By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Leonard Ampofo is a gifted millennial and the second child in a family of four. He received his basic education at Obuasi in the Ashanti Region, and continued on to the senior high level at Cape Coast in the Central Region. He then attended the University for Development Studies at Wa in the Upper-West Region of Ghana, where he studied Environment and Resource Management. However, after earning a great education, he struggled to find a job.
He says, ‘after years of job searching proving futile, I began to combine what l had learned during my four years at the University with one of the talents in my family. We are gifted with the talent of designing African wear; we use African traditional prints to make clothing. Ghana has a convergence of many tribes, making it a beautiful atmosphere in which to enjoy the differences of the various ethnic groups. I am self-employed, designing and making African wear. I entered this business due to my passion for African clothing made from African prints, and because of my desire to become a successful entrepreneur in the near future.’
By the time that Leonard discovered Zidisha he had been designing and making clothing for over 3 years. He designs both men’s and women’s clothing and even makes school uniforms as well. One of his signature strengths is his ability to combine traditional and modern prints and ideas producing high quality and well-priced pieces for his customers and retailers. In fact, he has been doing so well that he even has 3 apprentices assisting him.
His typical costs include: $100 monthly for water and electricity, and $60 monthly to rent two shops. On average, his revenue is about $500 and his net profit averages $340 each month. He then uses his profits to pay for his siblings school fees and for buying more fabric for his business. When he is not busy at work, Leonard loves swimming, preaching, and listening to sermons.
Leonard sought out his first Zidisha funded loan in May 2015 and asked lenders for $100. With this loan he purchased $90 worth of fabrics and $10 of thread. He knew that increasing his supply of fabric and thread would make it easier for him to keep up with the demand from his customers and retailers.
By July of 2015, Leonard was once again in need of more fabric. He doubled his loan amount to $199 in order to purchase $190 in fabrics and $10 of thread. Later that same year, in September, he once again found himself in need of more fabric. For this loan, he requested $259 in total with $10 being used for machine servicing to improve his production and the rest of the loan was used for new fabric. He predicted that this would allow him to increase his profits by 40%.
By January of 2016, Leonard was ready to make some big changes in his business. The most significant was the decision to purchase an electrical sewing machine. For this loan, he requested $414 with $350 of that amount going towards the new sewing machine. He also allocated $45 to be put towards machine servicing and maintenance and $7 to purchase new threads. He was excited and confident that this loan would really allow him to increase his output. Shortly thereafter, he expressed his gratitude on his discussion page with the message, ‘I really want to thank my lenders for this loan who have always been supportive to the growth of my business. May God bless you all.’ He also noted on January 11 that his Zidisha funded loans have allowed him to increase his profits by 40%.
By June, Leonard was excited to share an image of his new sewing machine with lenders as well as the update that his new machine had allowed him to really increase his output.
For his most recent loan, Leonard requested $619 in September 2016 which he used to once again purchase new fabric costing $450, with $50 to purchase new thread, and a little over $100 set aside for routine servicing and maintenance. After receiving this loan, Leonard shared an inspiring message for lenders on his discussion page, ‘I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to all my lenders for supporting me financially in my business. You all have played a crucial role in making my business a success. I know I can’t repay you with anything but I know the blessings of God will never elude you. God blesses you and grant you all your hearts desires. Thanks a lot.’
Leonard is a great example of someone who has crafted a career based on his strengths, expertise, and passion. Through this he is able to help support his family and also bring more joy and beauty into his community through his clothing.
Were you inspired by Leonard’s story? If so, make sure to head over to our Lend page and make a difference in the life of another Zidisha entrepreneur.