Naana Tennachie Yankey is a promising young designer who is quickly becoming a force in Ghanaian and Canadian fashion. Commonly known for her brand, Coccolily, she continues to demonstrate exceptional talent not only in her designs, but also in the fashion business.
Her entrepreneurial flair was doubly emphasized when she succeeded in a single-handed expansion of her brand’s product lines in two short years. Coccolily, which started off as just a clothing label in 2009, now counts for much more in the business. In 2011, she introduced her new line of luxury women’s handbags and then added yet another new line of cosmetics later that same year.
She had a few things to share when I caught up with her for a chat.
Learn your craft:
Although fashion had always been a part of her life growing up, Naana’s initial intention was not to end up with a career in the industry. Like many other little girls of her time, she hoped to become a lawyer or doctor in future. However, during her studies as a business major in the university, she took an internship that rekindled a love for the art she had long forgotten about. After her experience, she began to delve more into fashion as her passion for it grew tremendously. She decided to take some time out to learn her craft properly and soon she got better at it.
What you put in is what you get out:
Everyone who has achieved an amount of success in life will tell you that you need to work hard to achieve success, and Naana is no different. She stresses on hard work and great focus as essential to the success and health of any business.
When she started out at first, she had no extensive background or education in fashion. Some of her skills were gained while interning for Marc Jacobs during her undergrad years. Upon graduation, she moved to Montreal, Canada, to pursue fashion design at the Academy of Arts and Design and gained further experience working under Eve Gravel in Québec afterwards.
She stressed that the same process applied in every other situation. When you want something, you have to put in the effort it requires to get it.
Be efficient with your resources:
Naana also shared on the absolute importance of learning to be efficient with whatever resources are available to you in a given moment. Many people make the huge mistake of thinking they need large sums of money or capital in order to start a business. But the truth is you can actually start a business with very little. You only have to learn to be very efficient with the little resources you have and build on them.
She said, “If you are inefficient with 10 cedis worth of capital, you cannot be efficient with a 100 cedis and if you cannot do very well with a 100 cedis, you certainly cannot be exceptional with a million!”
Keep learning new skills:
Naana’s demonstration of solid branding skills over the past few years continues to shine through her success with Coccolily and the creation of yet another brand called The Fashion Preacher, which aims to project another dimension to her fashion prowess. This set to launch in the coming year.
She attributed all of her successes so far to God’s bountiful blessings and was quick to add the importance of putting God first in everything we did if we wanted to have fulfilment and satisfaction.
The Coccolily products are available in both stores of the Boutique 1861 in Montreal, myasho.com and the brand’s own online store. Visit www.coccolily.com to learn more about Naana and her latest collections, including her SS2013 collection, “Into the Exotic”, which showed at the Ghana Fashion & Design Week held recently in Accra.
Photo Credit: Coccolily
About the Author: Francesca Andoh is a style and career writer for The Savvy Madam. You can read more from her at http://francescaandoh.blogspot.com.