Prior to the lockdown that was brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic, a Ugandan startup called Liquor House emerged from the chaos to take on the challenge of delivering affordable alcohol to part-goers or clients right at their doorsteps.
In the beginning, the startup had to compete with bars and other hangout places that were already selling alcohol to their clientele. But then came COVID-19, a situation that meant people would struggle to get alcohol or happen at all.
It has been during these hectic few months that Liquor House rose from the ashes, and started making more deliveries to clients in and around Kampala. Ensuring that people continue to party at very pocket-friendly prices with no worry of how or where they would get their “enjoyments.”
Recently, Liquor House opened its own online store to enable its clients to make orders online without having to struggle to identify where or who to contact about their orders. So, I spoke to their co-founder and team leader, Mr. Wandera Estone who shared with me the story behind the creation of their rising startup.
When was Liquor House started?
Estone had the liquor house idea as early as 2016 but because his parents first needed him to finish school just like any other typical African parent, he had no choice but to put a pause on it until February this year. This is when he shared the idea with 3 other colleagues and he is glad they bought into it and that’s how liquor house came to life.
What was the motivation behind the creation of Liquor House?
After being paid UGX 50,000 for a 2 months internship where he worked in two departments from Monday to Saturday, Mr. Wandera decided not to pursue formal employment after campus, and out of all the ideas he had, the liquor store stood out.
However, before Estone jumped into the crazy startup idea, the social media influencer wave came in and swept him off his original plan. He says that watching his brother lose his job and sit home looking helpless for a year pushed him back to his idea of Liqour House.
Mr. Wandera notes that every time he stepped out of the house to go fulfill his gigs obligations, he would return home only to find his brother in a dejected state, something that didn’t sit well with him.
“I couldn’t stand seeing this go on and it is in his deteriorating state that I picked up the motivation to start Liquor House. He is now in charge of the procurement department and is also a shareholder.” Says Estone.
“It warms my heart to see him occupied with work during the lockdown while other people are sleeping waiting for the situation to normalize even when we are not making THE money yet.” He continues.
What is your target market?
I asked Estone what his target market is considering that there are many alcohol suppliers around the place and he said: “Anyone that loves to enjoy their liquor without the inconvenience of having to get out of their comfort zone to drive or walk to the store as long as they meet the legal alcohol consumption age.”
“Your comfort zone could be your home, office, hostel, on the road, or any other place. For now, our focus is Kampala and surrounding towns but we hope to spread out to other major towns like Jinja, Gulu, Mbale, and more.” He added.
How has the lockdown helped Liquor house achieve their targets?
Our main goals currently are brand awareness and seamless customer experience, the lockdown has helped cement our position of being the go-to liquor store for anyone that loves fast delivery, fair prices, and low or sometimes no delivery charges. That way we have been able to raise both our brand awareness and defend our market position to our customers.
What are the challenges that you are facing at the moment?
Just one, unethical partnerships by some organizations that are disguising as small business saviors during this lockdown yet their actual intention are to reap them off in the long run. Beware of such “angels.”
What is very impressive about Estone is that his vision is to see LiquorHouse become a brand strong enough to franchise throughout East Africa.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Programs Manager at the Craft Silicon Foundation. He loves writing about sports, politics and news around the globe and Inspiring new young people!!