A passion for Kenyan crafts turns into record online sales
“During my work with artisans in Kenya, I realized the challenges they are facing to access markets and gaining exposure. I asked myself, how can I support them? Using my creativity, I started to work with them and help them be seen.”
This is how Shop Nanjala, a home-décor and customized gift shop in Kenya, came into being. With over two decades of experience in the creative industries, the shop’s owner Teresa Lubano felt it was the right time to build a legacy that would inspire others. She created a one-stop e-commerce solution, selling environmentally conscious products that helped local artisans and craftsmen obtain exposure and opportunity. All of Shop Nanjala’s work is locally sourced and made in Kenya.
During COVID-19, even with the economy negatively affected by the pandemic, the business witnessed a record 514% growth in revenue compared to 2019. By March 2020, the company’s number of online conversions had increased exponentially. “Due to the pandemic, people rely more on online platforms and are more prepared and ready to use them for their convenience”, explains Teresa.
No beginning is easy, however. During its first four years of existence (2015-2019), the brand was mainly selling offline despite the efforts of optimizing its e-commerce brand. The team used the first years to build a consistent brand image and create a loyal audience thanks to an efficient customer service strategy.
For Teresa, social media, and especially Instagram, has been key for her company’s success. Most of the buyers start their customer journey on a social media channel, where they discover the products, and then move to the website to complete the purchase.
The business got a boost on social media when it benefited from the first prize of the E-commerce Story Pitch Contest in 2020, organized by the International Trade Centre’s ecomConnect project with the support of Charicomm, a digital marketing agency for sustainable businesses. Training during the contest looked at setting goals and using paid campaigns on Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
Teresa also participated in the International Trade Centre’s Facebook Live series E-commerce tips from peers, where she shared tips with new entrepreneurs.
1) stressed the importance of creating high-quality content and a consistent content plan, especially on social media
2) highlighted the relevance of tracking metrics to measure performance and embracing innovation;
3) and urged other entrepreneurs to offer outstanding customer service.
The founder also shared that her best secret is having a team of creative, visionary people.
Shop Nanjala’s dream is to see the day when Kenyans will buy products Made in Kenya: it is the team’s firm belief that these products have global quality standards and echo sustainable ethos.
Interested in finding out more on how to succeed in your e-commerce journey? Join the International Trade Centre’s next Facebook Live event here.