Scene 3: Sustainable Sales

Tuesday, December 2nd


While the team was away on Thanksgiving Break, an email was sent to us from Peter, the Wonderbag distributor. The news was very exciting: Kiddies College had sold the initial five Wonderbags and just purchased four more about four business days after they started the Pilot Program. This showed promise that the model is effective and will continue after our departure. The team was excited and decided to check in with Kiddies College once we got back to Cape Town. We believed the feedback and the sales stories from Kiddies College would be very valuable to us and help us evaluate the business model. Also, we would provide them the large catering Wonderbag as we promised in the Pilot Program Contract once they achieved selling five Wonderbags. This meeting was planned and prepared earlier in the morning.

Cast of Characters
Mama is the cook at Kiddies College Preschool.

Miss May runs Kiddies College Preschool. She met with us to discuss the Wonderbag Pilot Program.

Mrs. Robinson works at Kiddies College Preschool.


Kiddies College Preschool is a crèche in Observatory. It has about 120 students in three classrooms. The building is a large community center. The kitchen is about nine square meters in size and is equipped with an electric stove, refrigerator, various appliances, and a table. A weekly menu was attached to the kitchen door and curry and rice was cooking on the stoves when the team arrived.


We arrived at Kiddies College Preschool at 11:30 and went to Miss May’s office. After several minutes, Mama came to share the Wonderbag sales log and the Pilot Program log. The crèche had sold seven bags. Mama said this was everyone she spoke to about the Wonderbags because, as she put it, “They don’t say no to me.” To congratulate her for her achievements so far, Jing gave her the catering Wonderbag and a Cape Town Project Centre shirt. Although Mama was excited to receive both, her eyes lit up when we handed her the catering Wonderbag. She then explained that the program was going very well, and that they contacted and received more Wonderbags from Peter. After our short talk, Mama had to leave to continue cooking the students’ lunch. The Energy Team stayed in Miss May’s office and talked about the success of the Pilot Program. After a brief discussion, we met with Miss May, Mrs. Robinson, and Mama in the kitchen. They also said that the Wonderbag sales were going very well and that Mama was leading the program. Overall they were pleased with how the Pilot Program was going. There were no major obstacles. Our visit ended on a high note with Jing being given a Graduation Cap and diploma.



The Energy Team with Mrs. Robinson, Miss May, and Mama


Reflection and Learning

Our visit to Kiddies College Preschool was extremely exciting. The Pilot Program was a success as they were able to sell seven Wonderbags in a week. This was promising as it showed the business model we had created had the potential to be sustainable. One thing that stood out to the team was the business instinct of the women. They had only purchased four more Wonderbags from Peter, which we thought was an interesting number as it was just one short of full inventory.  From the data they provided in the sales log, three of five initial bags were paid using the payment plans, therefore they only had money to purchase four new Wonderbags. In the payment plan, R110 is paid upfront when the Wonderbag is received and R100 is paid two weeks later. This information allowed us to understand their process of resupplying inventory. We noticed that they purchased the allowed amount based on the money they had received from the first half of the payment plans. Their strategy of only buying the amount allowed from their sales demonstrated their good practical business skills, but made us reevaluate the payment plan and the amount of time between each payment as it may be a minor flaw in the business model.

Mama was still very excited to be selling the Wonderbags. We loved her enthusiasm for the business and realized that she was the one leading the sales. This was an important observation for us as the cook had a big influence on the product; therefore, the sales pitch is more effective coming from someone that is using the Wonderbags every day.

The team was also relieved to see that the sales log and Pilot Program log were being used successfully and providing interesting data. From the sales log, we were able to see that two people bought them as gifts. Mrs. Robinson pointed out that they were a good present to give at the holiday season. Surprisingly, the Pilot Program log showed that safety was not as big of a factor for purchasing the Wonderbags, but both energy and money savings were always selected as a reason the Wonderbag was purchased. This information is very important for us, as it reaffirms our research and business model.

Scene 4: Low Income Energy Services Task Team Meeting