Scene 3: Looking for New Products

Friday, November 7th


The Energy Team worked several days from the lodge. This allowed us to set up several meetings and visits to local crèches. Our Tuesday meeting with Cindy, Jacques, Scott, and Steve encouraged us to seek out other energy products. These would be sold at various crèches along with the Wonderbags. The product we chose to consider first was the Waka Waka light, a portable, solar powered LED. After researching this product, we discovered that these lights are distributed by a new company called In2Brands. They distribute products across Africa; their two main products are Waka Waka lights and the EcoBoxx. The EcoBoxx is a compact, solar powered device that can provide power to a variety of electrical devices, including lights, laptops, cell phones, hair trimmers, and fans.

Cast of Characters

Ryan Styler is a Co-Founder of In2Brands. He is responsible for scouting brands and business development. In2Brands was created in 2007 when he partnered with Paul Hubers. This company distributes high-tech products that improve the lives of their clients.

Talana Cole is the Business Development Manager of In2Brands. She spoke with us over the phone and arranged this meeting.


The meeting took place at the Collingswood Building in Black River Park. This is a modern business park located in Observatory. In2Brands has an office space with a meeting room, desks for five employees, and product storage space. This picture shows a fountain located in a courtyard at Black River Park.


Courtyard at Black River Park


The day began with the taxi dropping us off at the wrong location; however, we called Talana and were able to find the In2Brands office quickly. Since we budgeted time for this, we arrived promptly at 11:00, when the meeting was supposed to start. Talana and Ryan greeted us and we began the meeting. To open, we introduced ourselves and described our project. Ryan brought up several concerns he had, primarily with the cost of the products being too high. Tati explained that we had a number of payment options. An idea that Ryan suggested to us was approaching a large bank or company and going to the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) branch. This sponsor would subsidize the product, allowing for them to be sold at a lower price. Talana then showed us two Waka Waka products which had company logos on them. This served as advertisement and reduced the cost of the light, which increases sales. Then, we began discussing Community Chest, an organization that distributes energy products to low income communities. Similar to our project, they also provide training.

The next topic we discussed was the various products that In2Brands sells. The picture below shows their wide diversity of products. Both the Waka Waka and EcoBoxx have a variety of models, all sold at different prices. The higher cost models offer longer battery life, more add-ons, and a higher wattage. The Waka Waka light costs R399, the Wake Waka Power costs R799, and the EcoBoxxes start at R1500. We agreed that the best starting products would be the R399 Waka Waka lights, due to the cost. The meeting ended on a high note, as Ryan said he wanted to support our project and expressed interest in working with another WPI team next year.


A collection of products sold at In2Brands

Reflection and Learning

After the meeting, the Energy Team ate lunch at a café near In2Brands and used this time to debrief. This was a highly beneficial meeting, as we learned about the Community Chest, an organization that does work similar to our project. Also, they work closely with Restio Energy, an organization we have been trying to get in contact with. Although we may not sell many of their products, this will greatly benefit our report to our sponsors, as it will provide more data on product pricing and potentially expand the network of people to work with. Ryan offered for us to buy a box of both Waka Waka products and try to sell them at crèches; although we did not take any today, we plan on using them as a trial. Finally, Ryan and Talana offered us a lot of advice and many insights on our project.

Scene 4: Gathering Community Energy and Crèche Information