Mackenzie Robinson donates a percentage of candle sales from her business to Rosies. Photo: Supplied.
It was a chance encounter at a market that inspired 12-year-old Mackenzie Robinson to start a local candle business, Kenzie’s Candles.
“We were coming home from a camping trip and stopped at a market, and I saw a stall selling candles and thought it looked really cool,” Mackenzie said.
“I like candles, they are very nice and comforting to have around the house.”
The Year 7 student has sold candles through her Instagram account @kenzies.candles since August last year and hand pours everything in her parents’ kitchen.
The young entrepreneur’s mother Kylie said operating the business had helped Mackenzie to understand budgeting.
“It’s good for her to learn to manage the expenses, look after stock control, and make sure she has enough put away to cover the cost of new items,” she said.
Not only does Mackenzie look after the business side of things, but she also has included an element of social enterprise into her model, with $1 from every sale going to support Rosies – Friends on the Street, a Queensland-based charity that supports those who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or socially isolated in the local community.
“I was a bit surprised that Mackenzie wanted to start a business, but I was not at all surprised when she said that she wanted to donate money to Rosies,” Kylie said.
“She has always been a very caring person and had learned about Rosies through her Year 6 teacher Ms Carroll.
“Ms Carroll is a Rosies volunteer and had a big impact on a lot of the girls in the class – she shared about her experiences volunteering and they made care packages for those in need,” said Kylie.
Yvette Carroll built a module called The Pursuit of Happiness: Is it within everyone’s reach? which focused on whether the world was equal for all and looked at some of the factors that prevent people from happiness.
“It was really important to me that the students defined what happiness is to them and then we looked at some of the things that plague society and often swept under the rug – things like racism, inequality, homelessness, etc,” Yvette said.
One of the outreach locations for Rosies is just a 15-minute drive from the school where Yvette teaches, and by sharing stories from members of their local community, she felt like things were put into perspective and opened the eyes of the Year 6 students.
“Prior to teaching the unit I think a lot of the kids thought homelessness didn’t happen in Australia. That it was a problem in places like America, not here, but the local stories helped them see it was happening in their backyard.”
Yvette, who is also a team leader with Rosies, has been volunteering since December of 2019 and speaks fondly of her experiences with the organisation.
“I really enjoy it and love the connection, each month I get to sit alongside someone that the rest of society ignores. Sitting alongside and talking to the patrons gives you a dose of perspective – some of the most intelligent conversations I’ve ever had have been with our patrons on outreach.”
It is through sharing experiences like this with the students that inspired Mackenzie to tack on support of Rosies to her business model.
With the support of her parents Mackenzie has sold more than 120 candles and releases new scents every season. You can purchase a candle and support a local business and a grassroots charity by visiting Mackenzie’s Instagram, @kenzies.candles