Our community is one of sharing knowledge and when I meet amazing people with amazing stories, I will highlight them. I often talk about taking risks and following your passions. Well here is a wonderful story from Sharon in her own words.
Sharon wanted a job where she “wouldn’t mind working 7 days a week, but still be excited to jump in the following Monday morning.” She had a well-paying job as the Head of Strategy of Guinness (Diageo) Ghana – where she served as the youngest member on the company’s Executive Team – but her passion and the things that excited her lay elsewhere. So, in 2014, Sharon left her role and decided to go into business for herself in an industry in which she had no experience. She launched Eya Naturals – a cosmetic company that manufactures and distributes quality natural hair and skin care products, using local African ingredients usually produced by women – at the end of 2014 to fuel her passion for making women look and feel good about themselves. Sharon started off by using a portion of her savings to establish and grow the company. She started small as a one-woman venture working out of her home. In addition to doing the administrative work involved in registering and starting a business in Ghana, she taught herself how to formulate, develop and test the products to comply with health and beauty standards. She even taught herself how to use Photoshop so she could edit the labels that were created for her by a creative agency.
Sharon launched Eya Naturals with five natural hair products using social media as the main marketing tool, stocking in a few natural hair salons and retailing through a couple of resellers in Accra. She admits that since starting this journey her initial surprise was how much time she needed to put in to get everything started and running initially. Having recently had a baby at the planning stages and working from home, free, quality time was very scarce. The biggest lesson learned so far has been the importance of hiring a team with an entrepreneurial mindset, as opposed to just technical know-how and experience. Since your structures as a startup are so fluid, you need people who will understand the need to being versatile as an employee and team member as well.
Sharon’s business is expanding. She now also co-owns a hair salon in Accra, which caters specifically to clients with natural hair. Eya Naturals currently has a presence in Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda and United States, with the ability to ship anywhere in the world. This is just the beginning for a young woman who decided to chase her dreams.