Founded last year by Charles Kariuki, the platform sells jewellery, handbags, nail polish, accessories & make up and is adding to its inventory day by day to be the regions go-to place for all products related to beauty and fashion.
Kariuki told TechMoran that before launching the online portal, the firm used to sell its products door to door but it became so bulky as the business expanded, making it tedious and cumbersome to reach more buyers.
“We then realized that we could simplify our business by having an e-commerce platform leveraging on social media showcasing all our products, 24/7 where buyers can place orders at the comfort of their offices, homes or even mobile phones.”
“We do deliveries all over Kenya. Deliveries within Nairobi are done by our in-house delivery team. For out of Nairobi deliveries, our courier partners are ‘Data Rush Couriers’ & ‘Wells Fargo’,” he told TechMoran.
To stand out from other online beauty platforms, Lavishbeauty.co.ke said it imports stuff from reputable wholesalers in: Asia, UAE & Europe and since October 2012, the firm has sold close to $20,000. Kariuki uses the daily profits to plough back into the firm that has since been running on his personal savings. He is also considering taking in seed investment from a number of angel investors who are carrying out due diligence and valuation of their startup, with plans to invest in it.
“We have not finalized any deal so far. The last valuation we had from an interested investor in November was $166,666,” said the 31 year-old Information Systems and Technology graduate. In two years, Kariuki wants to see Lavish Beauty, which he began in his bedroom to be processing over 100 orders a day, plus have its own delivery fleet of 10 motor biker riders.
He also wants to grow the startups product portfolio to include clothes, hats, sunglasses and world renowned cosmetic brands and be a go-to place for women’s lingerie like Victoria’s Secret. He also says, if all goes well , he will launch a home and babies’ line dubbed as ‘Lavish Home’ to cater for those who need to decorate their homes and also for mother’s who shall need products for their babies.
Though talking with ease, Kariuki says things are not always rosy, especially for him running an online startup, especially due to lack of trust from first time buyers.
“We solve this by offering ‘Cash on Delivery’ services. This works well for first time buyers who can view the products and verify their quality before paying for them. Another being fraudulent buyers, who may claim that they made an online payment yet they did not. Others are those who order online and upon delivery they avoid receiving the goods. We solve this, by screening buyers, though this is not always full proof,” he said.
Now at the helm of Business Development & Operations, the laid back fellow says this is just the start and hopes to drive the business to greater heights. However, he reminds us that despite his busy entrepreneurial itinerary, he spares time for his girlfriend and his friends from Church and his other passion, cars. He advises other entrepreneurs not to forget that they are normal people who need to care for others and also need love.
“I love cars, and I always keep all the performance stats in my head. For “boy toys” Subaru’s reign for me, especially the WRX Sti and for “Grown Men Cars” Benzes. I also love Gospel Hip Hop and you can catch me listening to “Flame” or “Lecrae” most of the time,” he advises.