Today we reached a key milestone towards the successful distribution of the water filters. Along with one of the factory staff members, I went to speak with several shop owners in Kiminini market to gauge their interest in selling the filters. Not only were they very excited about selling them, but they also said that selling them in installments would be no problem at all. The installments are a critical component, as most villagers said they wouldn’t be able to (or wouldn’t want to) pay 1,000 – 1,500 shillings all at once. Putting up signs and posters in their shops is fine as well.
I have the say that while there may be a lot of problems with business in Kenya, I do love the lack of bureaucracy (so long as the government isn’t involved). We were able to speak directly to the shop owner (often the only person working in the shop). At the end of the conversation, several owners asked if they could have some now so they could start selling them. No checking with procurement, legal, and a host of VPs all with their own agendas. They just thought it was a good product that their customers would like and they were ready to go. Very refreshing.
We spoke with the largest pharmacy and the largest supermarket, as well as several smaller shops. The more shops we can get into, the better. This will keep the pricing competitive, increase our brand awareness, and help ensure that most people can get the filter with a shop keeper they know and trust.
Based on the initial reactions of both the local residents and the shop owners, I’m far more optimistic that we’ll not only be able to launch the filters successfully in Kiminini and Kitale, but eventually roll out the filters to other areas such as Eldoret, Kisumu, and Nairobi. Overall, a good day.