But, upon your return from honeymoon, a global epidemic causes a nation-wide lock-down. You realize the business you left your job for, months before your wedding, is one of the most affected. And, your finances are still hurting from the wedding expenses.
But, for Lynn Waithera founder of Lynn’s bakes this is a passing cloud and her faith is unshaken. I hop on a zoom call with Lynn to learn how she took a step of faith to leave her 9-5 job to start her business. The same faith, she says is what is keeping her going in these uncertain moments.
Lynn’s story is not different from what most millennial have experienced. While she wanted to pursue baking classes before joining campus her parents didn’t think it was a wise move. She ended up doing the usual computer packages.
In university she pursued Communication and journalism which was her second option.
And like me, Lynn may never use her certificate. But, we can apply the knowledge we gained in school to our businesses.
She doesn’t regret anything and is glad she started her business when she did.
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Gold strokes and lilac. 😍😍 We loved it! From a squad to one of their own. ❤️ . . Apple cinnamon 1kg cake. #cake #instacake #cakeideas #cakeinspo #buzzfeed #rossettes #cream #cakedecorating #birthday #love #strawberry #gold #cakesofinstagram #igfood #food #simple #lynnsbakes #luxurycake #bakingyouhappy
When did your baking journey begin?
I started baking in campus. At first i didn’t know that i could Google recipes and bake. My boyfriend, now my husband encouraged me to Google recipes and start baking. I ended up baking my first cake for him on Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t an easy task as I had to use the campus hostel cooking coil and go the traditional way of using sand.
He shared the cake with our friends who started coming to me with ingredients so I can bake for them. I can say we made some good cakes while others were a amiss.
So when did you start baking as a business?
I decided to start baking commercially when still in campus in 2016. It wasn’t easy because I didn’t have the finances. But, my cousin came through for me and gave me some money to buy a few basic baking equipment like a baking tin and mixer.
In 2017 when we went for long holidays I got a job as a customer care assistant. The corporate world fascinated me and made look forward to employment. I took this opportunity to use my parents’ oven to continue baking cakes.
I would tell people about my cakes and I started getting orders and referrals. I decided to take advantage of my work place too. I would bake a lot of free cakes for my colleagues who would later on buy from me.
Word started spreading and I opened my social media pages to market my baking there as well.
Once school opened I continued baking using a small oven to serve the clients at school.
Wow! You did all this without having gone to baking school?
When I was giving out free cakes I would experiment with different kinds of flavors and designs. I have also used YouTube and Google a lot. I play around with the recipes I find online and come up with mine.
I also went for one wedding cake master class and learnt how to perfect the wedding cakes.
After campus I had secured a couple of weddings cakes. They were friends’ weddings and also some recommendations that had come by.
With weddings, I was able to market myself by going with business cards to the weddings. I would put business cards on the table so people could reach me later on. My business grew through that.
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Wedding Wednesday! All cream cake fresh yellow roses! This was such a beauty. 😍😋 ___________________________________________________________________ #nairobiweddings #weddings #weddingcake #yellowmellow #nairobibaker #kenyaweddings #cakes #indoorweddings #cake #bakingyouhappy #lynnsbakes
You also went into corporate right?
I wanted what my friends had, the feeling of working in corporate so I prayed for a job.
I got a job as a personal assistant where I was earning peanuts. The funny thing is, my business grew more when I started my new job.
I later realized the job situation wasn’t working for me. I figured I could get money but not from an office. The job wasn’t fulfilling and I was getting stressed.
I decide to leave the job but also prayed about it. When I got my sign I left with little savings, despite the fact that I had moved out of my parents’ house.
So I knew my business had to succeed. I was positive that I would succeed. My industry is busy, there are always weddings happening and I knew a part of that could be mine.
I became aggressive in getting and maintaining my clients. I was ready to give it my all as compared to when I was juggling between my job and my business.
My intended audience eventually is weddings. So, I try to secure as many as I can. That said, during low season I still do other celebration cakes for my clients.
Side note: Lynn did her wedding cake and it was the first wedding I had such a big piece of good cake. (Well a bakers’ wedding!)
Due to COVID-19, we have seen events and weddings cancelled. How are you sustaining your business?
It has affected my business and sales have gone down.
Luckily we still have birthday cakes. But, I have had to become more creative.
I am selling small cake boxes that have different cake flavors. It’s a lot of work and it isn’t profit making. But it’s a sale strategy. I am able to get orders for big cakes from the clients tasting my cake flavors.
Have you been using social media during this time to market yourself more?
I have been using Facebook to sell the cake boxes and getting customers from there.
Facebook has worked for me in that way but Instagram not much. I still use it for awareness by posting my work.
Word of mouth has worked the best for me because my clients refer me a lot. That’s why I work hard to maintain my clients.
What’s your advice for someone who has lost their job?
My husband and I have been trying to maximize on our other gifts and talents to increase income flow for our household.
The question to ask is “what do the people need now the most? And how can I be of benefit to the society next to me?
One thing I have realized is selling a lot is food. People are taking advantage of the food need. They are making samosas, chapatis, cookies, mandazi to sell. People are already tired of cooking for their families or for themselves. This is now a business.
If you have lost your job you have to rethink on a lot of things. You have to adapt.
Don’t focus on how you are drowning and start thinking on how you will grow in this environment. Adjust.
What has this season taught you?
It has taught me that tomorrow isn’t certain.
I am newly married and I came out of honeymoon to a lock-down. We have had to adjust and live in the now.
I am learning to rest when I need it. It’s not an easy time so as much as I want money I as well have to take care of my mental health.
As a born again Christian, I am learning to trust in God and asking Him for my daily bread. Whatever that daily bread is at the moment, may it be rent or other things. He will provide.
I am trying not to get consumed by the worries of this world.
I am living one day at a time.