What you need to know:
Imelda Imoli is the founder of Bakery Affairs, a coffee and cake bakery business located in Umoja 1, Embakasi
I started Bakery Affairs in June 2018 after resigning from my job in March of the same year. In the beginning, I wasn't sure if baking was what I wanted to do. My mind was set on just starting a business. At the time, I was baking small gift cakes for family and friends from home. Then a friend decided to challenge me to bake for her child’s birthday. I didn't have any special equipment for a professionally baked cake, but I took the challenge nonetheless. I pulled it off. Those who attended urged me to turn my skills into a business.
I started with around Sh80,000. Getting started wasn’t too hard since I already had the requisite baking skills. I used this capital to acquire some equipment and started baking from home. I started with mini cakes, cupcakes, muffins and loaf cakes. This worked in my favour as it took less than six months to get regular customers. When I started, I would pass samples of my cakes around. This helped my brand to build customer confidence and reputation. Today, my business specialises in all types of cakes, pastries and snacks. These range from birthday cakes and corporate events snacks to wedding cakes.
Equipment and structuring payments were a big challenge when I started. It was my first time as an entrepreneur and I was learning on the job. I would get an order only to realise that I needed to buy or hire equipment. There were also times when some customers would pay less than we had agreed or fail to pay.
When I started my business, I had a challenge with impulse buying. I was excited to start a business. I bought advanced baking equipment that I've never used to date. From this industry, I have learned that designs keep changing. Your ability to sustain this type of business lies in how creative and innovative you will be.
One of my memorable moments was when I got a baking task from the current Lang’ata MP, Jalang’o. I knew this would be a big opening since he had a huge following on his social media channels. I nailed the task and got a major acknowledgement for a job well done on his social channels. This gave me a lot of exposure and vindicated my business trajectory.
I save with both a bank and a Sacco. Previously, I used to keep money on my mobile phone. But I realised that I was too quick on spending it due to easy access. It was also harder to keep track. With the two modes of saving and transacting, I have now been able to establish a banking record that can afford my business financing if and when I need it.
Information is power. Keep learning and keep searching especially when you are in business. If you have a skill, convert it into an income stream. You can do this right from your home. I started from home and later transitioned to an open, physical business. Along the way, I've learned to avoid borrowing unnecessarily, especially if the debt has no positive impact on the business. It is easy to borrow but bad debts can come with huge implications.