Fluffy Buttah expands to a new product through an upscaling program.
Fluffy Buttah is a body-care start-up focusing on organic products. “Our goal is to provide effective skin care products that fit the needs of our customers,” said Wakonyo Kimeria, the founder of Fluffy Buttah.
Like most start-ups, Fluffy Buttah desired to grow but did not have sufficient capacity and skills. Wakonyo said that the company hoped to expand into producing more products, but even marketing and scaling up the current product was challenging. “In addition to the limited capacity, our product was also affected by the consumer expenditure cuts resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, and this strained our revenue the more. We also did not have the right skills to understand the market gaps, innovate accordingly and formulate a new product,” Wakonyo adds.
Most Kenyan entrepreneurs who establish businesses do not have sufficient knowledge of the industries they intend to specialize in or adequate business skills (Kasi Insights, 2021). These entrepreneurs set up enterprises and try to wing them by learning and unlearning along the business. However, this method has led to an increased capacity gap within the SME sector, and as a result, most of these enterprises face the risk of dying pre-mutually.
Realizing the need to bridge the skills capacity gap for the business, Wakonyo joined Invest in Africa’s upscaling program for manufacturing small and medium enterprise (SMEs) in natural products clusters. The program involved five modules: Access to finance, market access, transparency and traceability, new product development, and good manufacturing practices.
“I have enrolled though most of the classes for the various modules, and we are continually implementing important lessons and good recommendations to scale up the enterprise,” said Wakonyo.
Fluffy Buttah has recently launched a new product in line with the initial desire to grow through product expansion. “The ‘new product development’ module was more urgent for us because we wanted to expand. The program has enabled us to formulate and market the new product successfully. We thought we needed immense funding to start on a new product, but the module demonstrated how possible it was and supported us throughout the journey,” Wakonyo adds.
In addition to the new product development, the program has supported Wakonyo and the other entrepreneur to formalize their businesses by introducing new management and production practices, adopting professional structures and systems to comply with trade and market regulations, and adopting prerequisite tools to reach more market and successfully engage vital industry players.
“I am part of the entrepreneurs attending the 2023 BIOFACH Trade Fair in German under the upscaling program. This is an exceptional opportunity for me to learn from industry experts and successful entrepreneurs, network with important players and like-minded individuals, and understand the imperatives of venturing into the export market,” Said Wakonyo.
Fluffy Buttah is one of the 40 enterprises from Kenya and Uganda that enrolled in the program for upscaling manufacturing SMEs in natural products. The program was implemented by Invest in Africa (IIA) in partnership with GIZ Business Scouts for Development.