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From the left ( Benedict Kuloba, Fiona Kathure, and Reynolds Mungai)

Meet The Three Founders Behind Kenya's Second-Hand Clothing Marketplace Lukhu

Startups

March 9, 2022, 1:38 p.m.

Reynolds Mungai (CEO), Benedict Kuloba(COO) and Fiona Kathure (founding Executive) are the three forces behind Lukhu, a Kenyan social app for secondhand clothing retail.

Rey is a Product Designer with years of experience working at Jumia and Safaricom and several fintech, e-commerce, and marketing companies. Benedict has worked as an Investment Analyst and Finance Associate at Alphafrica Asset Managers and Jumia before Lukhu. While also operating a secondhand clothing store on the side, he dreamed up the solution that would become Lukhu. Fiona is Lukhu's VP of Brand Management. A former Business Analyst and Performance Manager at Jumia, she has comprehensive marketing experience in online and offline sales.

For Benedict, the idea behind Lukhu came after an enlightening experience of running an apparel resale business while in university. It was a pretty rough market made of aggressive retail brokers who swindled any naive shoppers walking by the overcrowded market stalls.

For Rey, starting Lukhu culminated in a long career in e-commerce, product design, and fashion. Having founded an eponymous streetwear fashion label, he had first-hand experience with the pain points that Lukhu solves, such as the lack of a dedicated fashion e-commerce platform that provided end-to-end solutions for sellers.

With all these experiences, Lukhu was incorporated in Kenya on 5th November 2020. "We spent a lot of time doing market research to understand our market and define solutions that will adequately serve our users. We then incorporated in Delaware towards the end of 2021 and have been in Beta since 11th February 2022. We are planning our public launch in March 2022," Benedict told DT Africa.

Essentially, Lukhu is an e-commerce platform providing listing, payments, and fulfilment for fashion in Africa. Lukhu makes it simple, convenient and affordable to buy and sell clothing online. Lukhu was born out of a need to solve fashion buyers' and sellers' challenges in Kenya and Africa at large.

The platform boasts of Speed and Simplicity when listing - Users can list their items on Lukhu in under a minute.

The platform also features an Escrow for Buyer and Seller protection, aka LukhuPay - Funds are protected through our escrow payment wallet. This also ensures returns and refunds are seamless.

Lukhu further has a Fast and Affordable delivery, aka Lukhu Mtaani - Neighborhood pick-up and drop-off points, and a fleet of delivery associates, significantly improving users' fulfilment efficiency.

The platform additionally has an Economic Empowerment for sellers - Through optimisation features such as advertisement and performance statistics, sellers can manage and grow their businesses.

"We also plan to offer credit facilities to sellers and help them source sellable stock. Currently, thrift sellers can only sell 40% of their stock, and we aim to push that to 80%," Benedict mentioned.

Lukhu uses biodegradable packaging materials and aims to use e-bikes to make deliveries, aka loving the planet one garment at a time. "We will have donation programs as well and promote the upcycling industry by enabling our buyers to be sellers as well in cases where they need to declutter their closets."

Lukhu emerged winners of Founders Live Kenya and Africa -a global entrepreneurial festival celebrating creativity, innovation, economic diversity and pure entrepreneurial grit. The competition, based on Voting, got the startup the highest votes in Kenya and Africa and, in turn, won prizes worth $15,000.

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The founders say they are currently raising $50,000 to achieve product-market fit as part of a larger $300,000 Pre-seed round, and they have progressed significantly with several interested investors.

"Currently, we are solving these problems for users in Kenya with plans to ramp up and expand to adjacent markets in Africa. We are currently conducting market research in these countries to understand the different demographics."

"When we started, we knew that we were tackling a huge problem and that it was not going to be easy. We have faced several challenges, from product development to fundraising as an early-stage venture, but these challenges have not discouraged us from continuing on this journey."

"As I mentioned, we are planning on a public launch in March 2022, and this will be the beginning of amazing things for fashion e-commerce in Africa. Over the next couple of months, we will be releasing several product features to continue improving our user experience and ramp up solutions for our sellers and build sustainable businesses with them.

Lukhu has recorded over 500 user sign-ups for Beta before launch, and "we are positive the numbers will keep growing once we launch publicly."

To sign up for the Beta, head to http://lukhu.co.ke

Are you an investor interested in helping Lukhu power fashion commerce in Africa? Send an email to rm@lukhu.co.ke

To contact Lukhu as a partner, email benedict@lukhu.co.ke

Are you a press? Email Lukhu at info@lukhu.co.ke

tag: fashion, ecommerce, Startup, Kenya, fashion tech,

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Verny Joy Author

Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.

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