Business is easy – all you need to do is figure out a niche, apply some time and a sprinkle of effort. Right?
Not quite. A new startup is like a new baby: it demands constant care and is needy for attention. It’s been less than 6 months since I first spoke to Phidi Kez Mwatibo about her new spicy chili flakes. At that point, she was only just kicking off her venture ‘Kez Organics’. Fast forward to August and she is already five products deep with a production cycle of 70 jars a week.
Pretty impressive for someone who still has a 9-5! “I still have my day job because I am still in love with PR…” she says. “I make time after work on Monday and Wednesday evenings to make the various products and handle all my deliveries on Tuesday and Thursday…”
Kez Full Line
Food will always be profitable. Entrepreneurs have realized this. However as markets develop, we search out better quality and a more personal experience– which is probably why there has been such buzz. Kenyans love it spicy – but let’s be honest, unless you are paying extreme amounts for imports that have been sitting on supermarket shelves for months, it’s tough to get a great flavored chili sauce or dip or rub if you aren’t making them yourself. And who has time for that?
Which is crushing it at the moment.
With Phidi behind the helm, involved in every single process – although she has managed to take on two employees with the growth of the business: someone to handle the bulk of the deliveries as well as someone who helps her prep. She can’t quite let go of her perfectionist tendencies and stays involved in the cooking, mixing, labeling, sealing and final presentation of all the jars.
She’s about to launch yet another product in the next few weeks – a dry spice rub for marinades or grilling and then just focus on perfecting the process and improving sales. This will add to the original Red Chilli Flakes, Red Chilli Dip, the Mild Salsa with Roasted Tomatoes and the Red and Yellow Habenero Dips – (extra spicy, extra delish)
Going viral isn’t as important to Phidi as getting real, honest feedback – and ultimately, that will translate into increased orders. Her social media strategy is about engagement: “Did you like the product? Send us a picture to show us the weird, wacky and wonderful ways you have been using it!..”
The taste parties will continue as will hectic days, as Kez Organics continues to bring on the heat.