If you are into traditional outfits especially African Prints then you will most likely know Nancy Boateng. She is the Creative Director of BernanDoll Collections, a female fashion brand that infuses African culture into creating beautiful unconventional bridal and ready to wear fashion staples. Nancy’s passion for creating beautiful outfits is so evident as she manages to churn new collections every season.
In this interview, she tells us about challenges she has faced while building a global brand, how she has overcome them amongst other things.
Can you briefly describe yourself and your business?
I am a God-fearing, young designer who is determined to change the concept of fashion with our traditional prints. My work includes designing high end gowns to simple everyday dresses. However, I specialize in detailing of gowns. I design for weddings, proms and all special events for women. My vision for my brand is to make each customer have an experience, and not just see it as a transaction.
What is it like being an entrepreneur, and why did you choose to be one?
It’s a lot challenging now than ever before. I recently got married and being a wife changes the entire game for my brand. Fashion designing is beyond a passion now, it’s my livelihood. I have to admit working by myself makes it a lot harder but I understand it’s only a part of the journey. I chose to be an entrepreneur because entrepreneurship chose me. It made the most sense to me.
What new innovation have you introduced to your business?
Mimicking contemporary American designs with African print is what I set out to achieve with Bernan Doll and so far, it has been great.
What will you say is responsible for your success so far?
Consistency is definitely the key.
In your opinion, would you say that there are any unique challenges that female entrepreneurs face?
I believe women have some advantage in the fashion design field as entrepreneurs but juggling varying responsibilities daily might be where the conflict might come from.
What values and principles have helped you so far?
Staying true to my faith and being original with my designs.
Why did you decide to go into this particular line of business?
I SIMPLY LOVE SEWING. Once I started, I never stopped and from a hobby it morphed into a passion and finally a profession.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and what’s kept you going?
Being respected for my work, and not focusing on pricing. Everyone wants a discount for every custom order. In the past, I would always give discounts but looking back now it was only hurting my brand because I still did work regardless of how much discount I give. So now I tell people my prices and if they cannot afford it, it is perfectly fine. There is always someone else who will pay attention to your work and worth.
What is your five-year plan for your business?
Open a big location with at least 10 employees and a sewing academy to teach others.
What do upcoming female entrepreneurs need to do to be successful in this path?
As a Christian, I will say put God first in all things. I also think they should be optimistic towards the future. Always have a contingency plan for every project and ALWAYS STAY TRUE TO WHY YOU STARTED YOUR BRAND. Most importantly understand every set back is a form of a learning experience.
The LLA Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could possibly be featured.