My name is Emmah Machoka. I am 20 years old. I am a second year student at the University of Nairobi pursuing Journalism and Media Studies.I am also an online/Home-based Baker.
I understand that many cannot multitask, doing a business and at the same time studying. Why did you want to have a business of your own?
I have always had an interest in baking and pastry for as long as I can remember and so when I went to a cake school, I just wanted to know how to bake for my own satisfaction .I didn’t think of starting a business but with time, most of the people that had tasted my cakes pushed me and encouraged me to make it a business and earn from it. Slowly I got motivated to turn my passion into profit. I realized that it was a good way to earn some money for my own upkeep hence freeing my parents that burden. It was also a good way to keep myself busy when my school schedule is not busy or when I am on holidays.
For how long have you been doing that?
It has been a year now. I started in February 2018.
Is this like a side hustle for you or it’s something that you want to so permanently? If so, why would you choose to do it permanently or what else would you consider doing if this would not be permanent?
For now I wouldn’t call it a side hustle because it is what caters for all my expenses, it is what I do with most of my time. It would turn it to a side hustle if I venture into my media career. I don’t intend to do it permanently myself because my dream has always been to be a journalist but I intend to grow the business and make it permanent then employ some people to run it.
Does this business provide enough for you and if so, how do you make sure that you make a sufficient profit out of it?
Yes it does, I thank God. It caters for all my needs and expenses. I ensure I make a sufficient profit from it by pricing my cakes well and ensuring I get a worthy profit from each and keeping a boundary between friends and work because that is my source of income and I make them understand that baking for me is like a job and not a hobby. I also do marketing as much as I can to attract customers.
Why would people choose you over any other bakery?
I am confident about the work I do. I give those cakes my best and ensure my clients get value for their money. My prices are also fair considering that most of my clients are University students. I do custom made cakes to meet the clients specific needs and put together everything they want. I am also readily available for random cakes as compared to cake shops that require you to order days before. With me you can order a cake and I can deliver it in the shortest time possible. I am very Flexible.
How did you learn pastry?
I went to Valentine School of Cake for a few months and I have also learnt through YouTube tutorials.
How do you make sure that your business does well everyday?
Being consistent and only getting better. Every cake I do, I aim at making it better than the previous one and this will always bring a good report.
I have meet some people who’ve told me that their parents didn’t allow them do this kind of business because to them, it doesn’t earn enough. Was this the same case to you?
Not at all. At first they were not sure about how good it would do but after observing for a few months they realized that it was actually doing well and are now very supportive. They even want me to take more advanced cake classes during my long holidays.
What else do you do apart from baking cakes?
I school at the University of Nairobi. I am also an active member in my church. So if am not at school or not baking and making a delivery, I am definitely in Church serving. You will rarely find me home relaxing.
If today I decide to order say ten of them, would you be able to make them? If no why would it be difficult, if yes how easy is it?
It depends with the time an order is placed. If it’s made in advance I would comfortably plan myself and do them in time. If it’s done late, I would still be able to do it but I have to stretch myself like sleep very late and wake up very early. One of my rules is to never say no to an opportunity unless it comes when I totally cannot handle it like when am out of town or when am doing my exams in school. I believe I can always do it.
What challenges did you face when you were starting this and how did you overcome them?
Lack of baking equipment especially an oven.
Marketing yourself and convincing people that you can actually do good cakes. I overcame by being consistent and the few orders I got, I gave them my best because cakes market themselves.
There are hundreds of youths outside there who want to start may be selling cakes like you do and are not able to do that, what would you tell them?
Just start. Do what You can. I started baking owning nothing. I would use sufurias because I didn’t have baking tins. A cooker because i didn’t have an oven which was really stressful. As I continued and my business started making profit, I used that money to buy baking equipment slowly and within no time I had every essential thing I needed.
What are your long-term plans?
To own a bakery that would be known all over for doing the best cakes and pastry and have several branches countrywide.
Thank you so much for your precious time. The The Campus Magazine would like to wish you all the best in your journey to success.
I am humbled!