Resource type: Case study
House of Kanzi
A Cornwall-based start-up business that sells artisan homeware and lifestyle products from Africa is gearing up to launch an e-commerce website thanks to expert support from Superfast Business Cornwall.
“Now that I have had time with the web specialist, I know what I need to do to develop my own website. I am now much more comfortable to experiment with it to find the best way for me to market my products.”
House of Kanzi started trading in September 2017 and owner Mili Pavitt was keen to enhance its online presence and make its products more widely available to new markets.
“I had heard lots of different opinions about the best platforms to use to build a website and, after doing some research, I decided to go with WordPress, which I find more flexible and easy to use,” said Mili. “The problem was I had never used an e-commerce function before so I started to feel quite lost with it all.”
The Solution – Specialist IT and eCommerce Support
Mili attended a ‘Technology for Business Growth’ workshop in October hosted by Superfast Business Cornwall, which gave an overview of the digital technology available to businesses to help them streamline their business processes, reach new markets, create new products and grow.
She was assigned a Digital Business Adviser, Dan Piper, who provided one-to-one support to guide Mili through the development of a digital action plan. Superfast Business Cornwall also funded an IT specialist, as part of Mili’s 12 hours of support, to help in the development of the business’ e-commerce trading platform.
“Through Dan, Superfast Business Cornwall has given me access to a web specialist, which has been very useful, and something, that as a start-up business, I particularly needed to explore,” said Mili.
“Now that I have had time with the web specialist, I know what I need to do to develop my own website. I am now much more comfortable to experiment with it to find the best way for me to market my products. The IT specialist also helped me with setting up the back-end of the e-commerce site and showed me how to use it.”
Kanzi is a Swahili word meaning a ‘hidden treasure’. House of Kanzi sources, imports and retails African-made homeware, accessories and gifts. Mili, who was born in Kenya and whose parents still live there, sources products directly from the country’s resourceful and creative makers and suppliers. She aims to showcase their work and help them reach new markets.
She said: “I initially wanted to see if there was a demand for the different pieces I am selling and I have had a really good response. I can now confidently put the website with my products out there.
With the website up and running, the focus now turns to reviewing and optimising the site’s content to be found in search engines (SEO) and improve overall functionality so that Mili’s eCommerce website works as effectively as possible.
“Dan has been a great support. He has been on the end of a phone when I needed him and I was confident that if I tried something new there was someone there to help me.”
Funded by ERDF, Superfast Business Cornwall provides a fully funded programme of support to help businesses understand, adopt and exploit digital technology for growth. Delivered by a small team of experienced Digital Business Advisers, the service offers 1-2-1 impartial advice, website reviews, workshops for small groups and advice on connectivity to Superfast Broadband. Grant funding may also be available for new digital projects which help businesses grow and create jobs.