It is often said that for a business to succeed, it must solve a problem. For many entrepreneurs, the secret to their success is their ability to identify a problem and develop a solution for it.
For the Chief Executive Officer of Hair Senta, Mrs Gwyneth Gyimah Addo, it was her lack of natural hair that led her to start her hair business.
In 2009, she started selling 100 per cent human hair extensions on a very small scale from the trunk of her car while working at a high-profile bank in the country, and later resigned in 2012 to fully commit to the business.
Eleven years down the lane, Hair Senta has grown into a global brand, with several awards. The company is now the market leader in the hair extensions business and a brand that is relevant across the continent.
Taking her turn on the ‘Engine room’ series on the Springboard, Your virtual University, she said unlike many other women, she did not have a lot of hair.
She said that thought led here to create a product for people who were not blessed with fine natural hair.
“I see hair as very special and the first thing I looked at when I saw any girl was the amount of hair they had and this was what led me into the hair business.
“So my lack made way for my gain. I did not have something that I wanted and out of that, I was able to create something that I am enjoying today.
She said getting into the hair business was not just about any business, but a need that she had to fulfil for herself and other women like her.
“The bedrock was to solve the confidence problem for women who did not have lots of natural hair,” she stated.
Meeting a need
Ms Gyimah Addo noted that when one’s business was about meeting a need they could identify with, the chances of success was higher.
“I have a philosophy known as the gap and the need philosophy. As entrepreneurs, we are flying drones all the way up and as we fly them, we identify gaps and when we come to the ground, in as much as we identify those gaps, it is necessary that we align those gaps with the need and that is where the problem is.
“So we will identify gaps, which in this case are opportunities, but the opportunity has to connect with the need. Other than that, it is just going to be something that is going to be admired but you are not going to get the engagements that you need,” she advised.
As someone who comes from an entrepreneurial family, she said the seeds of entrepreneurship were sown in her at a very early age.
She said her dad, who is an entrepreneurial legend, inspired and pushed them at a very early age to believe in themselves.
“When I started work at the bank, everyone was surprised because here was the girl who started trading at a young age. I started trading when I was 10 years old, I will put milk powder in bread, tie them up and take them to school and sell. Anytime my dad brought some dress that didn’t fit me, I would take it to school and sell.
“So earlier, I was somebody who was always passionate about trading. So while working at the bank, I knew there was a greater calling that I had to pursue,” she stated.
Learning so much from the bank
Ms Gyimah Addo said she loved her work at the bank as she learnt so much from there.
She said one of the reasons why the Hair Senta had been a success was because she leveraged a lot of her experience from the bank.
“Customer service is the way it is due to the training I had in corporate banking and that served as a great foundation for my business,” she pointed out.
She said although her experience from corporate banking helped her business, it was not a requirement for a successful business.
“Our walks are different and what we get exposed to shapes what we become. There are people that have built successful businesses who didn’t work in corporate organisations.
“So basically, it depends on the individual, your mindset, your disposition, your purpose, what do you want for yourself and who are the people that inspire you and equip you with the skills needed to succeed,” she noted.