Online shopping is a rising trend worldwide. With many individuals immersed in their careers, time and convenience are considered valuable. Many individuals have thus had to rely on online shopping.
When Makena Murungi and her husband James Bukusi were expecting their first child, getting into the online business was not something they thought about.
It is the challenges they faced while trying to prepare for the arrival of their child in acquiring the right baby stuff and everything that their child would need, that brought a lot of frustration to them.
Luckily for them, they had networks across the country who provided a means to get some of the items they needed.
Due to everyday constraints, they realized that not every soon to be parent had the convenience and time to move from one shop to another in search of the right items for their babies.
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This is around the same time that a business idea struck.
“We realized that during pregnancy, and by extension after childbirth, the mother has to mostly by herself, go through a tough experience getting the right stuff for herself as well as the baby.
“The father may sometimes be available to run to the shops buying these things, but more often than not, he does not get the right details of what the mother or the little one really needs.”
To cover the gap they had identified, the couple started off by buying some baby products and advertising them through their Facebook pages. With Ksh15,000 as their capital, they were able to sell most of the goods they had bought.
They soon realized that if they set up an online shop, they would be able to sell more. With their little background knowledge in e-shopping, they decided to set up an online shop – something that would be more accommodating and easily navigable compared to Facebook.
June 2018 thus marked the beginning of the Mother and Baby Shop. This is now an online marketplace dedicated to “convenient provision” of all the supplies that an expectant mother requires, and what the baby needs until they attain the age of five.
On their website, one can make diaper subscriptions and conveniently have them supplied with their related necessities such as baby wipes at their homes after making their payment either through mobile money or credit card. Customers also have the option to pick the goods themselves from the company’s website in Ngara, Nairobi.
“We sought to fill the gap of catering for the mother and the baby. We realized that there could be others in a situation similar to ours, that due to their busy schedules they are unable to go in search of these items.”
With a team of four bikers who are subcontracted to make deliveries across Nairobi and couriers to make deliveries outside Nairobi, they are able to serve between 60 and 70 clients a month.
It takes a day to make deliveries to clients within Nairobi but for those outside Nairobi, they get their deliveries a day after making an order.
A peek into their website just shows how much they supply. Murugi talks about how their online shop largely deals with original products as they work with internationally renowned brands, something that enables them to stand out from the competition.
With many online shopping sites, theirs too faced challenges. At first, it was difficult for them to trust those that had been tasked with making the deliveries to get the goods to clients and in good condition.
Many of their clients too found it hard to pay for items before receiving them. With them sometimes feeling that what they saw on the website could be different from what they got.
Despite this, however, their online shop has expanded and not only deals with new mothers and babies supply but has also included parenting books, and after-birth care products as well.
“We supply baby nursery furniture, including cribs, and baby cots as well. We have a variety of up to 500 different products for both the mother and baby.”
The couple’s target is for the business to be a leading enterprise for provision of mothers and babies items, in East Africa.
Their advice to upcoming entrepreneurs is that online businesses offer endless possibilities for investing. However, one has to conduct research, and understand their target customers’ needs then seek ways to solve those needs.