The making of Karobwa scents
Imagine lighting a black apple, strawberry or a buttery scented candle. That and more is what you will get with Karobwa scents. Started by Eve Anisha Kansiime, a community development worker, Julia Kengabi, an engineer and Joan Mumerere, a graphics designer; sisters that have been very close since childhood.
Thinking of what to do as a side hustle, the three were guided by something they spend a lot of their money on, that unites them and they all love. Hailing from Kabale and all its amazing scents, the common denominator was scented candles.
Each pooling Shs200,000 from their salary, they bought raw material with which they made 40 candles that they sold to friends and family. The positive feedback propelled them to produce more, financed by the revenue from the first sale. Apart from scented candles, Karobwa scents hand makes and distributes reed diffusers. The three sisters who make four years in business this month are thankful that people have appreciated their product and keep coming back for more.
Seeing that they are on different career paths, lack of business knowledge or background, 8-5 job schedules, they have been able to make it work by continually learning, reading and implementing what works for their business as well as working towards managing time better. For instance, given that they are at their various desks during the day, they use the time after work, mostly deep in the night for growing their business.
Owing to lack of a business background, the sisters’ business also lacked structures thus never paid much attention to book keeping or that the business was professionally run. No receipts to track the sales meant no accountability which negatively impacted the business. Learning about the importance of book keeping has helped them do things differently.
Another issue was the nagging voice of doubt which reigned in their minds when business was not booming. Thankfully, they had a lot of support from family, and friends buffered by their unwavering faith in God. That helped them rise above the tide of low days. They have also grown individually, hence an enlarged business mind allowing them to dream bigger as well as rise to challenges.
Consistency regarding quality and measure of the products used has also kept them afloat. That is coupled with extraordinary customer service and branding which the sisters hold sacred to their existence and sustainability.
Working with mentors with whom they have meetings regularly to look at the business progress has also helped Karobwa Scents stay the course. These efforts have been buffered by the sisters attending entrepreneurship groups where they have met like-minded people. That is coupled with their unquenchable desire to see the business grow. This desire has led them to listen to podcasts as well as read books of several successful businesses. That is because they want to take the brand beyond Ugandan and East African borders.
To that budding entrepreneur, the sisters advise them to surround themselves with people that spur them forward and believe in their dream. They also say that passion is an important driver when getting into business because loving what you do will sustain you in the ‘dry’ days. Moreover, capital should never be hindrance to starting because many want huge sums to start yet they can use even small amounts as a way to put their best foot forward.
In all this, they say, one must be willing to learn because the day one stops learning is the day they die. That will allow even that big dream to come to life yet one should not box their dream into confines because you are scared to fail. That said, procrastination is not good because today is the best day to start making that business idea a reality.