Cake Making Business and Career in Nigeria
Head of Business Development – Delon Apps, Lagos
Welcome to another edition of our interview series. Today we’ll be speaking with another guest (Mr. Wilson Oseghale – Owner and Head Baker at Oswil cakes & Events Limited, a cake making and Events Business based in Lagos, Nigeria). We’ll be talking about cake making business in Nigeria, food business in Nigeria, supply chain management, industry policies and of course career development for fresh graduates and students in Nigeria.
Before we start, I like to remind our viewers that jobs.delon.ng is Nigeria’s top job website where employers can easily post your jobs free of charge, but our biggest value is to help job seekers gain easy and free access to current jobs in Nigeria.
Good Morning and welcome Mr Oseghale, Can we meet you, tell us how your journey from your school days to the present has been so far
Thank you for having me on this platform, I feel so elated. It’s been quite a journey so far, not exactly smooth but something to look back on and be thankful still. Like the saying goes “Tough times never last, But Tough People do”. I waited for years before I finally gained admission into Yaba College of technology where I studied Home and Hotel Management. But while waiting for admission, I went to learn basic skills in cake Baking and Decorating after which I proceeded in search for knowledge in the cake industry.
I had always been interested in baking. Having a formal education relating to this only further solidified my interests.
How did you get into the Cake making Business?
My journey into the cake Business world started on a quite interesting note. I always felt I could do something better about my staying at home. While at home, I initially held down a teaching Job but I wasn’t exactly fulfilled. It was more about wanting to do something rather productive and meaningful at the same time as well as something that I will proud off while also been able to pay mi bills.
So I decided there and then to make enquiries in a cake making teaching institution, I paid the tuition fee and started. It might interest you to know I didn’t tell anyone in my family. I felt I needed to take charge of my future. Lots of young people need to learn this, rather than wait, sit and mop about, do something with your future, take charge as there are many opportunities out there. The training took a year, a whole year that I learnt a lot and which has contributed immensely to what I am today. So here I am today, still in the cake world but bigger and better with bigger prospects to come as well.
What is the average capital you have to have when venturing into the Cake making business?
Capital is a major challenge in any business and my industry is no different. When you readily have capital, it is easier to start any business that might interest you. Still, this should not deter you from getting your dreams and vision off to a great start. You really do not need capital per se like before. You can literally start a zero capital business on a free classifieds ads in Nigeria platform that allows you register and post your ads for free; I wish some of us had opportunities such as this when we were starting out.
Back to your question, However, I would also say if you have some small capital, N100, 000 can get you off to a small start while you plan your way gradually to the top. You don’t necessarily need an office; you can start right from your home.
For me, cake design is an Art, but we rarely get cakes with good finishing; why is this so?
Well for me, I love a perfect finish on cakes. When your finishing is great, it tells as well as determines the kind of clients that will patronize you. Cake design and finishing is a skill you have to be good at to effectively sell yourself. Clients love good designs and finishing. Cake makers and bakers need to invest in design classes to get better and improve themselves from time to time. Learning never stops, we keep learning every day. For me, I devote my time and attention to ensuring perfect finishing touch on my cakes so as to attract the type of clients I want. Your work must speak well of you as the cake maker.
I also endeavor to bring out my creations (designs) in the most neat, exact and tasting way in order to retain clients. As a cake maker, your motivation shouldn’t be solely based on monetary gains alone as your business is determined greatly by referrals; client satisfaction is therefore paramount. In some instances, I never hesitate to add a bit of incentive as gratitude for patronage.
Can you please tell our readers about some of the challenges you have faced since you started your cake business. And how were you able to overcome them?
The greatest challenge for me has been funding. Getting some of the equipment needed really requires good capital; this is the reason why I emphasized earlier that you can always start small.
Another challenge for me is the building of a profitable and reliable clients’ database; with the grace of God I have been able to gradually build that. One of the things I always talk about is the need for customer satisfaction. When a client is satisfied, it is way easier to build on such relationship and ensure frequent if not regular patronage as well.
Overcoming challenges isn’t easy except you are really determined to push and give it your best. I decided a long time ago that I will do whatever it takes to build my brand. This determination I must say has helped me greatly in terms of overcoming whatever challenges comes my way. It’s more about never giving, always seek out new ways to deal with setbacks and keep pushing.
How do you think government can support SMEs more? What do you think can be done better?
I think Government needs to do more in supporting SMES. Funding which translates to growth has always been a challenge. You visit your bank and they are reluctant to give loans to SMEs. Even if when they give, the interest rates are rather high.
I believe the government can do more in creating industry related funds that can be paid back over time. We provide jobs too, we pay taxes; I strongly believe enabling policies that will support our growth can be put in place to help us too.
How profitable is cake making.
Cake making is a lucrative business. It’s a business that shows your creative side but one which requires lot of patience, passion, commitment and immense love and pleasure for the job. It is also important to note that it is time and energy consuming business. However, the surpise, admiration and love for the finished product that you see on your clients faces is the extra motivation you need to do your best at all times. It is the much needed compensation commensurate with all the hard work put into the job at all times. As a business, and especially for other food related businesses, customer satisfaction is paramount and personal hygiene should be your number one priority.
What is your business unique selling point? What stands you out from the competition in terms of what you offer and bring to the table?
For me, my unique selling point will be the creative side of me. Been able to thrill and dazzle my clients with innovative creations which in return bring in more income and also more referrals from satisfied clients. That for me is what stands me out from the competition. We always care about delivering top notch services all the time.
As a business owner, what motivates you?
Personally, my love for making cakes keeps me going, the passion, the enthusiasm to satisfy a client, the effusive praise and appreciation a client gives in return after we deliver. That motivates me to keep doing this, all the time.
So for someone starting out, can you tell us what kind of professional training is needed, what equipment you need to acquire in the course of the training to aid one’s development.
First, you need to acquire basic training in cakes to start up and as time goes on. You also need to undergo refresher trainings from time to time to improve yourself as well as keep up with industry trends as well.
You need tools such as Measuring scale, Rolling pin, Pizza cutter, Cake mixer, pallet knife, chopping board, turntable, piping bag, coupler, nozzles, aprons, mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, oven. The list is not limited to this only because you would keep seeing new ones in the market but those are the major ones you need to start with.
Tell us about online strategies you have employed in getting Jobs, particularly strategies you have employed on how to promote your business online
You can’t over emphasize the impact of online adverts now. This has helped me greatly. Like I mentioned earlier, I have employed the use of classifieds in Nigeria, I must say this has proven greatly effective as if you are ready to put yourself out there online, you will get jobs. I have also used WhatsApp a lot, (sending broadcast once in a while as a reminder that I bake), the use of WhatsApp status as an ad tool, Google my business, IG , Facebook and through referrals.
On a final note, Corona Virus also known as COVID-19 has ravaged the world in the last few months. Sadly, it has not only claimed lives but greatly affected world economies and businesses. On a personal note, how has this affected your business?
It is quite sad the way COVID-19 has ravaged our world, the reality is this; the way we do business and live our lives is now forever altered. As a food business, I have been affected as patronage has suffered. However, as an essential business, it has not been all that bad. We have had to find creative ways to balance demand with supply while ensuring we keep standards as well. Cost of production has really gone up but we would keep finding ways to put smiles on the faces of our clients nonetheless.
Thank you very much for your time. I really enjoyed talking to you and believe that our viewers must have learnt a lot from this interview.
Thank you for having me.
Follow us on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.