New York City, NY

How Ruby Buah Went From The World Of Finance To Bringing Handbags and Jewelry With A Ghanaian Twist To The World

Ann Brown

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Photo by John Mobley

Kua Designs brings a little Ghanaian flavor to New York City and beyond. The woman-owned fashion company recently did popups across the country in five major cities, including Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

"After COVID halted a lot of face-to-face interactions, I told myself that I’ll take advantage of every opportunity to interact with my clients in the United States (especially those outside Accra, Ghana, where my boutique is located," Kua Designs founder Ruby Buah told NewsBreak. "I actually started my business over 10 years ago in the U.S. However, after moving to Ghana, my in-person interactions with my U.S.-based clients have been limited. This nationwide pop-up gave me an opportunity to introduce my Kua brand to new clients and show existing clients our new designs."

She ended her series of popups in New York City for a reason.

"New York means so much to me and my brand," she explains. "After a long career as a financial analyst in Atlanta, I decided to leave finance for fashion. I picked New York and enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Technology. New York is vibrant and creative and is home to a good number of professionals who gravitate toward my brand. Ending my nationwide tour in New York is a full-circle experience for me".

And while the summer popups have finished, she plans more.

"I plan on doing yearly pop-ups in different cities. I am determined to share Kua with the world," Buah reveals.

Buah was a former financial analyst for Coca-Cola in Atlanta. In her spare time, she was pursuing a creative outlet by making jewelry. Within three years, it became viable side hustle.

Buah moved to New York and decided to study jewelry making. She earned a degree in jewelry design at the renowned Fashion Institute of Technology. She built on her jewelry line and then added her unique handbag line. A few years later, she returned to the city of Accra to open and operate her own boutique and start a family. Kua Designs is named after Buah's mother and represents the acronym “Keeping Us Authentic.”

“It is my pleasure to share a bit of my culture with you through my designs,” says Buah said in a press statement about bringing her limited collection to the U.S.

She also created to support her philanthropic division Kua Cares, an initiative that trains and employs visually impaired women in jewelry-making.

"I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so deciding to go into business for myself was not a hard decision to make," Buah explained about launching out on her own. "Also, sharing elements from my African culture through fashion lights up my soul. The heightened interest in African-inspired fashion lately is not lost on me. Through my brand, people get to experience Africa in an authentic way."

Buah says she has no regrets about starting her own business.

"The fact that I can see the positive impact my decisions have on people," she says. "From the smiles on my clients’ faces to the fact that through my brand, my employees in Ghana, some of whom are visually impaired, get to earn a living."

Buah describes Kua Designs as "authentic, vibrant, timeless."

Vibrant is also how Buah describes New York City.

"I love that I can get my favorite food at 2 AM in New York! I love the different cultures, the vibrant nightlife and the 'if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere' attitude," she shares.

Buah has made it in NYC--and everywhere.

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Ann Brown has been a freelance writer for more than two decades. She studied journalism at New York University and has her B.A. Born in New York City, Ann lived in Praia, Cabo Verde, for nearly a decade. She created “An American In Cape Verde,” a Facebook community. Among the topics she writes about are: business, travel, entertainment, and lifestyles.

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