Megan started Tuli with just a duffel bag full of paper beads and a big idea. Wanting to give talented Ugandan artisans a means to sell their vibrant crafts online to a global market of consumers, she came to me for assistance.
I was brought on to help set up the business, and develop a full-scale branding and marketing strategy.
Megan sought guidance on best practices for setting up the business, and clear parameters on how to operate an e-commerce business in the face of obvious logistical challenges. Establishing sales channels and a well-defined operational process was key to getting the business off the ground.
We started with the basics, rather than becoming an NFP whose mandate would be overly governed by legal requirements, we opted instead for Social Purpose Corporation status to give Megan flexibility to earn while also reinvesting in the talented Ugandan women of that were making this whole initiative possible.
For quality assurance, selected pieces were given spec sheets that broke down exact paper sizes for beads for quality assurance and consistency, and small single-piece production runs were tested.
We set up parallel online stores both on the Tuli website and on Etsy. I also created a proprietary forecasting tool so that Megan could easily manage product inventory and plan in advance for product shortages based on product popularity and average production & shipment times.
While on-trend designs were being created and rejigged, we tested the pieces and prices on consumers within our main consumer demographic.
We wanted to discover how heavily the charitable brand story impacted the decision to purchase as well as how much a consumer would be willing to pay for a piece when presented with accompanying information about social impact, so respondents were A/B segmented.
We were happily surprised by how drastically the “willing to pay” price-points rose when respondents were provided with information about the social impact of their potential purchase, and intent to purchase rose universally between 20-35 percentage points for each piece. We were aware that in practice, the prices couldn’t exceed average retail price-points by very much, so the pricing strategy was set up to account for this factor.
The logo was developed to look clean and reflect the intricate wrapping of the handmade beads.
The guiding values for the website were transparency and beauty. The website’s orange and ivy colours were selected to elicit feelings of freshness, warmth and organic beauty. The copy was written to provide honest information about the objectives of the business, and described in detail how Tuli’s jewelry production had a positive impact on the lives of the talented and hard-working Ugandan women who produced them.
A multitude of photoshoots were coordinated to showcase the gorgeous pieces in everyday contexts, for use on the website as well as social media.
Each item’s page featured a meta-description of the piece followed by a detailed description of the product make, and always took the reader back to the story of how the beads are made. Each page also explained how the purchase of that specific item contributed to helping improve the lives of the women producing them.
“Awesome. You rock, Lua. Your work is always so great and comprehensive.”
Megan Kitt – Founder @ Tuli Jewelry
Fast-forward to today, and Tuli is a flourishing business that is creating fashionable pieces that are both beautiful & unique, while empowering a growing group of women to support their families, get educated, and become professionals & entrepreneurs in their own rite.