The month of August has been a rollercoaster for me and the Big Box team. What a journey! We have come so far, and yet we have a long way to go. We started the month off by launching the site after months of preparation, anticipation, a few disappointments but also sound victories.
A brief refresher for those that might be interacting with my project for the first time. Big Box is a multi vendor eCommerce site selling only locally made products from youth-led entities. In addition to being a market place, we have a strong focus on empowering the youth artisans through learning and community. We are building a community of youth artisans and share business development resources every month.
We officially launched Big Box on the 9th of August 2020 with 3 vendors. The vendors include;
Rungi’s - A Ugandan tailoring business that aims at providing quality everyday products for its customers at affordable prices. Rungi's pride themselves in being African and therefore custom make all of their products predominantly using African print fabrics.
Reminac Studios - An art, design and multi-media publishing house dedicated to offering all art, design, and multi-media solutions to the community.
Dichotomy - A small business aimed at sustained versatility of African crafts for household/home decor concepts and defining more untapped dimensions of African crafts. Their dream is to become a generational household brand, with an established reputation for Versatile African crafts and decor concepts.
We registered a good number of sales in the opening month and are hoping for more as we attract more visibility from our target audience. For community building portion. I created a WhatsApp group for the vendors in which they network and talk to one another, a step in the right direction for us to build the community we desire.
On the learning side of things, I created a learning resource from a book. “Social Media Management: Technologies and Strategies for creating business value”, a book I recently started reading and found valuable. The feedback on this has been mostly been positive.
To strengthen our voice, we have relied on 2 marketing channels; social media and email. We have a Facebook page, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts for social engagement and email engagement efforts set up. We’ve seen our social media engagement grow immensely in our first month, especially on Facebook so that has been very encouraging to me and the team.
In mid August, we started a marketing campaign called “Meet the Artisans” to tell our artisans’ story to our global audience. We started off by featuring Keryn, the founder of Rungi’s, and showcased her story and products on social media, email, and on our site blog. The campaign has received very good reviews especially on our blog with multiple comments and feedback coming in, all inspired by Keryn’s story.
At the end of August, the Big Box, myself included, had a planning meeting to discuss our first month wins and lessons learned. We also starting brainstorming strategies that we could potentially execute at the beginning of next year.
For the month of September, we will be featuring Reminac studios and Dichotomy in the Meet the artisans marketing campaign. We are also working on adding a few more youth vendors.