Ashantibeads was founded by US-based Ghanaian Amon Ogyiri in 2012. He was moved to found Ashantibeads having observed what he perceived as a lack of recognition for the African culture in the world. “There is plenty of beauty in Africa which still hasn’t been exposed to the rest of the world,” Amon reflects. “My mission was to display as much beauty from African culture as possible, through art & fashion. “
The hallmark of the brand are the trademark African bead bracelets of various colours which are adorned with a Gye Nyame charm. Ashantibeads’ African Beads are dedicated to gratifying the most sophisticated jewellery consumers, designed for all people from different backgrounds to admire what Africa has to offer. Amon was inspired to make these bracelets by his role model Russell Simmons, who had created a green bracelet whose sales would produce proceeds which would go on to help improve the quality of life of people in Africa. Amon’s idea was to follow-on from this by creating a bracelet for Ghana and also do his own bit to contribute to the advancement of the Ghanaian People. Amon has been able to use a percentage of the profits from Ashantibeads to work with a non-profit organization in Ghana called “Youth Icons of Ghana” to help build libraries in less-privileged rural communities in Ghana.
The beads have enduring all-encompassing appeal, with people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds having purchased their own bracelets. The beauty of the colours available, and the mystery of the enigmatic “Gye Nyame” charm, are an undeniably attractive concoction. “The beads represent the history, culture and pride of Ghana – my homeland,” explains Amon. “For example, the black Ashanti African Beads are an emblem for the people; a great build for customers who seek amongst their collection of jewelleries one that graces their acquired taste. The green Ashanti African Beads embodies the fruitful land of Africa, and so forth.”
Many celebrities have showed interest in Ashantibeads. such as Angela Simmons (daughter of Rev Run of RUNDMC) American based rappers Nipsey Hussle and Shad Moss (aka Bow Wow), the late Ghanaian singer Castro da Destroyer, superstar Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie, Ghanaian boxer Joshua Clottey, and the vibrant Nigerian singer Davido, amongst many others!
The celebrity endorsements have gone hand-in-hand with ashantibeads impressive social media machine in increasing awareness of the brand. People who see or hear about the products usually have an urge to tell others about what Ashantibeads are doing for Africa with the brand, with Instagram and twitter helping extend reach to many people across the world. Customers usually upload photos of themselves wearing their products on Instagram which allows their followers to see Ashantibeads’ work.
Despite the level of success to-date, Amon does not feel like he has reached the point at which he can say he is successful with the brand. “I have more things to do and accomplish before I can say I have been successful. The mission is not over.”
So what are the plans and dreams for the future of Ashantibeads? “We have just released Africa’s $100 dollar shirt designed by me,” informs Amon. “It is an extension of the Ashantibeads brand. I feel that the ‘Gye Nyame’ symbol has been depreciated and taken for granted for a very long time. I saw the value in this symbol. It’s about being proud. Africans need to realize the value of our culture.”
You can view and purchase your own Ashantibeads products from www.ashantibeads.com
Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)