Earning from the flame: The journey of a young entrepreneur in candle making business

Some candles made by Uwimbabazi are mosquito repellent. Courtesy Photos.

Being the firstborn in a family of six, circumstances forced Diane Uwimbabazi to start looking for odd jobs to help out her family, which was not financially stable.

After high school, as her peers were getting prepared to join university/ tertiary education, a twenty-six-year-old was looking for something to do to help out her parents. The family wasn’t in a position to help further her studies. 

After two years at home, she managed to secure a temporary job, which came as a relief, not only to hers but the entire family.

Uwimbabazi said through the experience she got for two years she was jobless, she promised herself that whichever job will come her way, she would save little money to see her start her own business.

Uwimbabazi, the proprietor of Umucyo Candles Ltd.

“Although everyone was looking at me for financial support, I didn’t want to spend all the money on consumption. I maintained self-discipline and saved the little I had with the aim of starting out something that will be consistent,” she said.

She explained that when one is employed, they are no guaranteed long term source of income or employment, meaning that the probability of coming back to where you started from is high. She was wary of slipping back.

Starting out

After working for two years, last year she managed to save a total of Rwf300,000 to start a new enterprise known as Umucyo Candles Ltd, based in Musanze District.

Before immersing herself into the business, she enrolled for a three-month entrepreneurship course.

Candles used in occassions such as weddings and birthday parties.

This, she said was to help her gain a grasp of what she was getting herself into as well as gain practical business skills as she hadn’t had any experience in running a  business.

“Having acquired entrepreneurship knowledge plus the little capital accumulated, I wanted to be more creative and most importantly, become independent,” she said.

Growing up, Uwimbabazi liked candles and whenever she had a chance, she would keep them around her. Among her reasons for is that lit candles are said to have a relaxation effect.

She conducted research and established that candles are a popular house hold item and used for different purposes.

Candles meant for different occassions.

She also found out that most of the candles that are used in the country are imported.

She was satisfied that on the feasibility of the venture and set out to start the business.

Moving forward

Early last year, she embarked on manufacturing candles using paraffin, wax, and beeswax.

She also makes colored and scented candles using essential oils in candles that also serve to repel mosquitoes; citronella and geranium candles.

Her target market include hotels, churches and sometimes sell them to different individuals especially those hosting events.

Instead of looking for job in different organizations, Uwimbabazi said she is happy to be the one creating employment for fellow other young people.

“I wouldn’t say am doing well and can offer jobs for many people, but the fact that I have managed to create an opportunity for another person, it’s a great achievement according to me,” she said.

Since the business is in its early stages, there is a lot to expect and in the future, she is optimistic to create more job opportunities for the young generation.

Uwimbabazi said she currently has three employees in the business.

She said seeing all of her workers being able to put food on the table for their families is enough motivation for her to do more going forward.

Uwimbabazi said as soon as her business picks up, she is planning to go back to school and further her studies.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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