By Berenice Mulubah
Sesima Kamara in her element
From a place of despair, Sesima Kamara was forced to tapped into her creativity and birthed the idea of making candles for sale.
How did you come up with the idea of making candles: I had lost my job and moved back home with my parents. Even though my parents were happy to have me home, staying with your parents and not having a job is not a position any adult wants to be in. I remember, it was around the holidays, my mother had joined susu and offered to give me $500 to help me buy gifts for everyone. I said to myself, "if I am going to take this money, I have to do something important with it." My mother and I love candles, I used to steal my mother's candles and we would fussed over it. So, I decided to buy materials and educate myself on how to make candles. when I started educating myself, I found out that most of the expense candles from companies like Body Works and the rest, uses petroleum in their waxes. I didn't want that, wanted natural ingredients. I researched soy beans and decided to used bean. I told my parents, they bought the idea and I started making candles. I studied fashion design, so I decided to add accessories.
Cecret is a very attractive name for a candle business, how you came up with that: Funny you asked that, I wanted to called the business Donut Grease, but my friends said it was an ugly name. I went back to the drawing board but couldn't come up with anything. One day, as I was sitting in my room, my little brother did something that made me upset and I called out his name "Cecert", that was my ah ha moment, "this is it, making candle has always been a secret passion of mine, I should called it Cecert."
I do understand the creativity put into making the candles, because you do have a background in designing but how about the business aspect, was it difficult for you:
Actually, I have been around business minded folks for a while and I have some experience. When I was 22, my cousin and I started a party promotion company called Epic Production, but venturing into making candles was a little different. It is more than just a business, I saw a need, we African don’t use candles for Aromatherapy, it is not a luxurious item to us. When people think about Africa, they don’t think about the luxury, my goal is to spotlight Africa through candles, using Africa's natural ingredients.
What are some of the obstacles you had to overcome: Not having the moral support I needed from people was a little dishearten and discouraging. With some of the down, comes the up, when you hit your down moments, you have to think about why you started, that kept me going.
When did you realized the business was picking up: When I started reaching out to some amazing Liberian people, like Shoana Clarke, CLiberiaClearly, Cheacago Bright, and they wanted to work with me. I thought to myself, "wow," and when friends started to call me and say "wow, I love the smell of your candle, and the fact that I can use your product on my hair and on my skin." Cecret is made with all natural ingredients, when the candle burns, the oil can be used on the skin as well, we uses premium, high quality oils.
What are your goals for 2015: The goal of 2015 is to build a big online presence, I want to step it up from facebook and Instagram, to a huge traffic flow on the blog and website.
Where do you see Cecret Candles in the next five years: I wanted to open my own manufacturing business back home but that will be in the next ten years. In the next five years, I see it being sold throughout Africa and the United States. Cecret Candles & Accessories, connecting cultures through Africa's natural ingredients.