Our new regular series, “Afropreneurs”, gives our team here at Pleasures Magazine the opportunity to bring to the fore the faces and minds of the brilliant entrepreneurs powering Africa’s most innovative and creative brands, challenging the status quo and narratives that abound about the African continent while simultaneously transforming its landscape for the better.
In this first edition, we spoke with Ghanaian entrepreneur and the CEO of Kadis kloset, Lilian Larkai. A high fashion billboard Model and Actress, who has featured in dozens of movies such as “A Sting in the Tale”, “A Reason to Kill”, “I Broke my Heart”, “Who Loves Me”, “Love and Crime” among others.
Talking of Lilian Larkai, what comes to mind when you think of her is class, elegance, grace and beauty are some of the words amongst many that describes her.
Below are snippets from our conversation about Kadis Kloset; enjoy.
Pleasures Magazine: Who is Lilian Larkai?
Lilian Larkai: That’s an interesting question, just because I think there’s identity aspects of who I am as a person. Obviously I’m Fante, I’m Ghanaian, I’m West African, I am African, I am black, and bold (laughs).
Would you say you’re an actress and a model first or an entrepreneur first?
It depends what day of the week it is. It depends on if I’m going to a casting. It depends on if I’m sitting down here talking to you. I think as an actress and a model I am an entrepreneur as well too, because I am a brand that I’m selling. I have to keep track of my payments. I have to keep track of who my brand is, I have to show up to work on time. I have clients that I work for, I have agents that I work for. There are all these different facets! I think as a model or an actress you are an entrepreneur, and I think that’s a misconception.
We know you run a fashion house, Kadis kloset, a fashion line Kadis, described as “the epitome of elegance, created for women with sophistication at its core”. You seem to have conquered many milestones in your acting and modeling career, is that why you are moving into fashion?
Kadis Kloset is me basically trying to ease myself slowly and softly into the market. By creating my personal style into my fashion label, I am creating this collection that brings to life strong and sexy pieces for every woman to look good. I just love styles.
The collection is to all the women out there who want to look fabulous every time of the day in their simple outfits, that is what the Kadis Kloset brand stands for.
With a huge following on social media, your transition from film to fashion looks set to be as seamless as the most coveted dress from your line, but do you consider yourself a role model?
I don’t put pressure on myself by considering myself a role model. I don’t think that’s what I set out to be when I wanted to act, but along the way, I guess that’s what I have become. For me, I feel whatever I am doing; I will always be true to myself.
Any plan or aim towards taking your designs and ensure it is worn all over the world?
We have Ghanaians and Africans all over the world, there are thousands of them in the UK and US. It would be a great thing to be able to see my line stocked in retail stores around the world. We’re working on that as we speak. We’ll try and target major stores to ensure we reach everyone who identifies with me and my style.
How has Kadis kloset changed you and what are the biggest lessons you’ve learned so far?
Kadis kloset has taught me that everything is going to be okay. When we hit obstacles or when my shipment hasn’t landed, when we’re sold out of items that I won’t get in another 30 days—it really teaches me to take a step back, breathe, re-strategize if I need to, and keep on pushing. It’s not the end of the world. There’s another way that it can get it done. It’s taught me to be open-minded, to be open to new opportunities. It’s also taught me that opportunities are endless too and has changed me in a sense that I think I’m stronger mentally. I’m definitely way more confident in myself.
I never knew I would start a business. If you’d asked me this years ago, I would have been “Oh yeah, sure”. Life is full of surprises, and mysteries. It has also made me much more grateful for the endless amount of support we have received from friends, family, customers and business partners. Starting a business, what makes it great is that it’s yours. What advice do you have for another African creator who wants establish their own brand?
Find your niche and something that you’re really passionate about. Research the idea. Talk to your friends about it. They might discourage you, but if you really think it’s going to work, then you should go for it. Build your network. Even if you have nobody, reach out to people. Introduce yourself. Knock on doors and just go on LinkedIn. Reach out to people that you think you need to talk to. Dig, deep. There might be someone that you met somewhere that you forgot about, but that person might be someone really important. Just really don’t take anyone for granted. As an entrepreneur, you need to be available also for other people. You don’t want to just reach out to people so you can use them. You should genuinely be interested in people and get to know them. Find a community where you can plug in.
Is there anything else you want to add before we wrap up?
If I were to give a tip, or advice to an entrepreneur that’s just starting, I’d say, if you have an idea just write it down and start to brainstorm on it. As soon as you put that thought or information out in the world, you won’t believe how things are going to be attracted to you because of that idea, that thought. If you have an idea go for it. If you want to collaborate with whoever it may be, don’t be scared. Don’t talk yourself out of things for no reason. Really it’s all a mental game. If you keep your mind right, everything’s going to be great.
For tops, skirts and dresses in a range of different colors and prints, Kadis kloset is the place for you.We also provide a wide range Muslim Men’s Clothing, Muslim Women Abaya, Kaftans, ladies trendy bags etc.
We are located at East Legon, around A&C Mall or Lizzy Sports Complex, Accra-Ghana and are Open from Monday to Saturday from 8am to 8pm.
We Ship worldwide and we also make delivery too. For further information, please WhatsApp us on 00971562306738
Tel: +233 (0) 277037328 for directions.