BY SUSAN JOHNES
Jacqueline Weche started her baking business in February 2016. The 29-year old lady who bakes from her kitchen at home was the last born in a family of four kids.
“I started the business because I couldn’t get a job,” she states. “I did my first degree of human resource in Pretoria, South Africa, where I moved in January 2007, immediately after high school,” she added.
In 2011, Jacqueline then moved back to Kenya, her home country. “Despite my human resource degree from one of the prestigious University in Africa, I wasn’t able to find a job. Therefore, I went back to Catholic University for the second degree in HR and business,” she stated.
Jacqueline graduated in May 2016. By the time her name was being read out at the graduation ceremony, she had already registered her bakery business, ‘Sweet & Sleek Creations.’
When asked what nurtured her passion for the venture, Jacqueline stated that she always loved being in the kitchen. “I have cooked a variety of dishes since I was a child. My family used to wake me up every Saturday and ask me to make them eggs,” she joked.
She added that she loved cake, in particular, the fudge cake from Java. “I remember buying the cake one day and thought I could bake this at home.” That’s how she started off.
She had sampled different recipes from the Internet and baked with the ingredients she had in the house. Thanks to her friend Yvette who pushed her to turn it into a business.
Jacque believed in the viability of her passion for being a sustainable income earner for her. She adds that she didn’t procrastinate but instead went for it.
But there were stumbling blocks on her way. The biggest challenge was the financial hurdle, though she approached her Mum and told her she wanted a hand mixer. Without hesitation, Jacqueline received the gadget and was ready to utilize it fully.
Jacqueline went to the kitchen the same day and made her first cake which backfired. “It was a simple black forest cake, but I didn’t even reach the forest part. I threw it away and cleared my work surface to try again until I got it right.”
Every day, Jacque would try a new recipe of flavor ranging from vanilla, strawberry, and carrot among others. Her favorite cake was chocolate.
Occasionally, Jacqueline used to call her friends to walk her through her mistakes whenever a cake didn’t turn out as expected. She gave her friends and neighbors free samples and most of them later became her regular clients.
Jacqueline’s client list slowly grew through referrals. She stated that her peak season was between September and December where on average, she baked 70 cakes a month.
During the low season, between Januarys to mid-March, she bakes around ten cakes each month. The popular cake amongst her clients is the one-kg black forest, which goes for $18 and one-kg chocolate cake for $16.
The biggest challenges with baking at home are how to account for electricity, baking cakes on client’s orders only, and lack of space for display.
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