Grace Amey-Obeng is one of the best-known women entrepreneurs in Ghana. She built her business as a response to the rising trend of skin bleaching among African women in the 1980s and 1990s. She launched her product line, Forever Clair, which promoted the beauty of black African skin at a time when many of the competing product lines were selling very popular, but dangerous, skin bleaching formulas; including soaps and body cream.
Unable to access any bank loans, she got some capital from her family to set up her first beauty clinic. Today, her clinic has eight branches in Ghana and exports its products to Switzerland, the United Kingdom and several West African countries including Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Togo. The business currently averages $8 million in annual turnover.
In 1999, Grace set up the FC Beauty College which, to date, has trained up to 5,000 young people, most of them women. She currently has more than 250 trainee staff engaged in hairdressing and beauty therapy.
Grace Amey-Obeng telling her success story and experience
For a business she started with only $100, Grace has achieved tremendous success promoting an idea and brand that may have been very unpopular at the time. She was brave and determined to create a special niche that catered to the unique needs of black African women who needed to preserve or return to their natural skin colour.
We can hardly find another ideal Smallstarter success story like Grace’s. Hers is the creative and focused journey from pennies to millions. Anyone with the right mix of passion, determination and focus can achieve this feat too!
Are you still depressed about not having enough capital to kick off that great business idea of yours? Start small! Slow and steady always finishes the race!
Also see The Ghanaian woman who made millions fighting skin-bleaching, a BBC interview with Grace Amey Obeng.
Check out how to make money in Africa.