Machine operator turned tombstones

16th April 2018
YOUNG ENTERPRENUER: Keabetswe Malope Source:The Midweek Sun


By Keikantse Lesemela - Reporter

Youthful entrepreneur, Keabetswe Malope ventured into tombstone sales business after realising that there is an untapped opportunity in the market.

His company, Shingaboy Tombstones sells and distributes tombstones around Botswana. Malope told Business Trends that he started the business because he wanted to fill the market gap and create employment for other young people. Malope, who is a qualified heavy plant machine operator, has never been employed as a heavy plant machine operator.

He has instead worked as tombstone installer and marketer for a local tombstone company for a period of one year and started his own business in 2015. “When I was an employee, I discovered a lot of inefficiencies from local service providers so I took that as a business opportunity,” said Malope. Starting the business was not difficult for him. He was fortunate to have interacted with a supplier in his previous job, who told him that he did not need a lot of money to start up.

Malope started with one tombstone that he sold for P35 000 and within a month more customers were already placing orders. “My supplier in South Africa encouraged me to start my company but I had fears because I did not have enough money to run a company, but he kept telling me to register a company and then start marketing the products.

After a while he supplied me with stock which I paid for after selling,” he said. Shingaboy Tombstones currently has four employees. Malope said through marketing and advertising on Facebook, he has been able to receive many customers from various places. Although he is competing with more established undertakers and mortuaries that are well known, he has been able to penetrate the market within two years.

He has been operating from home and now has moved to an office in Gabane. “We don’t feel intimidated by the big mortuaries because we offer dignified scheme that is designed to help families cope with demand of a funeral and burial which also focuses on the needs of the bereaved families. “Prices start from P4 000 to P35 000 and we offer transport,” said Malope. Among the challenges that his company faces is lack of transport to carry stock from South Africa and to deliver across the country.

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