Originally from Togo, Africa, Nova Mensah moved to the US to continue with her higher education. She now calls Olathe, Kansas home, and at 28, she keeps busy raising her son with her husband, as well as managing her new online store Myne Fashion. Myne offers chic styles and handmade African jewelry, chosen to inspire the superwoman in all of us!
Where are you from?
I am originally from Togo, a small country on the west coast of Africa.
What brought you to the US?
I immigrated to the USA about 10 years ago to continue my education. My parents wanted to offer me and my siblings a chance at a better higher education.
What inspired you to open an online clothes shop?
After having my son, I struggled with what to wear, and I found myself intrigued more than ever by fashion trends and styles. I was in search of that piece of clothing that would let my confidence shine through. The more I read and researched, the more I felt this fire burning in me. So one day, I woke up, and I decided that I was going to start a clothing business. I started researching vendors and suppliers from which I could source the various merchandise that I wanted to carry. One thing lead to the other, and now I am a small-business owner.
How did you decide on a name?
The "Myne" part of the name is an acronym for my full name. It designates me.
Did you have any fears when thinking about starting Myne Fashion? How did you deal with those fears?
Yes, I had many fears, many questions were still not answered, and I was doubting myself. I wondered how a small town girl who nobody knew about was going to make it in the world of fashion. I was also investing my family savings in this adventure, and I needed it to work. Being a religious person, I just had to remind myself that I serve a God that is above all faithful. I believed that he wouldn't have put me on this path if I wasn't up for the challenge. I just had to trust that it will be ok. This is a longtime dream of mine that, if it succeeded, would turn into reality. Therefore, I owe it to myself to try. And if, in the end, it didn't go as planned, I would have at least tried.
What's the most exciting part about having your own business?
The most exciting part of having my own business is finding my own work/life balance. It gives room for a lot of flexibility that the regular 8 - 5 job doesn't offer. It challenges me daily, and I get to choose how and when I want things done. It also offers the opportunity to choose who I want to work with. The best reward is that it allows me to follow my passion.
Do you hope to expand to a store one day?
I haven't really given it a lot of thoughts yet. E-commerce is growing fast, and if it continues at this rate, maybe not. Whether or not, I expand to a store one day will definitely be dependent on my customers.
Where do you get the clothes for sale?
I have vendors in the US from whom I procure my merchandise.
How would you describe the style sold by Myne Fashion?
The style sold by Myne Fashion is chic, classic, and sexy for the girl who wants her confidence to shine through. It is also for the superwoman in all of us.
Where do you get the Ankara accessories?
The Ankara accessories are from Togo. I have a group of artisans who I work with, and they are my suppliers.
Are the accessories handmade?
Yes, they are handmade.
Are the Ankara a part of your personal ancestry?
Yes, African Wax prints (Ankara) is a part of my personal ancestry, and it's primarily associated with Africa and its tribes. I grew up wearing Ankara, so it's an integral part of my life.
What inspires you in daily life?
The people I surround myself with on a daily basis inspire me to not give up, no matter how many times I fall. They are as dependent on me as much as I dependent on them. They give me strength to keep pushing until I reach my best self.
How do you balance business with being a mother?
Balancing business with motherhood isn't easy. The only way I am making this work for me is through planning. I have to plan my day hour by hour in order to fulfill my role as a mother, a wife, and a businesswoman. Until I obtain all of the help that I need, I have to consistently stick to my schedule.
What are your suggestions for women who want to start a business?
For women who want to start a business, I suggest that they do their homework. Research will be the key. Learn as much as possible about the domain and categories of business that they want to get involved in. After the research, have a plan, then a back up plan in case things don't exactly as planned. Finally, work at it hard and put everything in God's hands, and what is meant to be will be.