By Olufemi Adediran, Abeokuta
In a society where majority of the youths are unemployed and have lost hope in the country, Omofolawe Alawode, a baker has turned her passion into a lucrative business and she breaking new grounds.
The 24-year-old graduate of Mass Communication from Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Ogun State decided to create her own job instead of searching for a white collar job that is no longer visible.
Alawode is one of the millions of Nigerian youths who believe that entrepreneurship is the way to go, instead of sitting idle and blaming the government like others do.
She refused to live as a dependant and turned her passion into a business; baking, which according to her is paying more than what a fresh graduate would get while working.
Alawode, realised early in life that the only way to be fulfilled in life is doing what she loved most and with this in her mind, she quit her banking job to pursue her passion.
“Baking has always been my dream. Its not something I just decided to go into. I loved baking since I was about 15 years old when I was living with my cousin who is also a baker and this helped me to develop more passion for baking”, Alawode said with a wide grin.
She added, “Baking is magical. Turning flour, sugar, butter into cake is magical and I love the magic I create.”
Despite the numerous challenges faced by young business owners like her, Alawode is resolute to, not only succeed as a business owner but also help other young aspiring entrepreneurs to create wealth.
As a young entrepreneur, Alawode said, “The greatest challenge confronting me and others like me is funding. There is no easy access to funds to develop our businesses. We need assistance in this regard.”
“Another challenge we also face is convincing people about your brand. It takes a lot of work to convince people that you are better than the existing brands if given opportunity to prove yourself,” she said.
According to her, baking is a very tedious work but the joy of creating a beautiful piece of work and putting smile on the faces of her clients takes away all the stress.
“As a baker, one of the greatest challenge I face is going to the market all by myself, Sometimes after getting back from shopping for cake ingredient. I’m mostly very, very exhausted and sometimes I even forget to eat so as to meet up with deadlines for delivery.
“Another challenge I face is the delivery service. It’s really difficult to get a logistic company that delivers cake because it’s very fragile.”
She added, “The few logistic company that deliver cake charge exorbitant fees and most times this results in misunderstandings between me and my clients because some clients won’t want to pay more for delivery and you have to appeal to them
and make them understand why its that expensive. Sometimes I end up losing some customers because of delivery charges.”
Speaking on how lucrative the business, “Baking is a very, very lucrative business to be honest. If you are able to make about 15 to 20 cakes in a month. At least you should be able to make between N70,000 to N80, 000 gain per month depending on how much you charge. You can equally make double of that depending on the charges and if you are making wedding cake, that is a whole lot of money.”
In growing her business, Alawode is exploring the social media. She gets a lot of clients from the social media which has helped in no small measure in promoting her products.
“Social media really helped my business. Honestly, I get most of my clients from twitter, instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. Others are referrals from people that has once patronised me before but the social media is my major selling platform”.
Asked if she ever regretted going into baking, Alawode said, “I have no regret choosing this career rather than practising journalism. Yes, I love journalism but then I have passion for baking and I would rather go for my passion. No regrets at all.”
“Initially”, she said, “My mother opposed my being a baker because I was working in a bank but I had my plans and my plan was to raise capital for the business and training. So when I finally decided to resign my job, my mother was so mad at me but I eventually gave her reasons not to and now she is so proud of the woman I’m becoming, she sees the effort I put into this one work and how far I have gone in less than a year and she is very much happy and proud of me now”.
“My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to stay dedicated, focused and determined because honestly, it is not easy being a young entrepreneur but you do not give up if truly the business you choose is your passion”.
“I would advise them not to be discouraged because Rome was not built in a day. It might take years to build the business but with hard work and dedication, they will get there”, she said.
Alawode is also involved in training young bakers interested in taking up the business of baking, this she said is her own little way of contributing to the reduction of youth unemployment in the country.