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Enterprise

Student turns baking hobby into business

Sharon Sang
Sharon Sang. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

What began as a hobby for Sharon Sang has blossomed into a full time job that earns her at least Sh5,000 in profit weekly.

The Bachelor of Commerce student from the University of Nairobi turned the hobby into business when she realized that she had a lot of idle time on her hands, several months to her graduation. She had learnt how to bake cakes at an early age.

“When I finished my course work, I realized I had eight months left to graduate, so basically I did not have much to do besides applying for an attachment in corporate companies. I decided to think of something that would keep me busy and earn money at the same time hence I ventured into the cake business,” says Ms Sang who is set to graduate this year.

She started a bakery called Dessert Palace which she registered in May this year at a cost of Sh3,000. She now bakes and sells birthday cakes, cupcakes and wedding cakes among other pastries.

She invested Sh50,000, capital she obtained from a beauty competition dubbed ‘The face of Palmolive’ that she had participated in in 2015 and was a runners-up after getting the most votes on Facebook.

The initial materials she bought for her new business include a hand mixer, a blender, baking tins, spatula, measuring cups and spoons, leveller, weighing scale and mixing bowls, among other necessary items.

In her first day in business she baked a two kilogramme vanilla cake which she sold to a family friend at Sh2,200.

“From that first sale, I received four referrals within one week. I then sold one banana cake, two one kilogramme carrot cakes and two vanilla flavoured cakes,” says Ms Sang adding that the business management skills she attained at the university came in handy.

With the business prospects promising, she realized that she needed to sharpen her skills to meet the demands of her clients. In March, she used part of her profit to attend a month-long baking course at Ginah’s Cakes, a seasoned bakery firm, where she acquired knowledge on decoration of cakes, mixing procedures and the best ingredients to use for a specific type of cake.

“A two kilogramme 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 spoons of vanilla essence, 500ml of whipping cream, and food colour if necessary,” she notes.

Ms Sang 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 ranges from Sh1,600 to Sh2,200 while a two kilogramme cakes goes for Sh2,500 to Sh3,100. She sells one packet of cupcakes comprising six pieces at Sh550.

On average, she receives eight to 10 orders of cakes per week and up to 10 orders for cupcakes.

“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,” says Ms Sang.

- African Laughter

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