The next step at Chigwirizano was to help push the production to even greater heights.
To do this, we set up the following agenda of what we wanted to achieve before leaving the co-op:
1. Get a brand for the product and get the ladies behind it.
2. Understand the prices in the local market and what price point matters to people.
3. Understand the costs of production (fruit, packaging, labour, fuel and distribution)
4. Come up with a business plan for the next few months and some sales targets.
5. Understand the barriers that may stop us from delivering the plan.
We actually did all of this in two days. Alfred was pretty chuffed although there is lots more to do to make sure that we get the business on track for growth. It's not huge volumes compared to innocent but it's big news here and that’s all that matters.
My favourite session was the brand decision. On Monday night, we asked each person in the group to think of a name that embodied the drinks we were making. Then on Tuesday afternoon, we chose our favourite - "Muli Madyo" which means "Full of Energy and Richness" *. Then, I gave out some paper and asked everyone to draw how they wanted the labels to look. A few designs really stood out so we tried to bring this together into a final label.
We voted for our favourite design using stones.
And this is what we came out with.
Not bad for word art.
The next steps are to print out some labels, follow up on the actions we decided on (like branding up some bicycles and cool boxes and sourcing cheaper bottles) and to get selling.
The key learning from me in this process was making sure we went through every step very clearly so that each of the clients understood what was needed to grow their business. I guess it was quite similar to what we do at innocent, just different for a developing market and for a really local part of Malawi.
At the end of the day we had to say goodbye to everyone which was sad as we needed to visit more of the Microloan projects and get together with the head office team to make sure our findings were clear and well documented. We bought some bottles of juice and headed off, after a lot of fond farewells.
Before we left, there was just enough time for some local community radio PR about the juice factory and how amazing the product is.
*Apologies for my slightly rubbish translation.