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Cura├žao is home to many excellent and ambitious entrepreneurs, but they are missing out on opportunities, because of lacking or absent online presence. With Bon IT, Jesse and Olga embarked on a mission to create modern, affordable websites for Caribbean businesses.

Profile picture of Jesse van Muijden

Jesse van Muijden

Co-owner @ Bon IT

Migrating to Cura├žao

The founders of Bon IT, Jesse and Olga van Muijden, built their career in IT in The Netherlands. With its strong economy, this country is a great place to work. However, most days of the year are cold, dark and rainy. The indoor lifestyle and gray skies in The Netherlands can be quite depressing at times. Having worked for many years straight out of university without taking time off to explore the world, Olga en Jesse decided that it was time for a change of scenery. So, they packed their suitcases and emigrated to Cura├žao with their two young daughters. The climate, culture, food and outdoor lifestyle on the island drastically improved their quality of life. Moreover, they discovered an excellent opportunity to put their IT skills to good use and so they founded Bon IT.

Suitcases

Renovation and furnishing

The day after their arrival, Olga and Jesse immediately continued working remotely from their new home for their Dutch clients. Unfortunately, the previous owners forgot to honor their request to leave one of the dining table with chairs. So, the first few they days they worked from these rock hard sofa beds. Furnishing the house became their top priority, but in the days that followed they discovered many renovation projects around the house. The garden needed a make-over, the car gate was unreliable, the pool needed a new coating, the pool pumps had to be replaced, 72 ceiling lights needed replacement and much more. They desperately needed professional help from local companies, some of which they found online, but mostly via word of mouth and asking for suggestions in Facebook groups. It was a challenge, to say the least.

Unfurnished house

Shopping

This is when Olga and Jesse learned that one does not simply order things online and gets it delivered to one’s doorstep in Cura├žao. The stores that they were able to find online usually did not have an up-to-date inventory listed on their website. What followed was a marathon of driving around the island visiting store after store looking for the right products, that lasted for months. They realized that all the time spent on this quest could instead have been used to contribute to the economy. After completing the furnishing of the house and living on the island longer, they stumbled upon other stores with better prices and products than the ones they bought from. Another missed opportunity for these business owners and also for Olga and Jesse to save money.

Furnished living room

Planters

Buying garden planters was a typical ‘mission impossible’ out of several. Jesse and Olga were looking for elegant, straight, white planters for the pool area, front yard and balcony. These were very hard to come by and the ones they did find had ridiculous prices. Lost in desperation, Jesse decided to stop by a house that he drove past often on his shopping trips, which had a hand-painted sign that said ‘here we sell planters’.

Planter store sign

To Jesse’s surprise. The owner could offer almost exactly what he was looking for. The level of craftsmanship, speed of delivery, quality of service and the price were simply astonishing. If only this shop would have been easier to find, so he could have gone their straight away. It would have saved so much time and energy. And imagine the business this excellent craftsman misses out on, because probably most potential clients consider easier to find options first, before considering him. At this point, Olga and Jesse made it their mission to create affordable modern websites for all the beautiful Caribbean businesses out there.

Finished planters

Benefits of a professional website

A professional online presence allows more potential customers to discover your business. Not everyone will pass by your road sign and notice it, but they might use a search engine to look for the product or service you provide. Without a website, you will miss out on the opportunity to do business with those potential clients. A professional website must be high quality. That conveys the message that you know what you are doing. It will convince website visitors of your professionalism and incline them to do business with you. An up-to-date website enables customers to learn about your offering, browse products and services at any time that is convenient for them. Unlike a physical shop, an online storefront is open 24/7, opening the door for more business, even when you are not there. A website is a powerful marketing tool. It is the entrypoint for online advertising campaigns and allows you to engage with your target audience through contact forms, promotion of special offers, sharing information in blog posts, and much more. Having a website also allows you to sell products and services online. The convenience of online payments for your customers can significantly boost your revenue. Finally, your website can collect data about the characteristics of your visitors. Perhaps many people from neighboring islands and other countries are looking for your product or service. Such insights can uncover opportunities to scale your business out internationally.

Bon IT’s websites

Most Caribbean business do not have the same spending power as business in countries with a stronger economy. With that in mind, Bon IT developed a solution for building top of the line websites using freely available technology. Cloudflare and Gitlab allow us to deploy and host websites at little to no cost, while the open-source technology of Hugo and Bootstrap enables to craft beautiful websites with stellar performance. Furthermore, DecapCMS allows you to manage the content of your website without the need for an expensive database. Eliminating the need for databases also makes Bon IT’s websites extra secure. Looking at the quality of existing websites in Cura├žao it is fair to conclude that technical knowledge is not widespread on the island. To overcome this obstacle, Bon IT designed a procedure for creating websites that requires no technical knowledge at all. We have created a variety of demo websites that can easily be adapted and customized to the needs of our clients. After choosing one of the templates, clients receive a detailed instruction manual describing every step they need to take on their end. That basically comes down to just uploading their images and replacing texts of the demo website with their own in a text documents. By making it easy for clients to provide the content of their website and utilizing freely available technology, Bon IT keeps the cost of development and operation of websites to a minimum. This allows Bon IT to create top quality websites for Caribbean business at a highly competitive price and without recurring costs.

Selling online

The infrastructure for online payments is not very well developed in the Caribbean. As a consequence, cash remains a very common payment method. When developing a solution for selling online, Bon IT took into account the fact that not everyone in the Caribbean has a credit card or even a bank account. For our business card websites and corporate websites we developed an online payment solution with Snipcart, CXPay and Maduro & Curiel’s Bank that allow your customers to place an order and pay for it directly from your website. In addition, Bon IT’s payment solution also allows your customers to pay via bank transfer or complete their transaction by card or cash at your business location. Snipcart offers a convenient dashboard where you can keep track of your orders, payments and invoices. Orders that are paid online will be processed automatically and you can easily manage orders that have been paid offline manually. Bon IT offers a range of other solutions for converting your website visitors to paying customers that do not need online payment functionality per se. Some examples are third party applications for booking an accommodation, scheduling an appointment and making a dinner reservation, that can be embedded or linked on your websites.

Services

Bon IT builds websites at competitive prices with its clever mix of freely available technology and its optimized procedure for creating websites that enables you to do a large part of the work yourself. In case you want to offload some or all the work to Bon IT, we offer a wide range of services to help out with any aspect of your website. You can also use Bon IT’s services if you already have a website but want to make it even better or extend it with new features. Our services include copywriting, translation, SEO writing, graphic design, corporate identity, photography, user interface design, form development, third party integration, domain management, e-mail management and performance optimization.

Create your website today

Bon IT is on a mission to improve the online presence of Caribbean businesses. We developed a technical solution to quickly create affordable, modern, beautiful websites at a massive scale. Join the Caribbean cyberspace revolution and create a website with Bon IT. You can place an order on our website to get started right away. Or, get in touch by sending a message via our contact form or WhatsApp. Bon IT will provide you with a beautiful, future proof website in a matter of days.