Launched in October 2012 in Nairobi ,Kenya, UK Kiosk are fashion enthusiasts offering personal shopping and home décor with the convenience of free/home delivery of products from the United Kingdom.
TechMoran caught up with WairimuNgugi, the C.E.O UKkiosk and this is what she says she is building.
What problem do you solve?
We first began by bringing a lot of the fashion brands popular in the UK such as Dorothy Perkins and Forever 21 to Kenya to those who desired these high quality items but did not have the means to do it on their own affordably. Most of our competition marks up their prices quite significantly.
We allow our clients to shop trends as they develop and have exclusive pieces that are not the mass produced items we have in a lot of our shops here in Nairobi but still maintain affordability.
We then also started offering to bring in items from the UK either found online e.g. from amazon or elsewhere for people who did not know how to go about it. This personal shopping service also serves our clients who have a hard time finding certain items here either because of size or preference.
Our Slogan: Because It’s Personal
How does it work?
We carefully handpick items from the UK and purchase them then upload a catalogue that specifies sizes and colors then allow our clients to book/reserve items they want and once they arrive, we contact them and they pay and fit upon free delivery. A lot of times, the same item is booked by several people so we reserve on first come, first serve basis but note down the other clients as well so that should the person who booked it not pick it for any reason, there is someone next in line. This however, hardly ever happens.
Any items that are not booked are displayed in the shop and put up in an album on Facebook upon arrival.
We find items in the UK and upload pictures on our Facebook page for people to place their orders. These pictures are coded and have descriptions right down to fabric and colors. Our clients then email us with the code of the item they want, and their size. Once we purchase, we send a confirmation email with an estimated date of delivery. Once they arrive, we contact them and they pay and fit upon free delivery. If the person who ordered it does not pick it for any reason, we put it up for sale and usually sell it within 2-3 days.
A client sees something online in the UK that they like or have something in mind that we do not have in stock. They will then contact us with a link, picture or description. For electronics and such items, we charge 600 KES per Kg and 3000 as a service charge. We require 50% to be paid upfront because it is hard to re-sell certain items in case of anything. The rest is paid upon receipt. For Clothing however, the client tells us budget per item, we send pictures of what we find and we ship upon approval by them.
What do you sell?
We sell women’s clothing, home décor items and customized gifts (both male and female) from the UK.
What are the payment methods?
Mpesa and Cash depending on the scenario.
Do you deliver?
Definitely! For free within Nairobi and at a cost around East Africa and other regions in Kenya, dependent upon the clients choice of courier.
Who are your target users?
Stylish women of all ages.
UKkiosk is co-owned by a mother and 2 daughters which allows us to cater to women with different styles and preferences.
Any competition in the market?
Our excellent services and multi-faceted approach ensures that we do not have to worry about that.
How unique are you from the competition?
We make sure that there is no way you leave our store empty handed. If we don’t have it, we can and shall find it! Affordably!
Any Funding yet?
We pooled funds from our savings. One of us obtained a loan from a SACCO to help with inventory.
Shipping has been our greatest challenge in that we get disappointed sometimes when we expect something to arrive and it does not.
We solved this by allowing for delays when estimating the date of arrival.
As the founder of UKkiosk what else have you done?
At 24, I have a degree and Post graduate diploma in Human Resource Management. My experience coupled with the Masters I am currently pursuing in Entrepreneurship and Development, will allow me to impart the knowledge I learn to others through training, once I graduate.
Any Upcoming expansion plans?
Our website will be up in 2 weeks to reach those who are not as keen on social media. We also intend to participate in more fashion events in Kenya such as The Naivasha Fashion weekend to expand our clientele.