Nana Amoako-Anin: Accidental Business Owner

By Efam Dovi —

Nana Amoako-Anin, Owner, Bliss Yoga Accra

Nana Amoako-Anin, Owner, Bliss Yoga Accra

NANA Amoako-Anin has always loved Yoga. Working in Manhattan, New York City, as an attorney and investment banker, yoga was her way of release from a career life she describes as “really exciting, wonderful, but very stressful.” So for many years, she practiced the sport she calls her “best friend” to stay healthy.

When she finally decided to say goodbye to her hectic lifestyle as female executive in New York City and moved to Ghana, a yoga studio was not in the plan. But after much curiosity and a few private clients, the former investment banker saw business opportunity in the passion she had pursued for 18 years.

“I am an accidental business owner,” says Ms. Amoako-Anin of how she became owner of Bliss Yoga Accra — probably the most patronised yoga studio in Ghana.

“When we started the business, we were not really sure that we would have some students,” she recalls. “One student became a few and we expanded after three months of operations,” she told She Leads Africa magazine in an exclusive interview at her studio.

Located at the five-star Movempick Ambassador Hotel in Accra’s business district, the studio welcomes students from all walks of life – locals, holidaymakers, expatriates, corporate clients.

Just in two years, the business registered about 700 members and more than 2000 visits. And she is looking to double that in the coming years.

“We are very happy to have found a space where people are happy to be with us, ” says the Bliss Yoga Accra CEO.

Success in a difficult market

Ghana, like many other countries, is experiencing economic challenges. Business in general is hurting. But not every business is feeling the pinch. The former investment banker says “the secret is momentum.”

“It’s not about how many cedis we are making… It’s about the concept of how do you generate an idea and get people interested.

“We caught people’s attention and that attention creates students, and creates business, and that is continually growing,” says a confident Amoako-Anin.

Yoga is something that Africa has embraced in the last five to 10 years, according to the health entrepreneur. But, it’s not about just yoga, she says. “It’s about the fact that people are waking up…to understand that they need to be healthy.” For those in the wellness industry that means business.

World wide, yoga, — perhaps Indian’s greatest gift to the world — is estimated to be about $80 billion industry annually. Not surprising the United Nations has designated June 21 as the International Yoga Day.

Africa’s booming lifestyle industry

It is not clear what the lifestyle industry in Africa is worth. But with a growing middle class across the continent, wellness and lifestyle industries hold so much potential.

“Africa is an interesting space,” observes Ms. Amoako-Anin. She says there is so much potential and with different facets of that.

“Despite the economic challenges we face in the last couple of years, people are still coming to start things,” says Bliss Yoga Accra CEO. Most of those people are targeting the growing middle class on the continent, she adds.

The former Wall Street banker says: “There is so much interest in health. It’s a space that can evolve no matter what the economic conditions of the time may be.”

Ms. Amoako- Anin observes: “We generally, as a culture now we are very attune to our physical self. There is the concept of glamour and fashion.”

African fashion is still booming, states the former model. “It’s been in a boom for the past 10 years. We have many different fashion lines. Women are really investing in physical material style.”

With an increasing number of female executives in Africa and a lot more expected in the next generation, the lifestyle business, the lifestyle expert says, holds so much potential.

“People just need to really take the step to feel well and start the process to invest in something,” advises the Founder of Bliss Yoga Accra. – Nana Amoako-Anin Leads Africa

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