Juliet Kennedy was weaning her first born daughter when she became obsessed with the food.
This prompted her to pay attention to everything she was putting into her baby’s system and in turn her own.
“I started sourcing my own food from farmers and producers who were not putting toxins into the food,” she says.
This led her on a path to find food that she could trace from the farm until it ended up on her plate.
While on her journey, she realised that the artisanal farmers and producers were struggling to get into the market.
They would be at farmers’ markets during weekends but during the week, they would take orders from various channels including WhatsApp, Instagram and others. This would then leave them with the logistical nightmare of getting the produce to the customers.
“There was a market for produce by consumers who wanted traceability of their food items,” she says.
The route to market for the small scale producers was the key challenge. Going to big supermarkets was expensive and most require large volumes of produce, which for these artisanal producers was not viable.
“They needed to target niche clients,” she says.
She took a year to do her market research for her concept Greenspoon.co.ke which offered a platform that linked producers and customers.
In 2016, she went live with Greenspoon. She started off by approaching suppliers she was already buying from and onboarding them.
“Brands come to us. Before we admit them, they have to meet a certain criteria. There has to be 100 percent traceability of product and ingredients, no unnecessary additives and preservatives,” she says.
They also look at the social impact and if the supplier preserves the environment. Her list of producers include Absolute Chocolate, Baraka Israel, Bateleur Beer, Bee Boy Food Wraps, Binti’s Nut Butter, Bio Fresh Milk, Brown’s Cheese, Ol Keri, Olerai Farm Duck, Sushila’s, Sweetunda and Tambuzi among others. They range from meat producers to flowers, cheese, jams, sweets, chocolates, beers to breads.
For Juliet, the digital space was one she had had experience in after founding a digital marketing firm years before her first child was born.
The firm showed businesses how they can successfully operate in the digital space. This however did nothing to prepare her for the logistics aspect of Greenspoon which involved getting the produce for the farmer and delivering it the consumers seamlessly.
Juliet then combined online shopping and next day deliveries.
“For deliveries within Nairobi, we do next day delivery with our vans. For those outside Nairobi, we outsource to a courier company. We have made deliveries of everything except ice-cream to Mombasa, Nanyuki, Eldoret,” she says.
According to Juliet, as an entrepreneur, she is faced with new challenges on a daily basis.
“Learning is a daily thing,” she states. The challenges range from human resource issues, stock management and logistics.
“I have learnt not to worry about what I cannot control. When the moment comes, you will find a solution,” she says.
Most entrepreneurs dive into their businesses head first, giving all their time to growing the business.
“Self-preservation is important in managing a business. It can be very involving and draining so we tend to throw everything into it. But, it is important to take time off. It is during this time spent away from the business that you think up the best ideas,” she advices.
She credits getting her concept off the ground to those she has been working with from the onset.
“Spend time on reconnaissance. There is a saying, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go as a team. The first person you hire is important,” she says.