If you have been an avid follower of Ghanaian fashion for over two decades, you would remember one of the trends at a point in time was embroidery made indifferent designs. House of Damaris was one of the fashion houses well known formaking these dresses and mass producing it to several countries.
House of Damaris was started in the late 80’s by Josephine Baiden Agyarko who went straight into starting her fashion house right after her university education. She started off as a full-service garment manufacturing company specializing in embroidery designs andmaking cloths for friends, both men and women. She later massed produced and exported them to other southern African such as Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and Angola.
In the last couple of years, her daughter Jane Damaris Agyarko who was named after the fashion brand House of Damaris hasjoined the business as a partner to support her mother in growing the brand.
“It’s gone through so many different phases and that’s what I like best about it. As a business it’schanged so much and it just shows that the opportunities are limitless,” she remarks.
In a recent interview with Jane, she shares her journey growing up around her mother’s fashion business and her decision to now partner and support her in growing the fashion brand. Though she is currently involved in running the administrative and production side of the business, Janeadmits she still looks up to her mother’s experience and advice on designs, techniques, color combination amongst others.
Their bridal looks “Jewel Collection” which happens to be their latest collection was recently showcased at the Radiance Wedding Fair. The collection was inspired from a little card she saw which had different colored jewels on it.
“The different rich jewels were so beautiful I thought it will look beautiful against women skin. I wanted it to reflect how different women can be.” She added that all the dresses had different styles to suit different body types.
For Jane, taking up the role hasn’t eliminated the embroidery aesthetics the brand has been known for. “My love for embroidery still exits and we are currently working on a ready to wear line which will incorporate embroidery” she discloses.
On what kinds of women wear House of Damaris, Jane explains that she makes cloths for anyone who wants to look and feel good “We are a full-service fashion house dedicated to making women feel beautiful and look beautiful.”
When asked if she faces any challenges as an entrepreneur hiring the right talents to run the fashion business,Jane remarks that they have been lucky with people. She states “It all comes to how you manage people and how you manage expectations. Just knowing how to work with people isimportant.”
That said, she admits there are some challengeswhich included balancing the creative work and the administrative side of the business such as sending invoices, beading works, fittings with clients, next collection amongst others.
Jane believes that the key to getting clients and retaining them is to offer value. “If people feel like you are giving them value for money they are willing to pay for it” she emphasizes.
In the next couple of years,she is working to grow and expand the brandfurtherby improving their services and techniques and also participate in fashion shows most importantly aninternational fashion show.
Though the brand just recently joined social media, Jane admits Social Media is a powerful tool in growing a brand in this digital era. She shares an experience of a new client she had as a result of another client posting her House of Damaris dress on social media.
Being a member of the Association of Garment Makers, she hopes to seeyounger designers joining the association and expects industry to focus on fashion education as a way to hone designers’ craft.
Jane looks forward to having House of Damaris become more accessible to clients both online and offline and is optimistic about the prospects of the brand as it works to meet the needs of her clients.