We spoke to Jessica Cue-Boateng, 22-year-old Fashion Designer based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Founder & CEO of JeliFashion. As a millennial entrepreneur, Jessica started making her designs in July 2013, officially launched her business in 2015, and has had a number of top African artists represent her amazing brand. Buckle up as Jessica shares her take on fashion, success and entrepreneurship.
Tell us about JeliFashion and what inspired you to start this African Fashion Brand?
Jessica: JeliFashion is a fashion brand that focuses on bringing two different worlds together in creating an exciting unity. The best of both European and African fashion are combined together. With JeliFashion I want to incorporate the tradition and history of the Ghanaian culture with the dressing standard we have in Europe. This is done by using the best of African wax print in its designs. The main reason for this concept is due to the fact that I myself am born in Europe with Ghanaian (Ghana, West Africa) heritage.
As a young female entrepreneur, what are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in the industry?
Jessica: As a young female entrepreneur I believe these are the main challenges you face:
- It’s a big world, making a statement and standing out is VERY important.
- Start-up capital – Being young and having a large sum of money to start up your business isn’t an easy thing to achieve. However, it’s not impossible.
- Also, having the right sets of friends and family will determine whether you can start something and hold onto what you have started. Positive friends will notice the struggle in the beginning and chip in, emotionally and/or financially. This will definitely help to keep you motivated!
As a young entrepreneur, you really learn to set priorities in order to make your brand successful. Having the right mindset is also one of the best things you can have. Though being an entrepreneur is not easy, you need to be determined to stay positive and believe that things will always work out.
“God did not bring me this far just to give up” – Jessica CEO, JeliFashion
When starting JeliFahsion, did you experience moments where you wanted to give up on your idea? If so, how did you manage to push yourself through?
Jessica: Haha, yes! Believe it or not. I experienced giving up once. It was at a time when I felt the toughness physically, financially and was hacked which made me lose a lot of social media followers. But I then told myself this: God did not bring me this far just to give up. Life is about conquering obstacles and seeing those obstacles as a lesson to gain more wisdom. I always told myself: “Jessica, you can do it”. Cheer up!
Jessica Cue-Boateng, Founder & CEO of JeliFahsion
Next to your business, do you have a full-time job or do you follow any course? If so, how do you manage to balance your time?
Jessica: Next to my business, I work part-time in hospitality while I study Fashion Design & Management. The key to balancing my activities is knowing HOW TO PLAN. As a young adult procrastination is what a lot of us deal with. But believe me, learning how to overcome that is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself.
What is the best business advice you have been given?
Jessica: The best business advice I have been given is: Read and study a lot about businesses that have failed and businesses that are successful. It will teach you the things you need to prevent in your business and the things that you should put more focus on.
What advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs on starting their own business?
Jessica: The advice I want to give and inspire other young female entrepreneurs with is to ‘never stop believing that you can do it.’ Also, work on that which you have. Expect bad moments, don’t be surprised by them. Let negativity motivate you to work harder and let positivity be your daily mindset. Nothing is impossible under the sun. YOU CAN DO IT!
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To find out more about JeliFashion, visit their website.