KariAndGo, created by Akosua Karikari, is a West African lifestyle brand that offers unique and functional handmade unisex fashion and accessories. Akosua prides herself on directly impacting Ghana, employing young, local creatives to help her vision come to life. All products are handmade in Ghana and produced with the utmost quality and care, upholding the principles of fair trade. KariAndGo pieces are designed to bring vibrancy and fun into everyday life while maintaining their durability, making them beautiful and sustainable.
KariAndGo’s mission is to "create persistent jobs for local artisans by employing them to help design and create quality African Print and Ghanaian inspired accessories."
When asked, “What inspired you to start your own business, and how did you develop your initial concept?” Akosua responded,
“Beautiful unisex African textiles is what inspired the business. A lot of big brands incorporate African textiles in their product line, however, they do not give credit to the inspiration behind the product. KariAndGo takes pride in all of our products being handmade in Ghana and being African inspired. We employ local artisans, photographers, seamstresses, tailors and craftsmen. Our goal is to spread Ghanaian traditions and culture to the world. Every Christmas, we also donate a portion of our profit to children in need in Ghana.”
Friends and family have been her foundation since starting her business, says Akosua. Their honest feedback has helped her along her journey as an entrepreneur. Social media, networking with different vendors at pop-up events, and exchanging business ideas has also assisted Akosua in achieving her professional goals. Akosua has also been influenced weekly for the past three years, listening to the Side Hustle Pro podcast hosted by Bronx bred, Nicaila Matthews Okome. She says she has gained a lot of knowledge from Nicaila and other Sistahpreneurs who have been featured on the show.
Akosua is very transparent in sharing her story and struggles as an entrepreneurial woman of color. Her biggest battle, like many, has been finding a balance between her business and personal life. Her advice for other Sistahpreneurs conflicted by the same issue would be to “Remember you are not an island. Work on developing a strong team if you want to grow your business and alleviate some of the daily pressure you might be facing” (Akosua Karikari). She also asks herself daily, "What is the most important thing I must do today?" in order to help her adjust her priorities accordingly.
Akosua recalls a time when she had to pivot and adapt to unexpected changes when someone she greatly depended on quit without notice during the busy holiday season. While all events were already paid in advance, Akosua took it as a hard lesson, counted her losses, and cut all ties with that person. Staffing issues can be a major hurdle for small businesses, especially when it’s a one-woman show. Knowing how to tackle this conflict effectively is necessary for the growth of any business.
Receiving consistent wholesale orders from multiple museums around the United States has been the most gratifying part of Akosua’s entrepreneurship journey. Also, experiencing constant support and love from customers messaging her, sharing how much they loved her products when they came across them has been the most fulfilling for Akosua.
Staying authentic to her Ghanaian culture, Akosua would rather not stay up-to-date with trends as she continues looking for ways to authentically spread awareness of Ghana’s culture. She defines success in her business as being able to provide jobs to her team in Ghana. She says, “You will not know everything before you start your business. Just start, take one step at a time and you will learn something new daily.” One of her long term goals is to scale her wholesale business.
We’ll have to wait and see what’s to come for KariAndGo. For now, shop their amazing products below.