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Stella Naiye: Turning passion for cooking into business

Stella Naiye is the seventh child in a family of nine. While growing, Naiye was naturally glued to the kitchen owing to her love for cooking.

Today, what everyone assumed was just a passion, has grown to become a reputable business she calls Chillis Pot. A brand Naiye began over eight years ago.

“Ok, Chillis Pot started initially as just Chillis Kitchen and all we were doing was just soups-in-bowls. All of these started from her passion for cooking for people at no cost at a very young age,” she said.

“Along the line, my friends advised I take it up as a business but I never gave it attention. All I knew was that I loved cooking,” she explained.

According to her, while in paid employment, she found herself joyfully offering to help friends and colleagues prepare soups for the weekend without collecting a dime.

In return, her friends and family were appreciating her monetarily and she began to identify a business opportunity.

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“It got to a point when I began to get orders, it became overwhelming. So, I decided to ask a friend who had knowledge of how businesses run to help me turn my culinary skill into a more organized business.”

Naiye further revealed that it was tough trying to attract paying clients because most of those who engaged her knew she had always done it for free.

However, this only lasted for a season as paying clients who knew she was offering value paid her for her services.

“Over the years we got better and stronger and decided to register fully as a business but then discovered our name was no longer available so, prayerfully, we chose Chillis Pot which got approved.

“Today, we have branched into full events and it’s been a wonderful journey,” she noted.

Speaking on some of her brand offerings, she said that Chillis Pot serves a diverse category of clients since its inception as it provides different cuisines.

“We have had the opportunity of serving diverse categories of clients since inception. Today, we provide soups in bowls and full catering services. We also provide food for busy people in every aspect of the economy, young and old and we are also available to travel.” She noted.

Sharing some of her challenges in the food business, she said “It has not always been rosy I must tell you. For example, we have had some prospects who come only to make inquiries and expect you to give out your trade secrets.”

“We have had people who feel our charges are on the high and would prefer to do their cooking themselves.

“Then again, when you consider our economy and how the prices of food are on the high almost on a daily basis. It can actually be frustrating. But all in all, God has helped us to remain.”

To keep the business growing, the mass-communication graduate has taken up training on food safety training as well as attended several conferences and workshops to broaden her skills.

“As part of professional development, I have had to join quite a number of business association networks that have helped me a whole lot. I am a member of Association of Event Vendors (ASSEV) and a member of The Well-Watered Garden Tribe Network.”

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