• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Majekodunmi’s recipe for a successful baking business

Majekodunmi’s recipe for a successful baking business

Like many things, the baking industry has changed significantly over a number of years. For instance, when Nike Majekodunmi started baking about 14 years ago, there was nothing like Instagram.

For the baking industry, taste buds may be required to approve of a baker’s competency, but a platform like Instagram becomes the point of contact into the baker’s world of creativity and aesthetic proficiency.

Watch the video interview here

Though the internet generally influenced Majekodunmi’s career, Instagram is now a huge part of the industry. And in the last five to six years, more people have trooped into the industry and they are mainly home-bakers—those who bake as a side hustle.

A staff puts bread buns in an oven for baking

So, with more home-bakers flooding the sector, it means that the industry has grown and is growing informally.

Starting out as a baker and decorator 15 years ago, Majekodunmi is the CEO of “Nuts About Cakes,” a baking business she has been running for over 10 years now. She identifies these home-bakers as the major challenge in the sector, in that, while they are answerable to the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment, and NAFDAC, and also have to get licenses and certifications, home-bakers are not regulated.

Read also: Is your farm business natural disaster-proof

Yet, they are fast becoming a large proportion of people in the cake industry.

Their health and safety standards, she notes, might not also be in place and they do not have the same core structures as formal baking companies, and also do not bear certain costs like pensions and group life insurance, health insurance.

Majekodunmi checks in on workers at the front shop.

However, these home-bakers still compete for the same customers, on the same platforms like Instagram and Facebook with the likes of Majekodunmi’s Nuts About Cakes.

Although the industry is trying to address that with a newly-formed National Cake and Sugar Craft Professionals body, which brings in home-bakers, certifies them and makes sure that their health and safety standards are also in place, how do you succeed in an industry like this?

The quality control officer (left) monitors the cutting off of the top of the cake. This usually done before icing.

How can your baking business thrive?

“Businesses can thrive in Nigeria by always communicating with the customers, always ensuring that the team is supportive, always ensuring that they have a proper culture in the organization, and building that culture is very essential to the business.

“Try and do the right thing from the beginning. Start as you mean to go on. And that is where I think one builds energy and culture as well. [You also need to] rely on your team. It’s very important to realize that you cannot do it all alone. You need a strong team around you and you have to build that team to help you to be successful in business,” she said.

A staff dressing cake

However, in tough and uncertain times like the pandemic, the above strategies may be less effective in sustaining operations. While ‘Nuts About Cakes’ stayed open as an essential service, sourcing for raw materials became difficult since major markets were closed.

The company has two production hubs that produce for and distribute to its eight branches across Lagos. But due to coronavirus, five of the eight stores were shut down due to restrictions in movement in these locations.

Staff members’ health, safety, became a significant concern, especially in movement as they were always unable to get transportation.

A staff coating bread buns with egg wash.

In these times, organisations have to be very creative. For ‘Nuts About Cakes,’ its management partnered with other bakeries to buy in bulk directly from the manufacturers in order to scale through the difficulty of sourcing for raw materials.

Secondly, they shut down their café, and training school to house about 70 percent of their staff members and also fed them for about a year, just to keep them in the same environment, working and safe from the virus.

In addition, they went digital.

“We did a lot of online marketing and deliveries as well, that was a way for us to continue the business and make sure it is sustained and luckily, and thankfully, things are getting back to normal,” Majekodunmi said.