Fashion graduate named one of Scotland’s top businesswomen
Francia Boakye, a graduate from Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh Business School and business entrepreneur, has been awarded Sole Trader of the Year at this year’s Business Women Scotland Business Awards.
Recognising the entrepreneurial talents of women across Scotland, these awards also help to create more business role models to inspire the next generation of leaders. The Sole Trader of the Year award marks Francia’s significant success in blazing a business trail as a sole trader in her sector.
Designer Francia Boakye was born in London, but spent her formative years in Ghana, West Africa. After completing undergraduate studies in Law at Liverpool John Moores University, her passion for design led her to Heriot-Watt University where she graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in International Fashion Marketing in 2013.
Since finishing her studies, Francia first traded under the brand name Franciaa, producing bags and clothing with a target market of “urbane, curvaceous and sophisticated women” as well as training further to become a qualified kilt-maker.
Like any other brand, it was time for a change. Franciaa went through a revamp to bring a fresh look and expand her business. The brand is now trading under the name Frank Francia catering to a wider audience and still maintaining her brand sophistication - “I cannot compromise on that!”
While Covid has put a temporary halt on her latest entrepreneur venture - a sewing café in the Muirhouse area of Edinburgh designed to eradicate loneliness by bringing people together through their love of craftwork - Francia is now running sociable sewing classes on Zoom with the tagline: ‘Living our best lives even in a time of quarantine’.
She has also applied her sewing skills to produce beautiful customized face coverings - securing bulk orders from a range of new customers including City of Edinburgh Council and the National Galleries of Scotland.
Francia’s plans for the future include securing a permanent venue for the café and finding more business partners: “I want to collaborate with other businesses to diversify my clientele and offer more services. It’s all about seeking out talent and harnessing it. Teaching online classes has most recently been my 'new normal', and I would like to further explore this prospect post-quarantine.”
Francia was also nominated this year as a finalist for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards - as Pivot Entrepreneur of the Year.
She says: “I am delighted and amazed to have been recognised this year by the Great British Entrepreneur Awards and the Business Women Scotland Business Awards. After I pivoted in my career, I never thought that my business would also have to pivot in the midst of a global pandemic - but I am savouring these new challenges and being able to support the local community while I am doing it makes it all so rewarding.”
- Jennifer Johnston