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Absa Sar Chay, the Senegalese who combines wax and porcelain

Absa Sar Chay is a Senegalese entrepreneur passionate about tableware. In 2019, after spending eight years in a company in the food industry, she launched “Wax on the table”. A concept of ethnic tableware that combines Limoges porcelain and colors, graphics and patterns inspired by African wax.

Wax on the table is a concept that aroused the curiosity of many people with whom she shared her project at the beginning, Absa Sar Chay remembers. But in less than a year, her concept has convinced several porcelain manufacturing professionals, restorers, caterers, individuals … in Europe, America and Africa.

It was in 2019, after eight years in a multinational in the food industry, as an invoicing assistant, that the Senegalese began her entrepreneurial adventure with her own funds. Pregnant with her 3rd child, she decided to discover something else. “I felt like I had walked around my post. I needed accomplishments, and I knew deep down that the answer laid in entrepreneurship. Only the sector of activity was unknown to me “,she tells us.

Born in France, to a civil servant mother and an international consultant and entrepreneur father, she unconsciously discovered the art of the table in her childhood. Her late father was very attached to certain codes of the French table and insisted on perpetuating the ritual of dining at the table every evening with the family with tableware sets, placemats etc. made of wood from Africa. A family tradition that she considers a legacy from her father. “When I found this project, it spoke to me straight away. It was obvious. It’s like a legacy my father left us,”she says.

Promoting African culture

In 2019, this BTS graduate in SME-SMI management assistant launched her company “Wax on the table”. It is a concept that combines Limoges porcelain and African wax patterns. Through decal and screen printing techniques, the designs, patterns and colors of the wax considered as the African fabric par excellence are printed on the plates. In addition to wax, the entrepreneur also intends to use other African fabrics such as Kente, Ndop, Korhogo to combine them with porcelain. “I was born in France, but African culture is what has made me what I am,”she explains.

Through her brand, she targets hotels, restaurants, caterers, events professionals, wedding planners to ensure weddings, companies … In less than a year, she was able to process orders for customers in France, Belgium, England, Luxembourg, Canada, the United States, and should soon expand to Senegal and Ivory Coast. Her products, which are available as plate services, are marketed on her e-commerce site, as well as on other e-commerce platforms specialized in African products. Her long-term goal is to open a store in Paris.

Overcoming the impostor syndrome

To launch “Wax on the table”, Absa remembers that she had to face her fears. “It took me two years to declare the company. There was this impostor syndrome that makes you wonder about your legitimacy, your ability to succeed, especially being a mother of four children, not to mention that entrepreneurship is a risk,“she recalls. To get by, she followed online training, MOOCs, masterclasses, master minds for personal development. Another challenge she had to overcome was the lack of experience of French porcelain makers in dealing with African patterns. “African patterns require more work than French and European graphics. They were not used to working on our patterns. They had to rework several times for optimal results, ”she recalls. But her biggest challenge is the launch of her company in the Covid 19 pandemic context. A situation that has slowed down any prospecting work by the company with restaurants, caterers … affected by the pandemic. But this does not discourage the entrepreneur whose ambition is to become a reference in high-end ethnic porcelain.