No wonder the superstition that twins have supernatural powers. At the sight of their works, one cannot but shout “wooow!” in astonishment. They have jewellery made of nicely stringed beads for necklaces, earrings, bracelets and floral hair pins. But interestingly, they never had any formal training in this craft. Read about how it all started.
Twin-sisters Rosemary Kakari Mensa (the first of the twins) and Rosemond Kakari Mensa were born in Prestea, Huni Valley, to Mr Samuel Kakari Mensah (deceased) and Ms Monica Owusu. They are the last of six children. They had their Junior High School education at Bosomtwe Preparatory School and proceeded to the Sekondi College in Takoradi for their secondary education.
Afterwards, the identical twins pursued their higher education at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) and completed in 2013. However, at age five, they lost their father, and so their mother had to play both parents.
How her mother managed
Taking care of six children, especially, with twins among, was a torrid job for Madam Monica Owusu. She had to do multiple jobs to be able to keep up with the demands of her children. She doubled as a seamstress and a food vendor. In time, the stress of both jobs began to take a toll on her, and so she had to, at a point, drop the sewing and focus more on the food selling.
As the last born, Rosemond and Rosemary were the only ones left at home, so they took an interest in helping their mother with her trade. Realising her children’s interest, she decided to help them learn a vocation.
How they learned their skill
While in the university, their mother decided to take them through sewing lessons anytime they came for vacation. Then, when school reopened, their mother would occasionally send them pieces of already cut fabrics to sew and wear.
Well, they narrate to the B&FT that initially, they had little interest in the vocation. But they had to do it anyway to make their mother happy, not knowing it would serve them a useful purpose in future. The interesting thing is that anytime they sewed those fabrics and wore them on campus, friends around them became so much interested. So, in no time, they began selling fabrics to friends on campus and even offering to sew them.
The jewellery business
It is interesting how the whole jewellery business started: There was this jewellery shop close to campus where they used to shop. On one occasion, at the beginning of the semester, lecturers went on strike, and the eager-to-learn twins used the free time the strike provided to be visiting the jewellery shop, where friendship had developed between them and the to the woman who owned the shop.
During one of their visit to her shop, they realised the woman was unhappy. Beside her was a ‘Ghana must go bag’ filled with faulty jewellery. The woman was counting her cost. Upon seeing her, they became troubled and told her they would fix the jewellery for her, even though they had no knowledge of what they wanted to do.
They took the bag of jewellery to the hostel and began working on it. Surprisingly, they fixed all of them and returned them to the woman.
Imagine how happy the shop owner was. However, the twins were more joyful as their benevolence helped them to learn another trade.
How it transformed into a business idea
Rosemary and Rosemond always dressed in their accessories. They recall that during their national service, they sometimes got back from work without their necklaces. The reason? Someone had become interested and had immediately offered to buy them. They then realised they should take it seriously and produce in larger quantities.
First, they registered their business with the abbreviations of their names, Marymondz Creationz. And with just GH?50, they bought some beads and other necessary materials. The stage was then set for full-scale production.
They made two sets of jewellery from the beads and sold them at GH?80 each! In fact, they said, the original price of the items was GH?50 each, but the buyer decided to buy them for GH?80, as she was so pleased with the appealing appearance of the jewellery. At this point, they were confident to use it as their occupation. But they faced a challenge.
One of the main difficulties the twins had to grapple with was how to convince their family and friends to accept their occupation. Both are very brilliant and everybody who knows them expected them to find a ‘well-deserved’ job in the corporate world.
Countless times they were told by well-meaning relatives and friends that they would be wasting their mother’s hard-earned investment in them doing that trade.
“Some people who knew us from infancy and knew how we performed in school were very disappointed in the occupation we chose for ourselves. They didn’t understand why we chose to do this job rather than finding what they call a better job.”
Another challenge they face that is closely related to the above is that people do not have much respect for people in this vocation. They think it is for the uneducated in the society.
“Sometimes people think those in this profession are not well educated. I remember, once, I had an order from a bride-to-be. When I went to deliver the products, they told me to sit somewhere and wait for them. Well, I sat there for some time, and they sent someone to come for the product.
Surprisingly, the gentleman knew me from the university. So when he saw me, he said in a loud tone: “Ei UCC twins”. Then he asked who was bringing the product. [Apparently thinking she can’t be the one because she is a graduate].
“Then I told her I am the one. When the family realised I was a graduate doing this work, they started being nice to me,” Rosemond narrated.
How they market their products
Marymondz Creationz has, among their products, beaded jewellery for necklaces, bracelets, earrings, floral hair pins, millineries; and fashion accessories such as bags, purses, and shoes decorated with African prints.
They sell these products through agents in Accra, Nkawkaw, Kumasi, Tarkwa, Takoradi, and Konongo. They also have people who take orders and sell in the US and UK.
They have also created a website and social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram, where customers can make orders.
How they stand out
The twins are aware of the plethora of pieces of jewellery and the other fashion accessories in the market. So they make sure that their products come with a touch of excellence that will distinguish them from the others. For them, their products are tailored to those who love “unique artistic work”.
How education has contributed
The twins believe that education has helped them in managing their business in style.
Another advantage education has offered them, they say, is the way they can relate to their customers. They have excellent customer relations that endear them to their clients.
Marymondz Creationz has the vision of establishing a fashion and handiworks school in the next five years, that will offer training to young people who want to learn a trade.
How government can support the sector
Accessing funds to expand has always been a major challenge for many businesses. Interest rates of commercial banks are so high that start-up businesses cannot afford.
So Rosemary and Rosemond want the government to set up a fund for the craft and handiworks sector that entrepreneurs in the sector can tap into at very cheap rates that can be paid over the long term.
Advice to the youth
Rosemary and Rosemond want young people to take inspiration from their story and not look down on any job. Young people, they say, must follow their dreams and not always allow others to determine what they should want to be in future.