Maxwell Mwamburi loved spending time watching his mother cook while growing up. With time, making chapatis and trying out new menus became a passion that steered him towards his dream cake-baking career.
At his Maxwell’s Cakes in Bamburi, Mombasa city, traffic among bakers and cake decorators is evident. Just as fresh cake orders are received and noted, freshly baked and decorated cakes too are packed and delivered to clients by motorcycles.
In an interview with the Enterprise, the 24-year-old entrepreneur narrates with nostalgia how he spent the better part of his childhood cooking, and baking. However his father was not for the idea and instead wanted him to forge a career in engineering. He was however undeterred and he set his sights firmly on his passion.
“I knew baking was my passion because I loved watching and participating in cooking activities while growing up,” notes Mr Mwamburi.
After secondary education, he was keen to pursue his bakery passion. He enrolled at a bakery and confectioneries college in Mombasa between 2014 and 2016, where he did several courses, including pastry.
Working as a tutor and a freelance baker enabled him to save Sh70,000 which he used as capital to start his own cakes enterprise in 2017.
“I was yearning to begin my own cake bakery however small it was. I therefore began baking from my house before acquiring a rented a shop and few bakery equipment,” says Mr Mwamburi.
Today, he has three workers, including a cake decorator who design cakes according to customers' specifications and preferences.
Mr Mwamburi’s unbeatable artistic expressions on the cakes are his key selling points.
“When baking birthday and wedding cakes, presentation and creativity are essential,” he says, noting that the business has its high and low seasons.
Mr Mwamburi says he maximises sales in the high seasons, especially during festivities and religious celebrations. He has also carved a niche for wedding and birthday cakes.
Birthday and wedding cakes are charged between Sh5,500 and Sh100,000 depending on clients specifications. However, the prices can go higher or lower depending on various reasons.
The expenses of baking a cake of Sh5,500 is about Sh1,500,and the bakery can have up to 20 cakes sold in a good business day, bringing good earnings.
To operate a successful bakery business, Mr Mwamburi advises that one must obtain a licence from Ministry of Health and the county government and constantly keep abreast of the latest techniques and trends in cake baking and decoration.
He says the ability to demonstrate creativity, attention to detail, and excellent customer service skills is an asset too so are thigh hygiene standard. This, he notes will enable one to maintain clients.
“Ensure that the display refrigerators are clean, polished, and fully stocked with cakes, pastries, and desserts.”
Mr Mwamburi gets his customers through referrals and online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Last year, he began one-month cake baking tutorials that cost Sh25,000.