Inspirational Kiwis' candle-making business goes global thanks to Seven Sharp and George Takei

An inspirational Kiwi woman and her father who set up a company making scented candles have gone global with their product in a matter of months, thanks to a story on TVNZ1's Seven Sharp and the social media pulling power of a Star Trek actor.

Seven Sharp a few months ago featured Emma Sykes who lives with Down syndrome, her Dad Tony Sykes and their business partner Jennifer Del Bel.

No one would hire Emma. So Tony had turned to Jennifer to help them go into business making candles called Downlights.

The story featuring them was posted on the Facebook page run by George Takei, who played Mr Sulu on TV's Star Trek.

"George Takei's got 10 million followers on that platform. And he's also got his own Facebook page, which has another 10 million. So we're talking an audience of 20 million people that we've been exposed to," Tony Sykes told Seven Sharp in a follow up story tonight.

Jennifer Del Bel said that after the initial story on Seven Sharp, "we had fantastic coverage across New Zealand and really great sales through New Zealand".

"But George Takei's site catapulted us into sales through the States, through Canada, through the UK, and now our Aussie cousins too."

The business has turned over half a tonne of wax into candles.

Meanwhile Emma Sykes been named as a finalist in the Attitude Awards as Entrepreneur of the Year.

"I think what the judges saw in Emma was this young woman, yes she's living with a disability, but has the drive and the passion to really make a difference through business," said Robbie Wilson of Attitude Awards.

And Ms Del Bel says Emma now has an independence she didn't have before.

Emma lives with Down syndrome, but that hasn’t stopped her embarking on her own business with dad Tony. Source: Seven Sharp