Ken Sarpong: Meet the 26-Year-Old Ghanaian Jeweller Who Started His Business With Zero Capital
- Ghanaian entrepreneur Ken Sarpong opens up about how he started a jewellery business with no capital
- In an exclusive interview with the YEN.com.gh fashion editor, the University of Ghana graduate shares his trade secrets with young entrepreneurs
- Ken Sarpong talks about general challenges faced by most jewellers, especially those online operating business
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You do not need capital to start a business. Ghanaian jeweller Ken Sarpong has refuted all claims by unemployed young graduates who have shelved their big dreams due to a lack of money.
Born and raised in Accra, Ghana, the twenty-six-year-old Presbyterian Boys Senior School graduate has a thriving jewellery shop with celebrity clients, including musicians Gyakie and King Promise and business mogul Dr Osei Kwame Despite.
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Founded in 2019, the chief executive officer of KS Jewellery, a made-in-Ghana brand that specializes in the 2 C's, jewellery customization, and cleaning shares.
In an exclusive and exciting interview, Ken Sarpong shares his entrepreneurship journey with YEN.com.gh fashion editor Portia Arthur.
What is the inspiration behind the brand name?
Choosing a brand is as important as the product and services you offer. Following in the footsteps of successful fashion entrepreneurs like Adolf "Adi" Dassler, the UG graduate used the abbreviation of his name to present his brand primarily to brand uniqueness and exclusivity.
Adolf "Adi" Dassler was the German cobbler and entrepreneur who founded the German sportswear company Adidas.
Ks stands for my name. I wanted something people could easily mention and remember. My store is an online shop, though I do meet customers to build rapport from time to time.
Since it is an online shop for now, I can confidently say I escaped the high capital needed to start a jewelry shop in Ghana, looking at the price of shop rentals in prime areas today.
From our workshop side, balancing high-priced supplies since I wasn’t dealing directly with the main suppliers and offering reasonable prices to my clients so as not to scare them off in case they wanted to try my products for the 1st time.
Ken Sarpong shares the struggles of operating an online business
One advantage of having a physical shop is that customers can easily walk in to make inquiries and establish trust in the brand. Sadly, due to scammers on social media, some startups hardly break even in their first months of operation.
Initially, the profit margin was low. So I hardly made profits in my first year as I had to plow back profits to expand my capacity.
Secondly, loss of trust from strangers because it was an online shop and they had to pay first to confirm their orders.
Thirdly, not have enough capital to increase the growth of my business in terms of packaging and branding.
Also, damage to jewelry by customers to misinformation, etc. It’s not easy dealing with customers sometimes as they refuse to follow the care instructions. Lastly, combining business with school.
Is Ken Sarpong using his tertiary education to earn a living now?
Sometimes the course you study at the university can affect your future career decisions. Little did he know that mastering the art of marketing and customer satisfaction would equip him to set up his venture after graduation.
One day I was passing by in town and came across a guy selling jewelry. I loved his work and wanted to market him for a fee but he couldn’t afford my services.
So we had to strike a deal where I buy from him & sell it at my own price. That’s how K's jewelry started. After a year or so, I realized his deal wasn’t too good so I had to meet the suppliers myself to be able to offer fast, quality, and reasonably priced jewelry.
How did KS Jewelry become popular among the youth?
Creating a niche is crucial to reach out to the right customers to stay in business. As a young unmarried business owner, Ken targeted millennials interested in fashion and trendy styles.
My dream was to go into marketing. Marketing small businesses that want to gain local competitive advantage and global recognition, however my passion for creating timeless jewelry pieces came after graduating from the University of Ghana.
My target was different. I started making customized necklaces and they are the best sellers to date.
How much capital do you need to establish a jewellery store in Ghana?
Money is not necessarily the important thing when it comes to establishing a new business. Creativity, determination, and patience are the core driving factors that every entrepreneur must possess.
Ks has grown as a luxury jewelry brand and I am proud of my efforts. I literally started with O cedis as my first order was pre-ordered. So that’s the money I started working with.
Ken Sarpong reveals his unique selling points.
After graduating from the University of Ghana, Ken furthered his education at the Ghana Institute of Management of Professional Studies to study law.
I love building rapport with my clients. Referrals work faster than any advertisement, trust me. And it lessens the workload. Also, I think my internet presence attracts my clients as well (branding).
What were the popular wedding ring trends in 2022?
Couples ready to take a leap of faith and tie the knot must know the type of wedding rings they want because the choices can be overwhelming.
Wedding rings are a representation of a lifetime commitment so durability is the first thing to look out for. A metal choice that is very durable( gold preferably). Then also the ring size. Also, choose a ring that can be tweaked to fit later in life.
Generally, Gold. Gold is the most common and classic choice for wedding and engagement rings—and for good reason. From white gold to yellow to rose gold, this metal provides you with many options. With the diamonds to top up.
How does one order a wedding ring or customized jewellery for a loved one outside Accra?
Gifting a loved one jewellery, including earring sets, bracelets, and necklaces has become a common fashion trend. For couples, buying a wedding ring is one of the most significant purchases you would make for your wedding, and you have to get the right design and size.
We model perfection in every piece. A wedding ring represents much more than a ring so we put into precision the customer's desires.
We do not work with assumptions when it comes to treasure pieces such as wedding rings. A measuring tape can help to get the accurate size to avoid future adjustments and delay for the occasion.
Budgeting for a wedding ring in Ghana
Generally, wedding rings account for more than three per cent of the couple's budget. After the plush wedding, wedding rings will constantly remind you of your sacred vows and the beautiful memories created on that day.
The glamorous type of ring, elegance is the spice of life. Gold x diamonds combo.
Depending on the type of metal and stone they want, be it pure silver or gold and either with zirconia or diamond stones will determine how large their budget should be.
Silver with zirconia is relatively cheaper but durable as compared to gold & diamond pieces.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Do not give up. Sometimes the support is not even there but the motivation you need is just you. It’s like the first year of business is to test you, if you’re really ready for the journey ahead.
Secondly, network and respect people as you never know where your help is going to come from.
Thirdly, be creative and innovative. Take advantage of modern technology such as the internet, everything is online now.
From suppliers to delivery services. Last but the most important you need God.
Meet The Ghanaian Photographer And Live Wedding Blogger Who Started His Business With A Borrowed Camera
Previously, YEN.com.gh wrote about Theophilus Arthur, a Ghanaian photographer and live wedding blogger, explaining how he earned a degree in photography.
The young businessperson explains how to learn photography by using friends and occasionally renting cameras.
Ghanaian actress Naa Ashorkor was thanked by Theophilus Arthur for letting him serve as her photographer.
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