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‘My friends mocked my choice of business’

Weekly Trust: What inspired you into cake baking and design?Osiota Bright Enaruk: The quest of what to do after school led me into cake making.…

Weekly Trust: What inspired you into cake baking and design?
Osiota Bright Enaruk: The quest of what to do after school led me into cake making. We all know that getting a job after school is not easy, so I thought instead of joining the train of unemployed graduates seeking jobs, why not learn something? Cake baking and design became the best bet. I started learning cake in my second year in school. Of course, without doubt, it was never easy combining academics with any vocational training, but I was determined to learn it.
WT:You ventured into the business while in school; how were you able to combine that with academics?
Enaruk: Learning the art of baking was so challenging and meeting up the needs of my clients was even more challenging especially being a student. As a student then, I went to classes during the day and did the baking and designing at night. Sometimes I barely had two hours sleep. I even had to skip classes sometimes to meet up with the challenges, but not withstanding I was still able to cope and also face my studies.
WT: How long have you been in the business and what are the challenges?
Enaruk: This is my third year since I have been baking, and there were myriads of challenges. The confectionery profession is tagged a female’s job. I was often ridiculed by friends that among the millions of skills available for men I chose a feminine profession. There are also cases of customers preferring the best of cakes at lower prices. Everyone wants to use the best cake for his or her event. Some will want to use the cake that was used by Desmond Elliot as their birthday cake at a very low cost price. Those are some of the challenges.
WT: What was your initial capital when you started the business?
Enaruk: There was no initial capital when I started. But I can recall that back then, the first cake I made, I had to borrow N1, 300 to enable me acquire the baking pan and some other items to carry out the job.
WT: How much profit do you make from baking?
Enaruk: In baking, there are no fixed prices for cakes. There are usually two factors that determine cake prices: The concept of the work, how elaborate, time consuming and skillful the work is. This can go a long way in determining how much the work would be charged. The price also dependson the personality involved. For instance, what I would charge a politician is different from an ordinary person.
WT: How much time do you need to make cakes?
Enaruk: Just as cake prices are not certain or fixed same also is with the time. It all depends on the nature of design involved in making the cake. There are some that can take four hours, while some designs can even take days to put together.
WT: Do you have people working or learning under you; if so, how many?
Enaruk: Of course, I do. I even have a cake school where I teach people the art of baking and design. Currently, I have no fewer than 15 students in my cake school, while seven have started operating their own cake business big time.
WT: How many cakes can you make in a day?
Enaruk: Just as mentioned earlier it all depends on the type of design I’m doing. There are some designs that can take you days to put together, and there are some that can take less than an hour to complete. The number of cakes I can do in a day varies by the type or nature of design that would make up the cake.
WT: You are not just streamlined to baking but also designing; how did you acquire the skills?
Enaruk:  Baking and design go together. For one to excel in the cake industry you must be good in the art of designing. You can only get and keep your clients when your designs are good. I got my skills for designing by undergoing training with Kema Abuede, the CEO of Conspicuous Cakes in Lagos.
WT: How many customers do you have and how do you attract them?
Enaruk: What has really helped me to grow is my nature of work. To me everybody is a cake maker, but not all can make what the people desire. I do work of art in cake. I’m a cake artiste. I do custom cakes. There is no work of art I can’t do with cake. Even before working on a cake. I always carry out little research to know the likes and dislikes of my clients, their profession and hobbies. Thereafter, I build them into the cake they desire. So the ability to attract my customers leads to more patronage. Sincerely, I have lost count of my customers because when I make cake for one client and another person sees it, they tend to want to patronise me. But over all I have made cakes for more than a thousand people.
WT: There are youths out there who may have interest in your line of business; what advice would you give them and what potentials should they possess?
Enaruk: Any one that is interested in my nature of work should have the zeal and patience to want to learn and above all the person should have the passion for cake making and design. He/she must also dedicate time for the work. The person needs not to be an artist before he/she can grow.
WT: You take entrepreneurial courses in the Federal Polytechnic Auchi; how did that come about?
Enaruk: I was appointed as a student lecturer to teach in the Centre for Entrepreneurial Development. My appointment took shape as a result of the cake skills I exhibited while I was still a student. Back in school I made cakes for school functions, including functions where the rector and senior lecturers were present. My cakes caught their attention because of my designs and that brought about my appointment.
WT: Do you see yourself taking a government job in the future?
Enaruk: I won’t say no to a civil service job but my acceptance of such would come with a conditions. It must be a job that will give me full attention for my business. One thing I know for sure is that I can never and will never go about hawking my curriculum vitae in the streets for employment.

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