Quite a number of people have taken to social media to market their products and services and a young Kenyan designer Fredrick Gitari aka Young Freddie swears by the new marketing tool as well when marketing his African print shoes and accessories.
Young Freddie uses his pages on Facebook and Instagram with the names Youngfreddieclothing to reach his target market which is made up of young people between the ages of 16 to 35 and so far he says the response has been good.
“From our research, we discovered that this age group is heavily engaging on social media making it the easiest way to reach and speak to them. Most of this age group will find out about a certain product online on the latest in fashion before buying them. Secondly, social media is the most cost effective channel of marketing for a start up affordable way to go on marketing the products online,” said Gitari.
Unlike with other designers, Gitari took the African route to show that African fabric can be used to not only make garments but also to accessories other items in our wardrobes giving one a chic and elegant look. He uses prints such as Ankara, kitenge, kente and any other fabric drawn across the continent to design shoes and other accessories like iPad covers.
To get the attention Gitari advised: “First of all they must know their products very well in order to sell its best attributes and also tag on to what is their unique selling point. This helps them reach appeal to social media users who unfortunately cannot interact with your product physically but rely on what you show , say and other users perception of your product to explain it to people who are not reachable physically and of the targeted market group.”
“Their online language needs to be consistent and engaging to appeal to social media users,” he said.
Young Freddie is currently being incubated at Nairobi’s Nailab a tech incubator and he says the reason for this is because they wanted to serve not only Kenya but Africa and the entire world and they saw a need to come up with an e-commerce platform to potentially increase visibility, enlarging their market size in the process.
“Our main reason to join the incubation was to build the web-shop where we our clients from all over the world can buy from by placing their order and we then have their order delivered to them across the globe,” said Freddie.
“Our products can be bought at both wholesale and retail prices. At a wholesale a pair of shoes goes for ksh.1000 and at retail between ksh.1500 and 1800 depending on the type of the shoes, “ he added.
One of the challenges Gitari has encountered is convincing Kenyans that apart from Clothes there are also products like shoes that can be designed out of African fabrics but this has changed over the last year as people are now appreciating the work.
Additionally, with this line of marketing one needs to invest a lot of time and effort to continuously engage with their audience who translate into customers.
“Some people appreciate the products but they want to see the products physically this creates limitation due to distance if they are out of Nairobi, however due to the customer testimony we have, they have faith is us and go ahead to place their orders, and we have not received a return order or complain on our products so far,” said the designer.
“We work on orders, and for the order to be processed we asks for down payments, this has been a challenge to many but we always advices our clients to keep the M-pesa transaction text in case of anything ,” he added.
Young Freddie recently got a Ksh 1million round of investment at the Nailab Demo Day and he is now planning to use the money to set up a workshop, a major physical store and machines to increase productions so as to accommodate the demand in the market.