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Ugandan entrepreneur spices up Valentine's Day with scented candles

Uganda

<p><strong>After graduating from University, Ruth Uwimbabazi, was unable to find a decent job, so she decided to set up a company that produces scented handmade candles.</strong></p> <p>The 25-year-old who lives in Kampala, Uganda studied software engineering and says unemployment pushed her to start her new found career in 2016.</p> <p>Ruth learnt to make candles by watching tutorials online, and says her business was inspired by her love for scents.</p> <p>She later started the business with a capital of 1,300 US dollars, money that her mother gave her.</p> <p>“I grew up loving perfumes and then I had a very good memory, I’d smell a certain fragrance and say my mother at this point wore such and such a scent. So I knew eventually I wanted to branch into a business but I wanted it to be a scented business. Not just candles as is but I was willing to go anywhere into anything scented. I like candles, I feel like they are very sentimental so that is when I decided to come up with the idea to make scented candles,” said Ruth.</p> <p>Consumer demand for luxury products is on the rise in Africa and entrepreneurs like Ruth are targeting a growing middle class, that’s looking for finer things.</p> <p>The entrepreneur sources her ingredients both locally and abroad. She says she tries to keep her candles as natural as possible.</p> <p>“My candles are soy blend so that means I use soy wax which is the best. It carries the fragrances really well and also my fragrances are natural. The essential oils and fragrances that I use are very natural so there is no effect, no heavy effect; the candle was too too heavily scented, it almost felt like it had a chocking effect, those — it’s because the products that am using are natural,” said Ruth.</p> <p>Ruth runs her business from her house and hires workers to help out when needed.</p> <p>The entrepreneur has a range of 15 scents under the ‘Nkwanzi Scents’ brand.</p> <p>Her candles come in raspberry sangria and Mediterranean fig scents, among others.</p> <p>Her candles sell for 13 and 19 dollars each, depending on size.</p> <p>Ruth says she’s received many orders lately from clients looking for gifts to celebrate Valentine’s Day.</p> <p>“I have had people who want to collaborate. You know the companies that make gift hampers and the likes. I have had companies that want to collaborate, I have had customers that want to make customised candles for their loved ones so it’s been, I have actually made the most orders this season, they have been so many,” she said.</p> <p>The candles are available to shoppers online. Today the entrepreneur is making a delivery to one of her clients in town.</p> <p>“This Valentine’s I decided to get these amazing candles for someone, I will not say, but I’m very sure they will like them because they are my best scents. I chose my best and I know they will be amazing,” said Lilian Naava.</p> <p>Ruth is working on plans to expand her production capacity and grow her business to reach more clients across the country and beyond.</p> <p><strong>Reuters</strong></p>

I grew up loving perfumes and then I had a very good memory, I'd smell a certain fragrance and say my mother at this point wore such and such a scent

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