Della x UO Interview: Ruby Gbassakpo
Ruby Gbassakpo, a head seamstress at Della, spoke to us about what it's like living in Ghana, her plans to open her own sewing shop, and her favorite American music (Celine Dion!).
Where did you work before Della and how did you become part of the team?
I was a cleaning lady at the hospital. I didn’t like it because I wasn’t using any of the skills I learned from my sewing apprentice. Esenam’s [another seamstress] mom worked at the hospital, and we became fast friends. When Esenam found out I had my sewing certificate, she told me about Della. I quit my job at the hospital and started working at Della soon after. My first day, I worked on small tasks, like making piping and fixing labels. I have worked here for two and a half years now, and I am considered a leader among the ladies. I am very happy here.
What do you and the ladies talk about during the work day?
Sometimes we discuss about our boyfriends and we laugh at them. We like to make fun of each other. When someone sews a Della label on backwards, we tease them. We also like to sing gospel songs together while we sew.
What do you like to do for fun?
I listen to American music like R. Kelly, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston. I like watching Ghanaian and Nigerian TV and films. My favorite American movie is Romeo and Juliet. I read everything. My boyfriend and I like to go out to eat together at restaurants. I go to church every Sunday, and I am always singing and dancing there.
Do you have any beauty secrets?
It takes me two minutes to get ready in the morning because of my hair is in braids. Every month I get paid, I change my hairstyle. I always wear skirts and tops. I get my toenails painted every week at my friend’s salon.
Do you have any children?
Carine, my daughter, is 9 and a half years old. I have tried to teach her to sew before, but she doesn’t like it. She wants to be a doctor.
Where did you learn your craft? How long have you been sewing?
I started my sewing apprenticeship with a madam seven years ago, and it took me three years to complete.
Do you ever wear your own creations?
I sew my own dresses. I don’t have a sewing machine at my own house, so I haven’t made as much for myself as I’d like.
What is your favorite Della product?
I like making the laptop cases. We were making them the first day I came here, and it still remains my favorite thing to make.
Do you have a secret talent?
I am a singer. I sing gospel songs at work while I am sewing. I also sing at church in a choir.
Do you cook? What’s your specialty?
I cook for me and my daughter when I have the time. My favorite food to make is banku with okra and green leaf soup. I enjoy going to the market and buying the ingredients, sometimes off of people’s heads. My daughter and I try to eat together every evening.
What do you want people to know about Ghana?
We have a lot of things here. We have freedom and self-expression. Everyone is unique. The waterfalls are a miracle and they are worth it to come and see.
What are your goals for the future?
I’d like to open my own sewing shop in Hohoe. I also want my daughter to go to college and get a good education.
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