Although KatyCan technically began in 2019, the business only really gained traction in 2020 when people were at home- frustrated, uncertain and with more time on their hands. What better opportunity to take advantage of people spending more time on social media than with a business targeted at people spending more time online?
This change in how people were spending their time was obviously not organic and was caused by the unexpected, unplanned for (dare I repeat it?) pandemic.
For any student completing their studies, adjusting to being back at home is tough. Having just come from Stellenbosch University, where interacting with people face-to-face was something I took for granted daily, I struggled too.
I went from scurrying around campus looking for news stories to publish for the campus newspaper to planning alternating coffee dates with my dogs.
On top of adapting to being home again, the 2020 pandemic bulldozed all plans for emigrating to the Netherlands. The ensuing lockdowns made the post-university adjustment a leap from ‘big’ to ‘unmanageable’. Dealing with the pandemic felt like having to jump over one of those gorges in old cartoons where the rickety bridge is broken and the gap between the two landmasses keeps widening before your eyes. Like most of us, staying home was like a punishment we grudgingly accepted because the alternative was …death?. Or so we thought.
Those initial weeks were harrowing, and I am sure we carry stories and traumas that will unite us for years to come. In those first few lockdowns, every person outside our walls was an enemy harbouring an invisible killer. I was mistrusting of my best friend of seven years. I didn’t see my favourite aunt for six months. I’d isolate myself from my family in the same house after getting groceries, coming home, sanitising and showering immediately after. I was paranoid, lonely and anxious. People scared me.
Our bodies were stationary in inescapable environments while our minds consumed Instagram posts, wild and misleading COVID statistics, social justice movements, death rates and tragedy. We were consumed by fast food, Netflix binges and Tinder (or was that just me?) and turned to healthy habits like exercise routines (no, that definitely was not me…).
What made this cartoon-like gorge of adjustment even more uncrossable was how social everyone was while not saying a word to each other- we were so consumed by activity while not needing to get out of pyjamas the whole day.
And that is how I learned how to conduct business. Sometimes (often) in pyjamas, ingesting more than my usual amount of NikNaks and, for the first time in my life, being able to help my parents pay the bills.
My first introduction to dealing with clients was through computer and cell phone screens. My father, who has been a huge inspiration to me in how he interacts with people, has always worked with people by…working with people. I have been growing KatyCan through devices… I have not met one of my clients in three years. Some I haven’t had phone conversations with. Some I have made personal connections with, and we remain in contact over WhatsApp. Some contacted me months after completing their orders, thanking me for helping them get where they were going. Some clients demanded refunds and complained about my process. These I welcome- these did (and do!) more for my business than the countless ones who sing my praise on FaceBook groups because through them, I learned how to better KatyCan.
Although I haven’t met a single client in the three years I have been running KatyCan, I have been growing my business both in the number of clients I serve, the types of services I offer and the way I interact with my clients- even if it is through computer and cellphone screens. Three years in, and I still haven’t met a customer.