We had the good fortune of connecting with Nakiya Pitts and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nakiya, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think of risk as an essential part of being an entrepreneur. Calculated risks are par for the course and necessary when building your business from concept to service or product delivery. If I was adverse to taking risks, there would be no Bese Saka. I would have stayed at my 9-5 job feeling unfulfilled and under recognized for years to come. Instead, I decided to bet on myself and push past my inner fears and thoughts of self doubt. Taking a risk allowed me to step into my purpose and connect all people but especially more people of color to the continent through our products. Each small decision led to the next, like putting one foot in front of the other and I am truly seeing my vision coming to light.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
As a woman of color, Bese Saka was inspired by a personal vision of mine to reconnect with the land of my ancestors in Africa. I’ve always recognized the richness in its people, beauty, culture, and vast artisanship. African traditions are represented all across the continent in its highly sought after sculpture art, paintings, beading and hand crafts such as traditional basket weaving. The age-long tradition of basket weaving and my personal connection to Ghana inspired the creation of Bese Saka to showcase the elegance and captivating vibrancy of West African woven products.
As grateful as I am for the journey, there have been all kinds of challenges spanning from creating a business in an entirely new country with a different work culture to finding a trustworthy local team that could help me remotely manage some aspects of the business. Thus far one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned along the way is to just go for it and if you think your ideas are too big, go bigger! I had been considering creating a product or service that had a deep connection with the continent since my first visit to Ghana in 2009. Just a few years later that vision became a reality and I have been honored to connect with some amazing Ghanaian artisans and creatives.
What I want the world to know about Bese Saka is that we are a brand that supports forging economic partnerships in Africa. There is so much talent and opportunity in the market, so there is a space for everyone to feel included. Americans of color especially should consider visiting not just as a tourist but in the spirit of collaboration and exploration. I think many people would be surprised to have a life changing experience through this lens!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend was visiting Accra, the capital of Ghana I would recommend she visit a few places. For great food any local “chop” bar is going to be a one of a kind experience to eat local delicacies such as pounded yam and okra soup, one of my favorites. For a more eclectic vibe, Osu is a great area to visit for delicious food including one of my favorite restaurants Bondai that serves a Mediterranean and Japanese fusion menu. I would also recommend that she shop at the Art Cultural Center to find all kinds of wonderful items from jewelry, wood carvings, artwork, clothing and much more! A visit to Jubilee House, which is the presidential home, Black Star Square and the WEB Dubois Centre for PanAfrican Culture are also great places to explore.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my mother Karen who has been my biggest cheerleader and inspiration to leave my mark in the world, countless friends that have rallied behind me in my endeavors, and my Girl Hold My Hand community of women who pushed me to think bigger.
Sam, Creative Heights LTD Lazarus, Bisons Space Photography