Having worked in the nongovernmental sector for more than three years and overcoming some of life’s worst nightmares, like her parents’ breakup and a difficult childhood, Diana Wiah is now trying to take her jewel design career to another level. Where she is now wouldn’t have been possible without her decision to make a move she considers significant in starting her career.
According to Wiah, as life continued to show her its negative side, she woke up one day and decided to apply for a Voter Registrar position with the National Election Commission – ‘just to have something doing.’
This was the first time she ever had an opportunity to work for herself, after trying for many years with no results.
“I cried at first when I got the job because I was in a total financial crisis. I was just strong enough to overcome my dark days. Immediately after the contract with NEC ended, I started a little business with my pay,” she said.
Her business was selling “ladies’ materials,” which included selling clothes, shoes, earrings and anything that adds to a female’s charms. The profit she made from the business of “selling ladies’ materials” was able to help her financially as she was now capable of settling most of her problems, like her university arrears.
From Love for Fashion to Raw Talent
With the help of another job at the African Development Associates, Diana’s love for female wearing morphed into a love for African fashion. This love led to her to discovering a hidden talent, raw in its makeup – designing African-inspired fashion accessories.
But at times, latent talent can surface in the midst of life’s other necessary endeavors. You see, Diana was still busy at work, and school, when her talent came knocking.
“At that time, I had so many things going on in my life. Work, family issues and school ate up my entire time, leaving me with nothing left for my talent,” She added.
Also in the midst of these opposing forces that mysteriously lead you to your destiny, a cataclysm can occur to test your mettle.
Along Came Ebola…and a Helping Hand
Ebola hit Liberia and the Mano River Union basin like a bat out of hell. Everybody was on edge. Suddenly, everything changed during the Ebola outbreak. You couldn’t even visit your neighbor, let alone shake his/her hand. To keep her peace, Diana turned to making African inspired fashion accessories, in the
form of necklaces, earrings, and bangles, for inspiration and strength.
“I started to make earrings and necklaces for my personal use, which was admired by lot of people because they were neatly fixed and well designed.”
In just a few days’ time orders for her jewelries were coming from all and sundry; they even doubled the following weeks, which motivated her to increase production and most importantly, her creativity.
“When production rose, I started looking for areas where I can place my jewelries to increase sales, but things were not working. One day, while selling I came across a lady name Laurentine Bass who was so impressed with my products and later on promised to arrange a meeting for me at Royal Grand
During the meeting, the hotel’s management admired her jewelries and immediately offered her a place to sell them. Also, she was offered the cashier position at the hotel’s restaurant by the manager’s wife, Mrs. Helen Eid Hariz.
“Right now I’m making good sales on a daily basis and the demand for the products is increasing, with lots of orders come from abroad lately,” Diana narrated.
Challenges in the Midst of Success
Her honeymoon was short. Kinda still is. Despite her recent business success, Diana had to accept losses from people who hired her to design jewelries, but don’t want to pay her.
“That is a serious problem I’m having with my Liberian buyers, most of them don’t pay me after taking the products. Every day, out of a kind heart I just let them go without paying,” She noted.
Another challenge that is still rocking Diana’s world is having her jewelries on sale at locations that are well visited by both local and international buyers.
“I have approached many business people, but the result is discouraging,” she continued. “I will keep on trying because I want people from different parts of the world to proudly rock my hand made design products.”
While Diana passion’s for fashion started of late, her strength lies in her ability to overcome challenges and bring out new designs daily.
Apart from Royal Grand Hotel, Afropolitan boutique at the corner of Benson and Newport streets, owned by Tania Sherman Kesselly, also sell Diana’s products.
Diana Wiah is a product of the college of West Africa in 2008. In 2013 she graduated from African Methodist Episcopal University majoring in management and accounting.