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Blind, bullied, broke kid now owns ₹350 crore revenue candle empire

Bhavesh Bhatia was bullied as he lost sight at 23. Losing mother to Cancer, he found solace in creativity, crafting candles with love. Today, he's the candle king with ₹350 Cr revenue business.

By Rashaad Ather
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Bhavesh Bhatia - Founder At Sunrise Candles

Bhavesh Bhatia - Founder At Sunrise Candles

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Bhavesh Bhatia is no ordinary man. Owner of a ₹350 Cr revenue candle startup, Sunrise Candles, just can’t be, can he?

But it’s still the least ordinary part of his life.

He was born with retina muscular deterioration disease in a small village of Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra.

This incurable disease makes a person go blind within a few years.

But Bhavesh lost his sights in his prime year of 23. 

Back-to-back setbacks:

He used to be bullied day and night at school and in the streets.

His lovely mother, who was the only source of love, comfort and respite, died of cancer too.

She used to make Bhavesh see the brighter things in his tough life.

Thanks to her, he found honour and self-dignity in creativity.

He sought friendship with his bullies, a lesson that would empower him later in life. 

He credits his mother's support for his educational achievements, as she tirelessly helped him navigate a world that wasn't designed for him. 

At the time of his mother’s death, he was heartbroken and jobless with little money to care for his father.

Effectively, he was in survival mode.

Finding Solace in Creativity:

Grief-stricken he was bound to fall deeper into the abyss of poverty.

He didn’t look for jobs and just wanted to revere his mother.

But Bhavesh realised the true meaning of revering.

He turned towards his mother’s teachings. And indulged himself in creativity - creating things with his hands. 

He began making candles, drawn to the light and the opportunity to express himself through shape and scent. 

Despite his lack of sight, Bhavesh found creative solutions. He learned from the National Association for the Blind and used his sense of touch and smell to experiment with colours and scents. 

With unwavering determination, he started selling his candles from a borrowed cart in a local market.

The Empowering ‘Love’:

One fateful day, a chance encounter with Neeta brought sunshine into Bhavesh's life. 

Their connection blossomed into a love story, and Neeta became his rock. 

Facing societal disapproval, Neeta stood by Bhavesh, becoming his partner in business and life. 

She helped him ferry his candle cart around town.

Overcoming Obstacles with Innovation:

The sales took off. But Bhavesh knew his humble origins and risked anyway to make it bigger. 

When he went to banks and lenders, they shrugged him off for being blind.

Undeterred, he secured a loan of ₹15,000 through a special program for the visually impaired, making a decisive turn. 

He purchased wax, dyes, and a cart and founded 'Sunrise Candles,' investing Rs. 50 per day for the cart and Rs. 25 for raw materials.

A Legacy Built on Inclusion:

Today, Bhavesh's startup Sunrise Candles isn't just about manufacturing exquisite candles; it's about creating opportunities and fostering a sense of self-worth.

Sunrise Candles has 71 manufacturing units in 14 states. Over 9,500 visually impaired individuals work for the Mahabaleshwar-based company.

It ships candles to 67 countries, earning over Rs. 350 Crores per annum.