June 6 2017
Name: Freda Obeng-Ampofo
Job: Owner, Kaeme
Currently based in: Accra
Day to day uniform: I wear basic clothes such as a tee-shirt and slacks or simple dress, some protective gloves since I deal mainly with production and packaging. If we are out talking to customers or during consultations in our newly renovated offices, I will wear a more professional attire.
1. Tell us about your background and how you started your skincare line
I am Ghanaian born and world traveler. I went to high school and college in the US (Doherty High School and Gordon College, both in Massachusetts), I moved to Washington DC to engage in politics, while there I worked at the Senate level lobbying for debt relief for African countries, then worked for a local maps company, then moved on to work with a private international trade firm where I sought US market for Thai furnitures but also for wines from Provence France. After that, I worked for another private firm as the associate for Africa where I managed a portfolio for West Africa on global health and financial compliance issues. I paused and moved to Paris for graduate school at Sciences PO where I did Public Administration. While in France, I also did lot of researching on Hong Kong Wan Chai neighborhood urban decay and its influence on social interaction. Then later I went to Tanzania to work with private philanthropic organizations on monitoring and evaluation. I later moved to Ghana to work for the European Union delegation here as the Press and Communications officer and now with USAID West Africa as the Regional Program Advisor.
I have been using raw shea butter and black soap since a very young age, but it became boring over time so I started experimenting with all sort of ingredients: aloe, essential oils, carrier oils, sea salt, moringa, tea leaves, everything, I was my own test for my experiments and I loved it! I would always give surplus shea and black soap to friends to use. The process became very enjoyable so I started making unique scents for friends during special occasions, this was my gift to them. They loved it, so did everyone that experienced the products I made. Over time, I was getting demands from friends and friends of friends. This is when I decided to make it into a business. Kaeme is a real labour of love and something I’m truly passionate about. I started making everything from scratch by myself, from getting the raw shea butter and black soap, mixing, getting the jars and bottles, making the labels using Microsoft word, printing, bottling the product, to deliver to customers and taking feedback. It started small in my then tiny studio apartment.
On my spare time I also lead free insanity workouts classes for entrepreneurs Monday through Friday as part of fabulously FIT and fine (www.fabfitfine.com) the mother company of Kaeme.
2. What’s the meaning of « Kaeme », and why this name? Kaeme means “Remember me” in Twi (Akan), one of Ghana’s local languages. I chose Kaeme because I wanted something short and it is more convenient for packaging for example, I also wanted to reflect the Ghanaian heritage and roots, and of course a high quality product made here in Ghana. When you give our product to a friend you can say “Kaeme” as you hand it over telling her/him to remember you or that they remember you every time they use the product. Nostalgia, good memories and feelings are part of the brand experience.
3. What has been your relationship to beauty before starting your business? I am one of four kids, the youngest and the only female among my siblings. The fact that I was mostly surrounded by men in the house made me become a tomboy, which was not necessarily a bad thing however, as time went on, I realized beauty and the use of beauty products was something I was indifferent about. To reverse course and to ensure I was taking care of my basic beauty needs, my mother, Victoria, made sure I always had shea butter and black soap with me.
Now I have been making my own products for over a decade for myself, family and friends. It has been a long time hobby before becoming a growing business.
4. Three words that best describe your products?
Raw, Natural, Indigenous
5. Today the natural skincare using African raw products is highly competitive, how do you position your line to stay relevant and differentiate yourself from other brands?
By focusing on making good quality preservative free products with the purest form of our raw materials and by focusing on customer experience and exclusivity.
6. Which beauty tip(s) can you give to our readers ?
Your body is all you got, it’s the structure in which you live, so treat it well by putting in the best quality products.
7. What are the next steps for Kaeme ?
We are working on men and baby’s lines and expanding distribution to airlines companies and hotels
8. Do you have any advice for those who want to follow the same journey ?
There is nothing more fulfilling than doing what you love. Plan well, put in the hours, and go step by step, take time to test your product and do not be in a hurry to make money.
For more information, please visit
Kaeme’s Website : www.kaeme.co
Instagram : @hellokaeme
Kaeme products pictures have been photographed by Kwaku David, courtesy of Kaeme