Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is fashion designer Stacey Bafi-Yeboa, who recognized a gap in the market and set out to create Canada’s premier luxury sweatshirt line (which recently debuted at Toronto Fashion Week). Here’s what inspired her career and where she sees herself in five years…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
KANIA is Canada’s luxury sweatshirt line, filling the gap between fashion and fitness clothing. The perfect piece to wear when you want to be comfortable and fashionable at the same time, it’s clothing to live your life in and made to move.
Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
It all started in New York City while dancing on Broadway. It began out of a need to make the perfect pieces to wear after class that felt as comfortable as my dancewear. The comfy clothes weren’t good looking, and the good looking clothes weren’t comfortable, so I started making my own clothes – and that’s how KANIA was born.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is being able to create! Far too often, adults lose their creativity. I am so fortunate that I am able to live like a child and create what I feel. Having the opportunity to work with great people, listen to inspiring music, and dance if I feel the need is a huge plus!
The most challenging is by far the work and home balance. Beyond the creative. fun stuff are the demands of the business and being mom to a toddler.
Where do you see your business going in five years?
In five years, I see KANIA as the premier luxury sweatshirt brand within Canada and beyond.
What does success look like to you?
There is no cap on success. I’ve been successful in my life but it doesn’t stop me from striving for more. Each successful moment is like a stepping stone to the next. So to answer your question, success to me is reaching for the stars.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Oh gosh, I have a few…
First off, dancing on Broadway! At the age of 19 I moved to New York City to embark on my career as a professional performing artist; a dream come true. In some respect I feel as though I am living that dream again, this time as a fashion designer.
The day I signed the contract to be a presenting designer at World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto for FW2015 reminded me of the commencement of my Broadway career. In that moment you know how life-changing the opportunity can be. The feeling is simply exhilarating!
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
So much! If I have to summarize, I’d say you have to believe in what you create and want it more than anything else. Have thick skin and take criticism with a grain of salt. Eliminate bad energy and work with positive people. Create, hustle, sell, repeat.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Yes, the word KANIA is from the Akan dialect meaning light, and part of my mission with the brand is to give back. Each year a portion of my proceeds is donated to charity. I also started a premium fashion and charity gala called FLAUNT! The event promotes emerging Canadian designers and gives back to local charities.
What is Notable to you?
Notable to me is something worth noticing, that draws your attention and pushes you to excel. Notable is something remarkable and unique.
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How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
A positive attitude, great friends, and a supportive family. I try to live every day to the fullest and not take life too seriously. I work really hard but I also love to have fun. I am driven to live my dreams and assist others to attain theirs.