Husband and wife stick together in adhesives and sealants bizz
Looking to capitalise on the government’s ‘Pusha BW’ drive, Gaamangwe and Phemelo Moilwa decided to try and replicate the success of their private lives in the business world.
In June last year, shortly after Botswana’s first lockdown, the husband and wife duo founded Uniseal, a company that manufactures adhesives and sealants.
For 29-year-old Phemelo, it was the realisation of a childhood fantasy, has always dreamt of owning her own business.
“We started this company after the government hinted that the import bill is too high hence Batswana should play a role in producing to meet demand in various industries that are dominated by importers,” explains the Shoshong native in an exclusive interview with Voice Money.
“After a thorough analysis of the market, we realised that local construction companies import all their materials from neighboring countries hence we saw it fit to start this business,” continues Phemelo, a BBA Marketing graduate from the University of Botswana (UB).
Having invested P300, 000 of their own savings to get the enterprise up and running, a year later and business is going well for the loved-up couple.
From their warehouse in Gaborone West Industrial, Uniseal produces several items, including silicone, acrylic sealant, wood glue, and contact adhesive.
Currently, the company’s products are stocked in all Builders Mart and A1 Hardware stores across the country. Eventually, Phemelo plans to have the Uniseal brand available in all retail stores throughout Botswana, as they build towards the ultimate goal of supplying the whole of Southern Africa.
For now, though, that remains a distant dream as the business owners focus on consolidating their promising start.
“Competition is mostly international brands with a huge market share and a vast product range, meaning that their volumes are incredibly high. Also, they boast years of experience and have built up strong brand images,” points out Phemelo, who previously worked for Export Credit Insurance and Guarantee Company Botswana (BECI) before becoming her own boss.
A common complaint of locally manufactured goods is the drop in quality compared to their foreign equivalents.
However, Phemelo is adamant that this is not the case with Uniseal.
“We are confident as the market was impressed by our packaging which I believe is of great quality thus making our products stand out on the shelves. Industry experts and retailers have endorsed the quality of the product,” she adds proudly.
The business currently boasts six employees, whose positions include: office assistant, production manager, sales representatives, and sales manager
Both husband and wife assume hands-on roles within the company, as Phemelo outlines, “Our roles are those of Directors but we also apply our areas of expertise to monitor every department of the business. Mr. Moilwa, who is a Chartered Institute Management of Accountants (CIMA) graduate, is responsible for financial management as well as relationships with big retail accounts.
“On the other hand, I am responsible for lead generation, sales plans, and overall marketing strategy for the company.”
Just like in their marriage, the duo’s relationship is leading to great things in the business world.