Home Fashion Featured: Interview with Founder of RF Active brand, Racie Folson

Featured: Interview with Founder of RF Active brand, Racie Folson

‘RF Active is a luxury sportswear brand, founded by young, inspirational student and entrepreneur Racie Folson. RF Active is ‘Made in Ghana’ and inspired by Athleisure wear – perfect for working out and the day-to-day wear for the everyday Ghanaian woman. After founding RF Active at just 19 years old, Racie Folson shares more about her journey in starting the brand, her challenges in business thus far and vision for the future’

JF: For the purpose of this interview, who are you and what do you do?
RF: My name is Racie Folson, I am a student at Ashesi University currently studying Business Administration. I am also the founder of a luxury athleisurewear brand called RF Active.

JF: Tell me more about your business is what you do and your motivation behind starting the brand.
RF: The motivation behind starting RF Active came from personal experience. Growing up, people used to pass comments about me being rather slim which encouraged me to pursue my fitness journey in order to attain my weight gain goal. Whilst there is a lot to be said about body confidence and the often, insensitive passing comments from peers and older people within our families and communities, I sought to turn this into a business and a space to promote body positivity. In searching for fashionable yet comfortable athleisurewear locally, I found that a lot of the things that I liked were unaffordable as they were foreign brands and actually based out of Ghana. Once you add shipping costs, the prices just increase. It caused me to question whether I could bridge the gap by creating universally appealing products for young women like myself without the painful price tag.

JF: It is very interesting to hear how your need sparked a business idea. What would you say make your pieces stand out in comparison to others currently on the market here in Ghana?

RF: When you see RF Active, you know it is RF Active, from our distinct logo to the sleek designs and great quality material. We invest a lot into our designs and gain a lot of inspiration from the wider athleisure market globally. Our pieces are comfortable, breathable and fashionable. The unique thing about our pieces is that they can be worn to work out or as actual outfits as you can see from our social media pages.

JF: So, what were the main challenges that you faced in starting RF Active?
RF: I actually started RF when I was 19. I am currently 21 and at the time, the main challenge I faced was funding, notably due to the fact that I had started my undergraduate studies. In Ghana, there is often a lack of funding for young business owners which meant I did have to bootstrap the business early on. The second challenge I faced arose as we moved out of the lockdown phase during the pandemic last year. When my studies moved from in-person to virtual classes, I was able to be at home and be proactive in processing and packaging orders. This has changed as I am now on campus and some customers opt for next day delivery which does push me to do a lot of travelling from campus to my home office.

JF: I think the pandemic caused a lot of businesses to further improve their operations, so it is great to hear how you have been able to persevere in the midst of these challenges. Moving onto female entrepreneurship in Ghana, how have you found navigating life as an entrepreneurship within your industry?

RF: The fitness market in general is arguably saturated so setting RF Active apart from others was and still is at the centre of our ethos. It presented itself with its challenges, especially working with a limited budget but the key to overcoming this was prioritising our goals and finding ways in which we could maximise the budget we had to hand. We have utilised the growing influencer market in our strategy which has allowed us to increase our presence on social media and reach in audience.

JF: How has RF Active been able to work with existing organisations, influencers and initiatives to boost the awareness of your brand?
RF:
We recently sponsored Miss Malaika which in and of itself was an incredible opportunity. This was the first time any fitness company had sponsored their ‘Fierce Factor’ episode, where all contestants were wearing a particular brand. This allowed RF Active to get more exposure and enter the homes of Ghanaians as we do intend on becoming a household name when Ghanaians consider athleisurewear. This is hopefully one of many sponsorships we will go on to secure.

JF: Mentorship in life is key and business is no exception. Do you have a mentor or mentors and how have they helped you in your journey?
RF:
Before starting my business, I had a conversation with my dad about my plans and vision for RF Active. My father is also in business, so his insight has proved pivotal and I do see him as a mentor that I frequently call upon. I am also blessed to have an experienced business partner that I learn from daily and incorporate said learnings into our business strategy.

JF: What advice would you give to anyone that is also young and wanting to start a business?
RF:
Starting a business is not easy but a key component to your success is planning. Have a plan – have a five-year plan for your business. I previously thought that setting a five-year plan was cliché, but it really helps with knowing where you want to go. Prioritise key milestones each year and work towards executing them accordingly. Ensure that in your planning phase, that you have a solid business plan that outlines all the necessary elements of your business and is also ready and on standby in the event of pitching to investors.

JF: What can we expect from RF Active in the coming months?
RF: It is our one-year anniversary in December 2021 and we will be bringing back popular items from our various collections and hopefully doing a pop-up style event for our existing customers and hopefully new ones too. This is still in idea stage so do keep an eye on our social media and website too for more information on this.

Final Words:

It goes without saying, Racie Folson is an inspiring young entrepreneur meeting the need of the everyday active woman in Ghana. RF Active is growing and their growth has been incredible to see. The vision is clear and the future is bright. We look forward to seeing the heights that RF Active will go on to occupy.

Interview by Jennifer Frimpong

www.jenniferfrimpong.com

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