From Beads to Shades: A Young Entrepreneur's Journey

From Beads to Shades: A Young Entrepreneur's Journey

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Early Interest in Business
  3. First Business Venture: Beautiful Beads
  4. Second Business Venture: On-Campus Food Service
  5. Rebranding and Third Business Venture: Zuri Shades
  6. Expanding into Eyewear and Lens Fixing
  7. Challenges Faced in Running a Business
  8. Support System and Financial Management
  9. Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
  10. Conclusion


In this article, I will take you through my journey as a young entrepreneur, starting my own business at the age of 18 and the various ups and downs I have faced along the way. I will share my experiences with different business ventures, from selling handmade jewelry to providing on-campus food services and ultimately rebranding into the eyewear industry. Along the way, I will discuss the challenges I have encountered, the importance of a support system, and offer advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. So, let's dive into my business journey and see how it all unfolded.

Early Interest in Business

From a young age, I always had a fascination with the idea of independence and having my own source of income. Growing up, I watched my mother run her own shop, which ignited my interest in the world of business. I knew that one day I wanted to have a business of my own, and I eagerly awaited the opportunity to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams.

First Business Venture: Beautiful Beads

At the age of 17, right after finishing secondary school, I decided to learn a skill and explore my interest in fashion design by making clothes. However, due to the time constraints of the available fashion schools, I opted for a three-month program in beadwork instead. I learned how to create beautiful waist beads and anklets, and I was passionate about my craft.

With my newly acquired skills, I created an Instagram page called "Beautiful Like Beads" and started showcasing my work. However, I soon realized that my target audience was not aligned with the age group following my account. Most of my followers were around my age, while the pieces I was creating catered to an older demographic. This disconnect led to a lack of sales and limited success in this particular business venture.

Second Business Venture: On-Campus Food Service

While studying at university, I and my roommate identified a gap in the on-campus food options. We noticed that students had to venture off-campus to find local Ghanaian delicacies, as the cafeteria only offered regular cafeteria-style food. This sparked an idea, and we decided to bring the local food experience to campus.

We partnered with a cook to provide authentic Ghanaian food right on campus and named our business "Kwabena's Local Bites." The initial response was positive, and people loved the convenience of enjoying traditional local food without leaving campus. However, running a business while being full-time students proved to be a challenging endeavor. We had to juggle assignments, take turns managing the business, and faced various logistical issues. Ultimately, we had to shut down the business due to the overwhelming demands of our academic commitments.

Rebranding and Third Business Venture: Zuri Shades

Despite the setbacks faced with my previous ventures, I remained determined to find success as an entrepreneur. My love for fashion and the desire to provide trendy sunglasses at an affordable price led me to start my third business venture: Zuri Shades. I took advantage of the lessons learned from my past experiences and focused on the branding and marketing aspects of the business.

Zuri Shades started small, with a limited number of sunglasses, and initially struggled to gain traction. However, as I refined my strategies and expanded my product range, the business gained momentum. It was in 2020 that Zuri Shades truly took off, thanks to the increased interest in affordable eyewear options during the COVID-19 pandemic. I also noticed a growing demand for prescription eyewear that people could obtain without visiting an eye clinic, leading me to incorporate lens fixing services into my business.

Expanding into Eyewear and Lens Fixing

Building on the success of Zuri Shades, I decided to expand the business further into the optical frames market. I recognized the need for fashionable frames that were affordable, particularly for individuals with prescription lenses. Through collaborations with optometrists, I offered lens fixing services at affordable prices, providing customers with stylish eyewear that met their optical needs.

Operating primarily on Instagram, Zuri Shades continued to grow, and the demand for our products and services increased significantly. To streamline operations and reach a wider customer base, I invested in a website, which proved to be a game-changer for the business. With the website in place, customers could easily place orders, and our team could efficiently manage the business from anywhere in the world.

Challenges Faced in Running a Business

Running a business is not without its challenges, and I have faced my fair share of obstacles along the way. One of the most significant challenges has been finding reliable and passionate individuals to work with. It can be disheartening when people prove to be unreliable, and relying on others can be a source of stress and frustration.

Another challenge I faced was managing customer expectations and dealing with the pressure of constant communication. Customers expect immediate responses, and as a small business owner, I found it challenging to balance my responsibilities while also providing timely customer service. However, I recognized the importance of professionalism and strived to meet customer needs to the best of my abilities.

Support System and Financial Management

Throughout my business journey, my mother has been an unwavering source of support and guidance. She has helped me with various aspects of the business, both financially and operationally. Her belief in me when I didn't believe in myself has been invaluable, and I am forever grateful for her presence in my entrepreneurial journey.

Financial management has also played a crucial role in the growth of my business. Starting with minimal capital, I focused on reinvesting profits back into the business and gradually increasing its size. Saving money allowed me to make important investments, such as launching a website and expanding our product range. Starting small and growing organically has proven to be a successful approach for me.

Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Based on my experiences, I offer the following advice to aspiring entrepreneurs:

  1. Have passion and love for what you do. Without genuine enthusiasm, it is easy to give up when faced with challenges.
  2. Separate your personal life from your business. Setting boundaries and maintaining a clear distinction between the two will help maintain focus and avoid burnout.
  3. Find the right people to work with. Trust is essential, so take the time to identify individuals who share your passion and commitment to the business.
  4. Starting a business does not always require a large sum of money. You can start small and gradually reinvest profits to expand.
  5. Learn from everyone and remain humble. Insights and lessons can come from unexpected sources, so be open to learning from those around you.


In conclusion, my journey as a young entrepreneur has been filled with lessons, challenges, and growth. Starting with my passion for fashion and jewelry-making, I navigated through various business ventures until I found my niche in the eyewear industry. Along the way, I learned the importance of perseverance, the value of a support system, and the need for continuous learning.

Running a business is not easy, but with dedication and a strong foundation, it is possible to turn your entrepreneurial dreams into a reality. Remember, success doesn't happen overnight, and it takes time to build a thriving business. So, embrace the journey, learn from your experiences, and never stop pursuing your passions.