Pernia Couture, better known simply as Pernia by Anna Cole, is an accessories fashion label. It was founded by me in Accra, Ghana in 2012. Pernia is a fashion brand that offers bold, unique, creative, timeless Afrocentric accessories for our fashion forward ladies. Attention to detail is our hallmark. Our accessories ranges from neck pieces, earrings, bracelets etc and are made from African prints, beads and other materials
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur? Is having your own business something you always wanted?
Yes, having my own business was always what I desired and wished for. Being an entrepreneur is great. There are endless reasons for this, and every entrepreneur will have his or her own personal reasons as well but here a few reasons I enjoying working for myself. To earn a living doing what I loved was one important factor and being able to make a comfortable living doing what you love it’s a win-win situation. Having enough time to be part of my family fully. I also have full control over my destiny. I call the shots and make the decisions which ultimately determine the success or failure of my business and nobody gets in the way of my vision. Controlling who represents your brand and assembling a team of like-minded individuals that share my same drive and passion is so exciting. Not having a dress code (referring to a corporate office) is another exciting reason. I also have full control over my workspace. As an entrepreneur I become a provider for many. My employees depend on my leadership and decision-making, as it directly impacts on their livelihood and well-being. I also serve as a role model because as an entrepreneur, people will look up to me. I have the ability to be a role model for family, friends, employees and community members. My success serves as motivation and inspiration.
I can go on and on but these are a few reasons why I became an entrepreneur.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle for female founders? How can we overcome it?
Defying social expectations is a situation where a woman walks into a crowded meeting and can count the number of woman on one hand and we discuss business with primarily men executives makes of us women feel we need to adopt that ''male'' attitude towards to business- aggressive, overly hash. Another major challenge is parent entrepreneurs having dural responsibilities to our businesses and families and finding ways to balance the work and family life is really necessary and difficult if not planned well. I believe remaining true and confident to yourself, working hard, being confident and finding your own voice will help you rise above preconceived expectations. Also, necessary to find the balance for both work and family, so that you don’t lose any important moments.
How do you generate new ideas to stay relevant on the market? Is it important to innovate in your space?
I generate new ideas from almost everything around me. There is something to learn from everything around us, only depends on how positive minded you are. Designing means being innovate enough to be creating new products always. Innovation is important for my business growth regardless of the size of business, it allows me to take on more customers and grab a bigger share of the market. Helps my brand to stand out and as customers needs are constantly changing, you have to come up with new ideas to excite them and meet their needs (staying power).
If you were a book, which one would it be and why?
My family, friends and supporters would attest to this: “The Accessory Goddess !” After all, my brand Pernia has unique, majestic accessories to offer. I am an ambitious, strong and stylish woman.
What do you think about company culture? What are some of your tips on being a good leader?
Company culture is about the atmosphere and attitudes of employers and the employees. So many companies’ leadership still uses the ''iron fist method'' to scare employees into compliance, but it has to be all based on developing relationships, really listening to understand, caring for people leading by example, being honest, having integrity and morals. As a good leader you don’t create more followers, you create more leaders. As a good leader you must be a good listener or else you will be surrounded by people who have nothing to share. As a good leader you should train and treat people well enough that they will not want to leave. As a good leader you must understand that no matter how educated, talented, and rich you believe you are… how you treat others tells it all. Integrity is everything. Being a good leader is not about your titles, positions. Its about your positive influence.
What is your biggest dream?
My biggest dream is to see my brand Pernia become an easily recognizable fashion brand around the world with world’s known celebrities wearing my designs to the biggest events around the world. My biggest vision is to expand into clothing lines, to have shop outlets around the world and to be on runway shows like New York Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week and Milan Fashion Week.