One of the key reasons I believe small businesses have a hard time growing in Ghana is that we have to build the entire value chain the business needs to survive. Anything you leave out will become a roadblock for you along the way. The cost of import duty, excessive taxation, the lengthy upfront rent payments, ridiculous 20-30% bank interest rates assuming you qualify, upfront payments to suppliers since they barely have any capital in their businesses, the need to train almost every employee since our educational systems fail us in many ways and ridiculous cost of shipping anything out of this country are all reasons businesses remain small and die after a few years.
When I started the business, I never thought about opening a retail shop. However, after over a year of not finding a consistently reliable place to sell my products, I knew that was the only way out. A lot of places charged in dollars and with the speed at which the Dollar was rising against the Cedi made it a risky investment, but so is everything else. Location was important to me. I wasn't familiar with Accra since I'd only been back for a little over a year, so I needed a place people could easily find. There were no skincare retail shops in the malls so I thought that would be an interesting approach to try. I visited the few malls around Accra and realized the cost and sizes of retail space in the malls were not made for small businesses. During my search, I walked into the A&C mall's office and found out about their plan to expand the mall and add some smaller hallway stalls. I put down a month deposit, while I spent the next 6 months it took them to get ready, to save my required 1 year upfront rent. Just when I thought I had saved enough money, I was reminded of 17.5% VAT on top of the rent, in dollars! Joe Addo designed my first retail space. The first NAYA Naturals skincare retail space was officially opened on November 8th, 2015. I was so tired, broke, and mentally drained by the whole process, I didn't even take time to celebrate.