Beads designing with a difference
WOMEN EXCLUSIVE with: Georgina Quaittoo
Some people take inspiration form the profession of others to choose their careers but for Mrs. Beatrice Serwah Tosu, Executive Director of Perisseia Beads situated at Tema Community Four, it was a dream come true.
Although he trained as a secretary at Accra Polytechnic, due to her desire to be an entrepreneur, coupled with her innate passion for the crafts, she was further whipped up when she saw in a dream land, a thrash of beads being poured in front of her.
“I woke up suddenly and knew God was giving me an idea to pick the beads from the thrash and make money out of it,” Mrs Tosu told the Spectator Women Exclusive when contacted last Tuesday at her residence in Tema Community Four.
The dream was a source of inspiration to her and immediately she decided to pursue her dreams. Interestingly, ten years earlier, she used her mothers waste beads for a necklace and earrings while she was a student at Anfoega Secondary School in the Volta region. She therefore, started looking for her own beads to re-arrange them.
Surprisingly, her friends admired her beads and this encouraged her to start selling them.
“Around that time, Ghanaians had developed interest in beads and they preferred that to using gold ornaments and this helped me penetrate the market by crating all sorts of designs for people,” she said beaming with smiles.
Initially, she moved from office to office until the then government stopped this practice so she used the proceeds from the sale of beads to open a small container close to her residence. With time, she realized she had to expand her business.
She then started selling her products on campuses, shopping malls, salons, craft centres and also took part in trade fair exhibitions both locally and internationally. She designs beads for all occasions, especially bridal accessories such as necklaces, beaded bridal sandals, shoes, bridal bouquets, tiara, gloves and veil.
She also designs pencil cases, shopping bags, flower vases and brooms for flowers.
Other products are beaded assorted earrings, bracelets, rings anklets, assorted necklaces for all occasions, flower vases, flowers slippers, shoes, phone–holders, (an ornament on the phone with beads) and watches. She uses locally-made materials such as wood, glasses, stones and seeds for her beads.
To expand her horizon, she started training others to impart her skills to them. So far, since she entered the bead industry eight years ago, she has trained over 50 people, including men, the skilled, unskilled, Polytechnic and University students.
Through the Association of Ghanaian Industries and the Ghana Export Promotion Council, she has been travelling extensively, some on her own both nationally and internationally to take part in exhibitions and fairs while at the same time learning additional skills to improve upon her business. She has been to South Africa, Dubai and covered almost the whole of West Africa including Nigeria Benin, Cote D’Ivoire, Togo and Sierra Leone.
So far, she said, the business has been good but her main challenge is raising enough capital to move the business from this level to another to train more people who intend to work with their skills to cater for their families.
Her intention is to select some Junior and Senior High Schools students to give them extensive training in bead designing, so that immediately the students complete their schools they will not loiter about but be self-employed while awaiting their results before they move to their next academic level.
Mrs. Tosu who also trained as a beautician on part-time basis also dresses brides and offers salon services to people. Since she started, she has dressed over 50 brides. Additionally, she intends to train women in churches at subsidized rates for them to get employable skills in order to take care of their families. She is very innovative and this has helped her to stay on the market.
”That is the more reason why those who have already been trained need to come back for refresher courses to get new ideas since things keep changing”, she advised young trainees.
To improve on her skills, she went for further training in South Africa to learn weaving and to Nigeria for beading flower vases. Her uniqueness has to do with her innovation in her designs and styles.
Mrs Beatrice Serwa Tosu says the beads industry is very promising with a brighter future “for those in the other parts of the world are getting familiar with it”.
“Those who do not design well should add a little bit of diligence to it and do it to suit the majority’s taste to keep the business.
Asked whether beading involves a lot of time, she said it takes about 15 minutes to finish up a sting of beads with earrings for a package, whereas weaving takes about four hours to complete. In a day about 20 strings of beads can be produced.
“How do you feel as a bead designer?” asked The Spectator Women Exclusive? In reply she said, “I feel very fulfilled because I’m doing what I was born to do, contributing my quota to national development by helping to reduce poverty in homes”.
Her most fulfilled moment is when transferring her knowledge to someone else.
“If people have jobs to do, they will not think of travelling outside the country,” she said, Beads can be used as accessories and is suitable for all occasions such as weddings, engagement, outdoorings, anniversaries, church services, funerals and also suitable for the office.
The Spectator Page: 19 Saturday, August 14, 2010