Smarter Impact

Liam Foldi, Kenshi Candles, Innovating Corporate Giving to support refugees

November 01, 2019 Liam Foldi Season 1 Episode 49
Smarter Impact
Liam Foldi, Kenshi Candles, Innovating Corporate Giving to support refugees
Chapters
Smarter Impact
Liam Foldi, Kenshi Candles, Innovating Corporate Giving to support refugees
Nov 01, 2019 Season 1 Episode 49
Liam Foldi

"People want to help" - hear and learn from Liam Foldi, a young entrepreneur innovating a business model, to direct existing expenditure into supporting positive change, at home and abroad - Kenshi Candles |  https://kenshicandles.com

"..if you're looking for a way to help people that are really in need, and to raise money for something you're passionate about, Kenshi Candles are a perfect way to do that; by introducing Kenshi to colleagues and friends, it's a way to support a cause you believe in through money they would have spent anyway.."

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Smarter Impact is hosted by http://linkedin.com/in/philipbateman and produced by http://bravocharlie.global

Bravo Charlie specialise in targeted video communication for impact investors and their portfolios, using marketing, business development, investing and production skills to engage stakeholders and amplify returns.

At the apex of social change, we exist as the possibility of world leaders in business, politics and society being engaging, powerful communicators, and work to accelerate the transition of our world into a more environmentally aware, sustainable and loving place.

Our best work is done with companies at a tipping point, with strong offerings, ready to launch into the next stage of their greatness.  The outcomes of our effort are a more harmonious society, empowering people with the resources and capabilities to lead good lives.

We specialise in:

- Documenting your Impact Measurement and Management
- Making complex businesses and technologies simple to understand
- Coaching senior executives to deliver at their best on camera
- Creating compelling pitches and content, to support Seed/series funding and IPOs
- Crafting digital marketing systems, engagement and growth strategies
- Capturing the passion of your team and clients

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/SmarterImpact)

Show Notes Transcript

"People want to help" - hear and learn from Liam Foldi, a young entrepreneur innovating a business model, to direct existing expenditure into supporting positive change, at home and abroad - Kenshi Candles |  https://kenshicandles.com

"..if you're looking for a way to help people that are really in need, and to raise money for something you're passionate about, Kenshi Candles are a perfect way to do that; by introducing Kenshi to colleagues and friends, it's a way to support a cause you believe in through money they would have spent anyway.."

If you enjoyed this content, please give it a like, leave a comment, subscribe for more and share the video - it really means a lot to see your support coming in :)

Smarter Impact is hosted by http://linkedin.com/in/philipbateman and produced by http://bravocharlie.global

Bravo Charlie specialise in targeted video communication for impact investors and their portfolios, using marketing, business development, investing and production skills to engage stakeholders and amplify returns.

At the apex of social change, we exist as the possibility of world leaders in business, politics and society being engaging, powerful communicators, and work to accelerate the transition of our world into a more environmentally aware, sustainable and loving place.

Our best work is done with companies at a tipping point, with strong offerings, ready to launch into the next stage of their greatness.  The outcomes of our effort are a more harmonious society, empowering people with the resources and capabilities to lead good lives.

We specialise in:

- Documenting your Impact Measurement and Management
- Making complex businesses and technologies simple to understand
- Coaching senior executives to deliver at their best on camera
- Creating compelling pitches and content, to support Seed/series funding and IPOs
- Crafting digital marketing systems, engagement and growth strategies
- Capturing the passion of your team and clients

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/SmarterImpact)

- Philip Bateman from The Interview here with Liam Foldi, founder of Kenshi Candles. And we're going to have a chat about creating a business to support charity because I dare say that's what you've done here, would that be the case?

- Kenshi Candles are all about turning an expense people are already making, which is not only candles but also gifts, and using the money those people are already spending to raise money for causes people are really passionate about. That's basically what Kenshi Candles is all about.

- Wonderful, and when we say raising money are we talking selling a box of cookies money? What sort of volume are you doing?

- In the last year, Kenshi Candles was directly through selling candles. Not only on our website but also for schools or charities that sell the candles to help fundraise for their causes. We've raised over $25,000. And that's gone directly to causes around Melbourne, but also in other third world countries where it's needed most.

- Wonderful, and at what point were you sitting down thinking- like whose permission did you need to start a charity business?

- That's probably one of the reasons that I got into it. I didn't really think I needed anyone's permission I guess. When I first started with Kenshi Candles about 18 months ago, about 18 months ago, I'd read a few books about Daniel Flynn - about Thankyou. I'd read a few books about Daniel Flynn - about Thankyou. And another guy who made the shoes in America, they're called Toms. And basically I'd read a few books about this whole idea of social enterprises and how you can turn money people are already spending to raise money instead of just donating. You can turn regular expenses into actually something meaningful. So that was the idea, which was combined with candles. So that was the idea, which was combined with candles.

- So rather than trying to harvest a percentage of the people who were already donating, who is a fixed community of people who are donating out there, You look at revenue people are already spending and then redirect it into profitable enterprise. Well sorry, charitable beneficial enterprise.

- Yeah, that's the idea. Pretty much, people are already spending however many hundreds or thousands of dollars a year on gifts. And if we can just move a fraction of that expenditure And if we can just move a fraction of that expenditure into these candles where the profit is going to causes that are actually meaningful, we can raise a lot of money. And that's the idea.

