Laini Creations (Swahili for ‘soft and luxurious’) officially launched on 20 August 2020, something creator, Sammy Gwatidzo, says was “quite daunting during lockdown as things were up in the air at the time”. But she says, “It has been an amazing personal journey as well as a business journey for me.”
Laini Creations started when Sammy struggled to find good, long-lasting quality satin products and launched a range of chic satin bonnets/doeks and pillowcases after sourcing quality materials for personal use. “So I thought, let me start my own thing and see how it goes,” she says.
“I have always had a passion for all things beautiful. I am a skincare junky at heart and have natural hair as well so satin is important. The brand is about enjoying the simpler things in life and luxury is one of them. Satin is such a protective material that makes sure your hair and skin doesn’t dry out.
We are a proudly South African, all-women company and truly value giving back to South African women.
I wanted something that works and I want to give other people access to it. It literally just snowballed from there and I got revelation upon revelation in terms of what else I can offer."
Decision to go online and eCommerce?
Because of lockdown it was obviously the right way to go. It also made sense as my target market is a younger demographic who use ecommerce. What was important was fostering trust because a lot of platforms don’t get that right. It is convenient and there are lots of amazing services which I found out about after lots of research.
There is a lot of capital input in having physical stores that are only available in one location and I wanted to have it accessible to the whole of South Africa. Having a physical store does limit you quite a bit. I do have pop-up stores – one in 012 Central in Pretoria and I am looking at Market on Main in Johannesburg and others.
It was thorough research. I am analytical at heart and rates, a merchant account and plugins were important. I use Shopify as a platform which was important as I am not a techie person and Peach works well with Shopify.
What also appealed to me was the rates and how accessible it was. It was cost-effective and the support and turnaround times were really great. The onboarding was amazing and easy. It’s very important that everything is clear, legible and the safety aspect is key.
Ease for customers is also very important and on Shopify, you can see where people fall off in the process. I found a boost in payments when I started with Peach as opposed to when I used another payment gateway. The fee for refunds and turnaround times are quick and fair.
What is on offer for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
What advice do you have for other businesses going online?
Don’t be scared – there is not a lot required in terms of upfront capital. Have a reputable brand behind you and be very clear on your mission. Make sure your safety protocols are in place because that is very important to you and your customers. Just do it. Try it out - there are cost-effective ways to do it and you are not tied down. It is worth it.
What's next for Laini Creations?
There is a lot more in store and there are other avenues we are approaching that customers can look forward to.