.
So I am sure you are wondering what exactly the site does, if not I will tell you anyway. www.customandprint.com
is a customization platform to design merchandise for you,n your friends, family, church and business from the comfort of your home or office and have it delivered to you without hustle. All the design tools are there so you don’t need expensive software, plus you can use it even if you have no design experience. You could also just buy designs we come out with month to month. Thats all I will say, I am sure you will try it out yourself.