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Just start: How we went from idea to launch in just 4 weeks


Just start: How we went from idea to launch in just 4 weeks

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Exactly a year ago, my high-school mate Charlton and I decided we would launch – a premium bag and luggage retailer. 

We went to work spending evenings and weekends preparing to launch before Christmas. The amount of work required was daunting! We had to negotiate deals with suppliers, design & set up our online store, take care of the physical backend (fulfillment, payments…) 

We had to work out strategy: target market, value proposition, brand positioning, product mix, policies, customer service models (we set up a very innovative model & our customers love it). All this while both of us were working full-time jobs. 

Within 4 weeks, we launched on the 14th of December 2018. By the 19th of December, we had delivered our first order to a customer based in Johannesburg for a Solo NYC backpack! God bless him!

Along the way, we got support from our families (my wife coined the name and still gives solid, candid advice), friends (my friend Benjamin talked about the business more than I do – I just had to bring him on board!), Radio hosts (Bruce Whitfield gave us a radio interview on 702 while we were just starting out), Suppliers (our first supplier opened the door when we had no track record), service providers (opened up networks and referrals) and other founders (sharing actionable advice). 

We also faced setbacks (an influential individual unfairly pulled us out of a very worthwhile competition on flimsy reasoning. This was after countless hours of preparation through most nights. I don’t cry much but I cried then).

We also had victories along. We had record sales in a few of the 2019 months. We saw interest from across the globe. Our first international order was to Canada for a South African made product. We’ve since shipped countless orders to the US, Europe, and Asia! We’ve had strong interest from potential investors who are keen to be a part of our story.

In a few weeks, we will be celebrating a year since launch. We have mind-blowing plans for the future and are currently negotiating contracts to make some of the plans a reality.

Perhaps someday I will share WHY we started – I get excited just thinking about that. My message to you today is: if you have a business idea that you are passionate about then #justStart! Use whatever is at your disposal to start.


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Thando is currently the Group Actuary at Clinix Health Group, having previously served as Actuary in Discovery Limited's R&D Lab. Thando loves tech, design, reading and is very passionate about the development of the African continent. Thando also runs, an omnichannel retail-tech startup. All views expressed are Thando's own and neither reflect nor are influenced by the views of affiliated companies.

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