Her startup, Victoria Food International Inc., is already featuring some of the popular brands in the agriculture sector on its shelves just a week after its launch. But Victoria Peabody, CEO of the startup, is thirsting for more.
"I am excited about this, but more has to be done. More Liberian products have to be on these shelves, and our doors are opened to welcome products from around the country," says Victoria.How it all started
Victoria, who is a returnee from the United States of America, says that she had found shopping for Liberian products across cities in Liberia frustrating. And her frustration, of course, led her to brainstorming a solution.
"It was just difficult to purchase all of our local products from one spot. Sometimes, I will have to drive to two or three different supermarkets to get what I wanted. So there was a time when I thought about having all of the Liberian made products, especially foods, in the same space. I shared this with my husband, and we started the planning process and now, here we are," she narrates. How does she source products?
Currently, her startup, situated along the Rehab Road in Paynesville City, features value-added products like cassava flour, ginger powder, and other preserved products such as dried pepper and bitter balls from local food processing companies across the country. Also, the startup has its in-store brand.
Social media marketing
Besides hosting products in the same space, the establishment of the business is also part of efforts directed to strengthening the nexus between farms and markets. And Victoria, who is also well acquainted with social media marketing, is making every post count on social networking platforms, including Facebook and WhatsApp. Though a newbie in Liberia's retail space, she is gaining exposure from posting photos or comments that are solutions to grocery shoppers and farmers.
"Everyone is connected to someone. For instance, if we tag a person in a post, automatically, friends of that person see the post, which is an exposure boost for us and, so far, the people that have been purchasing from us got to know about us from this approach.
"Another thing is that we have received phone calls from farmers and processors in other parts of the country who told us that someone told them about us, and they would love to bring their products," she says.
George Harris is one of the handful journalists passionately covering agricultural issues including fisheries in Liberia. He has been sharing agricultural and related stories with our company since 2016. George Harris holds a diploma in Journalism and a bachelor's degree in agricultural science.