“We wanted to create some form of a legacy together.”
Husband-and-wife turned business partners Hetty and Papa Boachie-Yiadom say after finishing university they felt like they wanted to start a business together. The pair met during their first week of university and got married in 2014.
“We wanted to create some form of a legacy together,” says Hetty, adding that working together is great, because she gets to create something “with her best friend”.
They weren’t sure what form that legacy would take and initially started importing Eygptian shirts. However, that business didn’t do so well. The pair then realised the way to go was to create a business that was an authentic and true expression of who they are.
Before they started their African print business, the couple were both bankers. “We were meant to be climbing the corporate ladder,” says Papa. But reading some business self-help books drove their passion to begin their own business.
“For me, I think I’m a natural-born entrepreneur,” says Hetty. The pair runs a successful boutique together: the P&H Boutique, stocking African print clothes.
Hetty says while African print clothing has always been around, Papa and her “have revolutionised the way people shop for African print”. She says they have managed to move the market for African print into shopping malls, making it more accessible for more people.
Papa goes on to say that for them entrepreneurship is important, because when it is done right, it holds that promise of a “great life for many, instead of [just] a good life”.
The pair are also involved in mentorship programmes to help other aspiring entrepreneurs. Hetty says this is important to them because when they started out, they didn’t have mentors at so they mostly relied on books.
“Now that we’ve grown our business to the point we’re at, we think it’s important to give back.” Hetty says, adding that they want to help others to “build sustainable businesses.”
The couple thinks that given the current economic situation South Africa faces, entrepreneurship is important to help with economic growth. Hetty works with women from rural areas, mentoring them with the lessons they’ve learnt to make a success of their business.
“You start to see that we need to give back, especially all the different things that we’ve learnt. That’s what we hope to pass on through our mentoring,” says Papa.