Intro: Launching an Ecommerce Store Based in Nairobi, Kenya in 3 weeks 🚀

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Building things is hard. It's particularly hard for me because I've never built and launched anything solo without a payout at the end of the project. I've been stuck in this loop of analysis paralysis, jumping from researching one idea to the next, listening to hours of the maker interviews, reading thread after thread about launching, yet doing nothing to actually start. I'm afraid it'll fail and that makes me uncomfortable. So I compensate by learning as much as I can, obsessing over details rather than just starting. Common advice from all the great makers I've learnt from is that the best thing to do is to just start. So that's exactly what I've decided to do.

GIF of Neil deGrasse Tyson saying Let's do this

I'm going to build and launch an e-commerce business in 3 weeks!

A bit of background. My girlfriend teaches people how to safely use firearms. I've heard her mention that her new students rarely have the basic protective equipment like eye and ear protection when they first come to the shooting range for lessons. There's only 1 shop she's aware of that sells these items, it's expensive and it doesn't have an online store. So we decided we'll start a side project to sell these accessories. I'm a software developer so I'll build and maintain it, she'll source the products and do sales.

A bit of googling tells me that to start an e-commerce business, I should follow the following steps:

  1. Finding products to sell
  2. Validating that there's a market for the products
  3. Obtaining the products
  4. Researching the competition
  5. Writing a business plan (😂 nah, not going to do this)
  6. Setting up the business (naming, logos, SEO content)
  7. Building the store
  8. Launching

I've decided to build this in the open, sharing every step of the process as I go. Others building in the open on Indiehackers have been such an inspiration and it's only right that I pay it forward.

What's so different about this series as compared to others out there? I'm building this business in Nairobi, Kenya. I've not found guides like these elsewhere and I hope it'll be helpful to others thinking of starting something.

Follow me on Twitter to stay updated on my progress!

Cover photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

Comments (2)

Henry "Dru" Onyango's photo

So, here's my two cents, albeit unsolicited.

I think one of the biggest things in e-commerce is market validation and logistics. Given you are importing, I am pretty sure you've figured out the logistics bit.

How about validating the market before building it? Wire up a quick catalog using Wix, connect that to Excel, and see if you can generate some orders prior to building anything? You're smart. I am certain this is well within your domain. If it works, you can proceed to build. Maybe even set a target on "validation revenue".

Or, get prior orders as you build?

All the same, tuko ndani nani 😂😂.

Allan Ibutiti's photo

Thanks, this is great advice!

I've partnered with a pretty well respected member of the community that has been making accessory sales for quite a while.

At the same time, we're looking into setting up within Whatsapp's commerce ecosystem, pretty fast to get started with very little effort.