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Student turns baking hobby into booming business

Sharon 1

What began as a hobby for 22 year old Sharon Sang has blossomed to a full time job that earns her at least Sh5,000 in profits weekly.

The Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of Nairobi started a bakery called Dessert Palace based in Nairobi West. She bakes and sells birthday cakes, cupcakes and wedding cakes among other pastries. She registered her company in May this year at a cost of Sh3,000.

“When I finished my course work, I realized I had eight months left to graduate, so I basically I did not have much to do besides applying for attachment in corporate companies, so I had to think of something that would keep me going and that is how I ventured into the cake business,” said Sharon.

It is at the University level where she gained skills on managing a business and wanted to apply what she learnt in class practically rather than waiting for employment.

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Sharon Sang. Courtesy

She invested Sh50,000, capital she obtained from a competition in 2015 dubbed ‘The face of Palmolive’ in  which was a runners up after pulling the most votes on Facebook.

The initial materials she bought included a hand mixer, a blender, baking tins, spatula, measuring cups and spoons, leveler, weighing scale, mixing bowls, a sieve, smoothener, turn table, serrated knife, boards and boxes, parchment paper, palate knife, nozzles and coupler.

In her first day in business she baked a two kilogram vanilla cake which she sold to a family friend at Sh2200.

“From that first sale, I received four referrals within one week. In this, I sold one banana cake, two one kilogram carrot cakes and two vanilla two kilogram flavored cakes,” said Sharon.

It is at this juncture that she realized that she needed to sharpen her skills to meet the demand of her clients.

In March, she used the profit to attend a month baking course at Ginah’s cakes where she acquired knowledge on decoration of cakes, mixing procedures and the best ingredients to use for a specific type of cake.

 “For instance, a two kilogram vanilla cake would take about 40 minutes to prepare and requires components such as 400g of butter, eight eggs, five cups of wheat flour, three spoons of baking powder, two spoonsful of vanilla essence, 500ml of whipping cream, and food color if necessary,” said Sharon.

The first process involves mixing butter, sugar and eggs followed by sieving of dry ingredients such as flour and baking powder to remove unwanted materials. Butter milk is then added and mixed with the use of a hand mixer then vanilla essence is added and the dough then ready. The dough is put in the baking tin and placed in a pre-heated oven.

“In the oven I have to be very keen and I usually set an alarm to ensure the cake is not burnt,” said Sharon.

Currently, Sharon markets her products on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.

The prices for various cakes depends on the size and the level of decoration but a one kilo cake cost ranges from Sh1,600 to Sh2,200 while a two kilogram cakes goes for Sh2,500 to Sh3,100. She sells a one packet of cupcakes with six cakes at Sh550.

On average, she receives eight to 10 orders of cakes per week and up to 10 orders for cupcakes but this varies from time to time.

“One of the biggest challenges I face is that sometimes I get so many orders in a day yet I bake alone so in future my plan is to employ at least two people to help me in the running of the business,” said Sharon.

 

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