- And when you say meaningful causes, what specific cause is this enterprise directly related to?

- Well at the moment we've worked with a few causes and in the last year we've been partnering with the Chin community from Myanmar. We've been working with their community here in Melbourne to not only make the candles here where we are right now, but also to sell the candles to raise money which goes right back directly to their community in Chin State Myanmar where it's needed most. The big issue with Chin State is it's been a closed country for so long and it's such an isolated place that there's so much need there at the moment. And that's what these candles are raising money for at the moment, is being able to send that money directly to the source. And really, without needing to go through different charities where they take percentages, it's just going directly there to where it's needed.

- And that's because of the direct involvement of some of the most well recognised and most supported Chin citizens in Victoria that are being a part of your process, is that the case?

- Yeah, our work with Jacob and Boi here in Melbourne.

- Yeah, our work with Jacob and Boi here in Melbourne. They're members of the Chin community in Melbourne. And they've come from Chin State in Myanmar after a long process of being persecuted after a long process of being persecuted because of who they are. And they've eventually ended up here and now we're trying to help the people that are still in Chin State that are still in need.

- Are there any specific examples of projects the funding is going towards? Any you know of or you're particularly excited about? I think fences you mentioned?

- At the moment, a major problem in Myanmar is that we've got lots of wild animals that are basically running around and eating crops. that are basically running around and eating crops. So most of the food will come from farmers that are growing it. But the problem is that these are being trampled on and eaten by wildlife in the area. So right at the moment, the money that we're raising is going towards building a fence which is going to be able to keep the wildlife out, and ensure that we can grow food in Myanmar and ensure that we can grow food in Myanmar and it can be a sort of self sustaining system.

- And please do look into the other videos we'll be filming with other members of Kenshi Candles because as far as I'm aware, anecdotally, Myanmar essentially, a lot of the people in Chin State haven't seen white people or Australians since the end of World War II when the country was taken over post colonialism via a military government. Who then said that no foreigners are allowed into the ethnic minority areas. And so there is a total lack of infrastructure, roads, electricity, all the common things you would associate with your day to day life. And a direct channel to getting funding to these people by people from that geography is to engage in this process of buying great gifts. And you've built a better candle?

- Yeah.

- What's going on there?

- Well, it was no short process and I was probably a bit naive when I first got started making candles.

- Great place to start from.

- I thought it would be pretty easy to just jump online and whack together a candle. And it would just sell online. That was my first thought but it was really quite a process of multiple months of prototypes and testing different wax, different scent volumes, different wicks, different amount of wicks. You can have one or multiple wicks. And all these things that go into making a candle that actually burns properly. It doesn't burn too shallow and it doesn't burn all the way out and you get all the soot on the outside of the jar. And that's what most of the other candle companies you'll see- it's easy to do that with an individual candle, you'll see- it's easy to do that with an individual candle, but once you go into mass producing candles- The bigger companies are trying to maximise profits and they take shortcuts. And that's basically what we've tried to make; a candle that actually works how it's supposed to and is as good as any other candle out there.

- So you've got revenue, you've got a team making things, you've got customers to satisfy. You're giving away your profits to charity. What have you learned about business over the last year and a half?

- It's been quite a- I guess I've really just been put into it and had to learn everything on the run. I learnt a lot about how sales works, I learnt a lot about how sales works, and how people are motivated. And really learnt a lot about how people want to help. And really learnt a lot about how people want to help. And people see people that are in need. Especially, say, in third world countries. And you hear stories about everyone who's- people starving here or in need everywhere around the world. But it's hard to actually do something to help those people. So that's basically what Kenshi Candles is trying to do. It's trying to make an easy way for people that see that need and want to help. And it's an easy way for them to actually get involved and do something without having to make any massive sacrifices in their life.

- And what resources did you need to get started? Did you have like 50 grand in the bank or how did you- Because I know there's people out there thinking "oh maybe I could do that." Though they're going "but I don't have-" what do you need to really do something like this?

- When we started Kenshi Candles about 18 months ago now, it was really completely from scratch. I think I had about $500 originally which just went towards getting some jars in from all these different suppliers, and basically testing candles and basically testing candles and different jars and different waxes. And then, there was no major anything that went into it. And then, there was no major anything that went into it. And it was really a gradual process of then going to friends and family and asking for feedback and growing from there; word of mouth really.

- So for people out there who are considering- young people out there who want to change the world. What would your message be to them?

- I think the most important thing is to just do it.

- I think the most important thing is to just do it. Really you can talk about doing things forever, Really you can talk about doing things forever, but that doesn't actually change anything. So no matter what, if you just go have a go So no matter what, if you just go have a go and you can just change things on the run.

- And is there one thing you wanted people to know in the world about Kenshi Candles, what would you share?

- I think if you're looking for a way to help people

- I think if you're looking for a way to help people that are really in need and to raise money that are really in need and to raise money for something you're passionate about, then Kenshi Candles are a perfect way to do that without having to pressure friends and family. Asking for donations or having big events. Kenshi Candles are a way for you to approach friends and family or just buy Kenshi Candles yourself and support a cause you believe in through money you would have spent anyway.

- Thank you very much.

- Thank you.