How this snack company won over informal traders

by MMC
0 comment
Debby Lawson, founder and COO of Fastizers, speaking at the launch of the company's Nibit brand.

Debby Lawson, founder and COO of Fastizers, speaking at the launch of the company’s Nibit brand.

In 2010, Debby Lawson founded her cookie company which would become known as Fastizers, recognized for its Fun Cookies brand. At that time, she was still baking her cookies in the kitchen of her sister’s apartment in Lagos, selling them mainly in office buildings and a few neighborhood stores.

Her then fiancé, now husband, Gbola Lawson, offered to help her expand her retail presence in the mass market. In Nigeria, this involves entering the informal retail sector, which is estimated to account for 90% of consumer goods sales. This ecosystem includes street vendors, street stalls and large open-air markets, interspersed with street vendors weaving through traffic. For fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturers who want to reach a large buyer base, it is essential to offer their products to these suppliers. However, penetrating this complex maze can be a difficult endeavor.

Gbola developed a strategy to reduce the risk for suppliers to stockpile the company’s products. One Saturday, armed with several packets of biscuits, he took to the streets. At a busy bus station in Lagos, he approached a shopkeeper and handed him six parcels without demanding payment. He promised that if the cookies remained unsold by Monday, he would buy back the stock. Seeing no inconvenience, the seller agreed. Gbola made the same arrangement with two other informal sellers.

On Monday, Debby, full of impatience, called the first salesman to check on the sales. He reported that all the cookies were sold out the same day and he wanted to order more, but he didn’t have her number. When she called the other two vendors, they also reported selling out of their cookies that afternoon. “I was excited; I was jumping,” Debby remembers.

Building on its initial success, Fastizers began supplying more inventory to these sellers, and soon the company was delivering three dozen packages daily to each supplier.

In 2011, Fastizers moved from Debby’s sister’s kitchen to its own premises. The company began contacting informal retailers at major bus stops in Lagos, using the same approach it had tested with the first sellers. Before long, Fastizers was supplying over 100 merchants every day. Later, the company began working with FMCG distributors instead of supplying directly to sellers.

Around 90% of Fastizers sales come from the low to middle income segment. These consumers generally use buses to travel and purchase from informal retailers. Although the company has a presence in modern outlets like Spar, which are frequented by higher-income consumers, these represent only a small percentage of total sales.

Read our full article on Debby Lawson and Fasteners: How this cookie company broke into the Nigerian market

You may also like

Leave a Comment

The news website dedicated to showcasing Africa news is a valuable platform that offers a diverse and comprehensive look into the continent’s latest developments. Covering everything from politics and economics to culture and wildlife conservation

u00a92022 All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by PenciDesign