The use of beads jewellery and its accessories have become a way of life for most Ghanaians. Its uniqueness in adding meaning to modern fashion has helped bead making find its rightful place in the creative industry with many businesses springing up in many parts of the country.
Indeed, the making of beads into jewellery, bags, clutches, etc has become a lifetime employment for many Ghanaians, either as a part time or full-time job.
Some development analysts have said that such vocational skills should be supported and developed to absorb many of the country’s unemployed youth and graduates.
An industry player, Ms Habarata Daramani, said the sector had the potential to contribute to economic growth if it is regulated and organised to realise its fullest potential.
“The sector has prospects to contribute to economic growth because now wearing of beads has become part of the lifestyle of the Ghanaian and even visitors to the country. The necessary thing would be to organise and regulate the sector to derive the full benefits,” she said in an interview on April 3, 2017 in Accra.
Sharing her experiences, she said that she had the hope of working in the corporate world after university education but reality set in when she was employed by a company and posted to a different region where she struggled to pay for accommodation and other utilities from her meager salary.
She said about a year after the thorough reading of motivational and entrepreneurial books and attending a lot of seminars and conferences she felt motivated to start a business on her own.
“So far so good- it is picking up and I am able to make profit. I started with 50 cedis and sent them to friends and from there I started getting orders. I made sure they paid before I did it for them then along the lines my grandmother gave me some capital which I injected into the business,” she recalled.
Ms Daramani said she observed trends in the industry and added her own creation which came naturally.
“It’s all about creativity. Roughly in a week I am able to make 10. I had workers but they said it was difficult so i do everything myself. I also do participate in mini fairs and bazaars,” she said.
Ms Daramani said the attitudes of friends and family was sometimes demotivating since they don’t expect a graduate to undertake such a vocation as a lifetime job.
“Sometimes it’s heartbreaking hearing some comments but I am determined to make it. I take consolation in the fact that those who have made it big as entrepreneurs started from somewhere and are employing people,” she said.
She narrated her frustrations of getting funds to expand and alleged that funds available for youth entrepreneurship comes with some strings attached.
“The government should focus more on entrepreneurship. Our educational system should be tailored to meet current demands to make it meaningful for national development. Industries must set-up parallel to educational settings that will absorb graduates and train them into employable staff,” she said.
Like most sectors that have been casualties of trade liberalisation in Ghana, cheap beads from countries such as China have flooded the markets and which is seriously hurting the local business.
Habarata said the onus is on the government to act quickly to save the beads sector which has the potential to create new jobs.
“Chinese beads are cheaper but of low quality. Many people think the local ones are expensive although high quality. The government has to control so that things can be produced here and not imported. They are destroying our market,” she said.
She added that, “It takes somone who appreciates quality to tell it from the inferior imported ones from China.”
Her ultimate pleasure is the praises she receives from clients for all of her works.
“I get more satisfaction when I am being creative. I have never looked back after few years of working with beads,” she said.
She has since 2015 trained about 20 people and said she was happy about where she has gotten to.
Going forward, she seeks to train youth, particularly females in rural areas in the Northern Region, so they will have a source of livelihood and not think of coming to Accra.
She advised the young ones to follow their passion and learn to be creative.
Story by the Daily Graphic