Entrepreneur’s illuminating journey in the candle business
Tshivhula discovers new healing avenue
Candle-maker Makatu Tshivhula is not using his psychology degree after seeing that his business, The Light Candles, has given him another way of healing people.
The 25-year-old Soweto-born entrepreneur said his candles are popular with customers who are particularly spiritual and religious.
Besides selling to those who are affected by power cuts, Tshivhula’s market are churches and those who believe in communicating with their ancestors.
After working for a candle-making company for six months, he used his skills and knowledge to manufacture and distribute candles to his community.
“From just being there and observing, I have to say making candles is quite easy. During the time with my previous employer, I felt passion for the craft of making something from nothing.
“With my psychology degree I have always felt the need to be a healer. The plan was to go back to school for my honours degree but I thought I should find a job to be able to study further, that’s when I joined the candle company,” said Tshivhula.
He said his purpose was realigned after joining the company as many often tell him they feel healed spiritually and mentally.
“Most of my customers are spiritual people, so they rely heavily on candles to communicate with their ancestors, and my product helps them do that. I get messages every day from customers, saying the candles bring them healing and comfort,” he said.
The Light Candle, which employs three people including Tshivhula, thrives on deliveries to their customers and walk-ins in their store located in a business park next to Maponya mall in Pimville, Soweto.
“Some households in Soweto do not have electricity at all, while many experience load shedding daily, so I supply them with candles.
“ There are people who come in to buy from my colleagues while I deliver. The shop is divided into two rooms, at the back, that is where we manufacture,” said Tshivhula.
After entering the Engen Pitch & Polish competition, he advanced all the way to the top eight, receiving one-on-one mentorship programmes. He said he learnt a lot from the competition as there were things he overlooked that he discovered were important.
“I had the opportunity to attend their workshops where we were taught a lot about entrepreneurship. They have great mentors who can help achieve anything in your life even outside of business. You get eliminated as the competition goes on. It was a great experience, I found it a bit overwhelming because I was the youngest in the programme. It taught me a lot about my business, things I didn’t even know I needed to know,” he said.
Tshivhula focuses on household candles, which come in different colours as he has increased his catalogue. There are church pillars, scented glass candles and dinner candles. He hopes to expand his market and deliver all over the country.
“I see my business being a household name in SA. We’ll have at least one branch in every province, supplying major retailers and exporting. All this while employing as many young people as possible. My business is based on a simple concept but there isn’t a lot of competition out there. There are fewer than 50 companies in SA that make candles.”
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