Fashion today has evolved beyond looking good to making others feel good. Apparel and footwear companies that champion a cause are more desirable to consumers who want to make a difference down to their smallest purchase.
Toms is a brand world famous for its fashion philosophy. This philosophy has earned Toms, the tagline, “The One for One Company”. Starting out with gifting a pair of shoes to a child who cannot afford one for each pair of Toms purchased, this company with a cause continues to its expand its product line as well as the good done in the community. Today, product purchases can help provide water for a week in communities where this is lacking.
Lemlem is another brand making a case for the social entrepreneur. Launched in 2008 by Ethiopian born super model, Liya Kebede, this clothing line helps preserve the art of traditional weaving in Ethiopia. By empowering a community of women weavers and embroiders, quality hand-spun and woven clothing is made and sold in stores worldwide.
For jewelry and accessories company, Same Sky, the goal is to lift several women in Rwanda out of poverty. Every purchase is championed to bring opportunity and hope to this women while adorning women around the world with hand beaded jewelry. Currently the company employs over 85 female artisans in cooperatives that double as support groups for these women.
Chaste Clothing, an apparel company based in Accra, Ghana is tailored along the lines of the social entrepreneurs, but this time with a different spin. This new breed of entrepreneurs are called “SpiritPreneurs”. Their motivation for going into business surpasses satisfying a need and being rewarded for it. For a SpiritPreneur, business is a tool to change the world,
The company was started when founder and creative director, Daniel Affum Odonkor was a student at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi. In his 3rd year of studying Building Technology, he developed a strong passion for entrepreneurship and business which lead him to fishing out problems and finding solutions for them.
One of such problems was the realization that every semester students were in the habit of purchasing Chinese-made imported flat shoes (plimsolls) which lasted for only a semester. Odonkor took it upon himself to talk to a group of cobblers working close to his hostel. The idea was to produce durable and appealing, “made in Ghana” Plimsoll shoes. Initially the idea sounded absurd to these cobblers who were accustomed to producing slippers made out of leather.
Ever the man in search of workable solutions, Odonkor turned to the Internet to learn how to make simple flat shoes. After which, he introduced the cobblers to these newly acquired techniques. The initial samples produced were not according to expectations, but by the fourth attempt, a suitable piece was made. Thus, began the ascent of Chaste Clothing.
In an attempt to get more people onboard to pilot this prospective business idea, Odonkor spoke to a few classmates and friends to join him on this journey but many were not interested because shoemaking was out of way. There were books to be studied and final examinations to prepare for. In the face of such a letdown, Odonkor embodied the spirit of an entrepreneur by taking a calculated risk to sell his laptop in order to raise the initial capital needed to start a clothing and shoe brand. Give Zara, Jimmy Choo, Paul Smith and Christian Louboutin a run for their money in the near future was the goal.
Chaste Clothing’s aim was to plant the brand in people’s minds in its first few months at the university. Odonkwor says,
“I was so determined to challenge the status quo and worked very hard to produce and sell to both my classmates and church mates each week.”
Within 6 months as a student entrepreneur, his resilience and hard work paid off when he was awarded the Best Student Entrepreneur Award at the Trade and Technology Fair (TRATEC) in 2013 organized by the Students representative council (SRC) for showcasing ingenuity and entrepreneurship. After graduating with honors from KNUST in May 2013 at the age of 24, both Chaste Clothing and its founder were ready to take the brand to the next level.
Launched officially in December, 2014, Chaste Clothing currently operates from a workshop in Madina Estate, Accra employing a staff of four. Its core values are: Be creative and innovative; bolster the image of the brand with determination by projecting African heritage and promoting craftsmanship; strive for product excellence, and inspiring entrepreneurship among the youth of Ghana.
“I knew right from the start that I will spend most of my life “on the job”. Therefore, Chaste Clothing produces Christian inscribed T-shirts and apparels to tell the world how being a Christian isn’t “boring”. An inspiring quote on a T-shirt can brighten up someone’s mood on a rough day. As much as the brand has a Christian foundation, it doesn’t limit its target market to only Christians but serves all in society.
Chaste Clothing through bespoke process, manufactures handmade footwear, clothing and accessories. Most of the materials used in production are sourced from three major cities in Ghana; Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi. The company serves a wide range on clients in Ghana ranging from adults to kids. Since inception, Chaste Clothing has won the hearts of Ghanaians and has boosted confidence in Made in Ghana products with its quality and excellent service for Ghanaians.
With social media and the internet as a major marketing tool, Chaste Clothing serves international orders and ships to Canada, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States from its workshop in Accra, Ghana. What is next for this promising clothing line? More products are in the pipeline for the upcoming year as well as more job opportunities for the Ghanaian youth ready to work and innovate.