Southeast student reconnects with culture through her company MadeNGhana
*Editor’s note: This story was edited to clarify the entire Sosuh family voluntarily moved from Ghana to St. Louis.
Home is where the heart is — and Southeast student Genevive Sosuh is reconnecting with the culture she left behind by bringing her roots to the Southeast community.
Sosuh was born in Ghana and lived there with her older sister Josephine until their family moved to the United States when she was 10 years old.
In 2005, the sisters, along with their family, moved to the United States. MadeNGhana, a clothing company created by the Sosuh sisters, is intended to reconnect with parts of the culture of Ghana, where the family still visits every year, Sosuh said.
“I feel like I knew a lot of my culture, but I feel like I’ve lost a lot of it too,” Genevive said.
The Sosuh sisters traveled to Ghana to celebrate their grandmother’s 70th birthday when elder sister Josephine received a compliment on her top, which was created by the family’s tailor. This sparked Josephine’s idea to create a clothing company that would incorporate bright colors and the family’s heritage in Ghana.
The largest focus of the company is family, Sosuh said, “it’s part of everything we do.”
The Sosuhs have a large extended family, whom she said are often heavily involved in the business. Their aunt purchased fabric, family members helped transport material and other family members make sure the sisters’ vision isn’t lost, she said.
Sosuh said she designs clothing for MadeNGhana but also creates custom pieces for clients, which poses a new problem for the sisters: standard sizing.
Numbered sizing differs greatly between Ghana and the United States, Sosuh said, which can cause miscommunications between the apparel creators in Ghana and the Sosuhs.
To combat these issues, Sosuh said the sisters try to take careful measurements and keep close communication with their clients.
As a student, Sosuh said one of the most difficult parts of balancing school and work is communicating with apparel creators in a different time zone. She said she often wakes up early in the morning to messages from individuals in Ghana.
The sisters employ multiple clothing creators in Ghana to bring their designs to life, Sosuh said. She explained the title “tailor” is reserved for male clothing creators, while “seamstress” describes females. For MadeNGhana, Sosuh said it’s important to involve both genders to create the best possible product.
Tailors may be more trained in creating products such as pants, Sosuh said, so the sisters choose a tailor to create those items. On the other hand, she said they choose a seamstress to create blouses and shirts.
As for the designs, Sosuh said color is central to apparel she creates and is often the most recognizable element of their apparel.
Sosuh said she and her sister often attend festivals to sell the clothing, rather than face markups at local retailers or boutiques.
The sisters aren’t stopping there. Sosuh said they plan to launch an online store in January 2020, which will include a revamp of their company and rebranding of logos.