Who doesn’t love a good success story, especially one that’s extra real and relatable? For creative entrepreneur Kojo Yeboah, the second time was a charm when it came to starting his own business. We talked as we walked through Kojo’s Brooklyn neighborhood, then found ourselves at his apartment chatting over tea before he got ready to go for run. The conversation covered everything from nurturing young brands in Africa to wearing workout clothes even when not working out.
Hi Kojo! Tell the BY community a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Ghana before moving to the states for college, and have been in New York for the last 10 years. I run a brand and strategy agency called SOLVNT, which has clients based all over, including Africa, so I go back and forth a lot. We work with everyone from skincare brands to
food and beverage companies.
Nice! How did you start SOLVNT?
While I was at one of the top consulting firms, I realized my passion was working on projects that really touched people versus working for the big conglomerates. I transitioned into the marketing agency world and that’s where I found joy in making things that can connect to humans. I always wanted to work with entrepreneurs and founders from Ghana–that inspired me to start my own company. The first time around I wasn’t successful though. I went flat broke and had to go back to a full-time job. Gradually, I got to a place where I was able to take another leap and everything worked out the second time.
Why was it important to you to work with folks in Ghana?
Even though there’s so much talent and resources, not many African brands were hitting the global market. With SOLVNT I wondered what it would look like to take creatives from all over the world and have them work on projects together. There’s a level of diverse perspective that everyone brings to the table, which helps create experiences that link people from all different backgrounds.
What do you envision for the future of the company?
Ideally this grows into a hub where people’s ideas just come to life, and not only for our clients but also for us. I want the team to have equity in what we’re building. Actually, someone on the team wants to open a café in Mexico City and we’re trying to help make that happen.
Growing up in Ghana, I was a creative individual but never felt that was something I could build a career around. I didn’t see examples of that and I wasn’t able to really nurture that part of me. I want SOLVNT to help anyone who has a cool idea turn it into reality.
We love to hear it. Can you walk us through a typical day in the life of Kojo?
I wake up and do some meditation which helps set the tone for the day. Depending on my schedule I run in the morning or at night, about four times a week. I mostly work from home, otherwise I’m in the office. I take meetings first and then review current projects, from the design to the copywriting. After work I either get dinner with a client at Frenchette in Tribeca or catch up with a friend at Evelina in Fort Greene.
And how do you spend your weekends?
Weekends are free-floating. I don’t drink alcohol so most of my social life is centered on food, lots of meals and cooking with friends. I do make a mean pasta–my Bolognese is pretty strong. I also love going to see live music and gallery shows.
Do you have a favorite piece of BY to #MoveInBeyond?
I love my sets–the texture is incredibly soft. The Freeflo Muscle Tank is great for running. My friends make fun of me because I’m always in workout clothes even when I’m not working out [laughs]. They’re just so convenient and comfortable.
Any words of wisdom for the BY community?
I think we all have the will to do more than we give ourselves credit for. There’s a lot we can achieve if we just do it. We’re so afraid of failure but to fail doesn’t mean the end of the world. When I first started SOLVNT, I took a stab, fell, and then had to slowly learn to walk again. I always remind myself that you just have to get back up.
Photography by Rene Fragoso