The retail brand Kab-Fam Ghana is well-known to a large number of Ghanaians. The company sells a variety of electronic devices and household items and is arguably one of the market leaders in the West African country’s electronics retail sector.
Its founder, Charles Antwi-Boahen, stated that establishing Kab-Fam Ghana was not initially in his plans. He worked as a salesman for a now-defunct retailer of central air conditioning systems. While they were there, customers placed orders for split-unit air conditioners that the company did not stock. As a result, he visited Electroland, a distributor of electronic brands in Ghana, to learn more about the company’s offerings.
“When I saw the margins on the company’s products, I realized we could do business together. I was compensated for referring buyers to Electroland. The founder recognized the opportunity and provided me with US$60,000 to start my own retail business,” he explained to HowWeMadeItInAfrica.
When Antwi-Boahen began his retail venture, the sector he sought to dominate was crowded with established players. He was relatively unknown, but his proficiency in online marketing proved advantageous. He had placed an advertisement on Google Trader for the company for which he worked. He chose to repeat that and created a lot of “noise” online to entice buyers. He did not have a showroom at the time and purchased his supplies from Electroland.
He continued to purchase supplies from Electroland until he achieved a certain level of success, at which point he registered Kab-Fam in 2013.
“In 2014, I rented my first shop with the help of a $60,000 soft loan that I paid off over five years. The following year, we were harmed by a power outage in Ghana. People were not purchasing, and the business suffered a significant decline,” he explained.
He resurfaced in 2016 and opened a new branch in Kumasi, Ghana’s second-largest city. Within five years, he expanded to ten additional locations by reinvesting his profits. According to him, Kab-Fam has opened four new locations this year and is in the process of opening a fifth, bringing the total to sixteen. Kab-Fam is now Ghana’s largest indigenous electronics manufacturer.
Antwi-Boahen continues to rely on Electroland as its sole supplier. Electroland, according to Antwi-Boahen, controls 50% of Ghana’s electronics and home appliance market, with Kab-Fam as its primary retail partner.
“Several manufacturers have approached me directly, but the solution provided by the local supplier is far superior. Relationships are important to me. Unless someone brings something new, there is no reason to look elsewhere for the time being,” he explained.
The path to establishing Kab-Fam and establishing it as a household name in Ghana was not easy. Antwi-Boahen stated that one of the most significant roadblocks he has encountered has been “human resources.”
“I have to keep an eye on everyone, which is difficult because people run the systems. That has been my most significant obstacle as an executive. The company now has stringent loss-prevention systems in place,” he explained.
Concerning his company’s next major move, the businessman stated that he will not rush into anything, even though he wishes to capture 50% of the market before expanding outside of Ghana.
Antwi-Boahen was recently named the 11th Ghana Entrepreneur and Corporate Executive Awards’ Outstanding Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2020. Additionally, he holds a degree from the Ghana’s prestigious University of Ghana.