Husband and wife stick together in adhesives and sealants
In an effort to capitalize on the government’s “Pusha BW” campaign, Gaamangwe and Phemelo Moilwa decided to try to replicate the success of their own lives in the business world.
In June last year, shortly after Botswana first shut down, the husband and wife founded Uniseal, a company that makes adhesives and sealants.
For 29-year-old Phemelo, it was the fulfillment of a childhood fantasy, she had always dreamed of owning her own business.
“We started this company after the government hinted that the import bill is too high, and then Batswana should play a role in production to meet the demand in various industries that are dominated by importers,” the Shoshong native explains in an exclusive interview with Voice Money.
“After a thorough analysis of the market, we realized that local construction companies import all their materials from neighboring countries, hence we saw fit to start this business,” continues Phemelo, a BBA Marketing graduate from the University of Botswana (UB).
After they invested P300,000 of their own savings to get the project up and running, a year later the business is going well for the beloved couple.
From its warehouses in Gaborone West Industrial, Uniseal produces many items, including silicone, acrylic sealant, wood glue, and adhesives.
Currently, the company’s products are stocked in all Builders Mart and A1 Hardware stores across the country. Ultimately, Phemelo plans to make the Uniseal brand available in all retail stores across Botswana, working towards the ultimate goal of supplying the entirety of South Africa.
For now, though, this remains a distant dream as business owners focus on cementing their promising startup.
“The competition is mostly international brands that have a huge market share and a wide product range, which means their volumes are incredibly high. They also boast years of experience and have built strong brand images,” notes Phemelo, who previously worked for a credit insurance company. Botswana Exports and Guarantees (BECI) before becoming its president.
A common complaint of domestically manufactured goods is the lower quality compared to their foreign counterparts.
However, Phemelo insists that is not the case with Uniseal.
“We are confident that the market has liked our packaging which I believe is of high quality which makes our products stand out on the shelves. Industry experts and retailers have endorsed the quality of the product,” she adds proudly.
The business currently has six employees, whose positions include: office assistant, production manager, sales representative, and sales manager
Both husband and wife take on practical roles within the company, explains Phemelo, “Our roles are that of managers but we also apply our areas of expertise to monitor each department of the business. Mr. Moelwa, a graduate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), is responsible for financial management as well as relationships With major retail accounts.
“On the other hand, I am responsible for creating the lists of potential clients, sales plans, and the overall marketing strategy for the company.”
Just as in their marriage, the duo’s relationship leads to great things in the business world.