Marylynne Marube has proved that you don’t need years of professional training to delve into some ventures. Her growth i  the cake-making business was powered not only by search engine, Google, but also from reading books and watching baking videos on YouTube.

It was four years ago when the entrepreneurship bug bit her.  Ms Marube started teaching herself in 2013 and by 2015 she had learned a lot about cakes. She then registered her company – Marie Sweet Cakes – and decided to go into the baking industry big time from her savings. She started working from her house, buying one item at a time.

“I would say am a YouTube graduate,” she says. “It wasn’t easy but I made it. It took me a whole year of teaching myself, from baking to decorating. It’s my passion and I love it.”

When she started, each day was a learning day, as she explored the enormous potential of pastries, churning out cakes for various occasions including graduation, weddings, baby showers and birthdays. She delivers at least 8 cakes during weekends and churns out at least 40 pieces in a month, not bad for a start-up. She has employed four people as per now.

Yummy cookies, breads, muffins, cupcakes, braided loafs and croissants are the fast moving products during weekdays. Her target is both high end and the mass market because in this business, “even ten shillings for a cookie is a profit.”

The entrepreneur says that in the current tough economic times, when so many young graduates wait too long for job opportunities, getting into a business is the only way to kiss poverty goodbye. Hers is a story of resilience and hard work, especially being a self-trained baker.

“We not only target the sweet toothed people but also those who consume gluten free cakes. I want my clients to have an unforgettable experience,” she says.

Ms Marube believes that being “your own boss” is gainful because you give back to the society by creating employment.

Being a business lady she has time to think big and plan great things while having flexible hours to spend time with family. “Customers tend to come back again and again because of good service. Customer loyalty is what has helped me grow within the short time that I have been baking.”

This You Tube graduate says Kenyans must embrace entrepreneurship or keeping looking for elusive jobs. She says that as long as you know what you are doing, there are hundreds of ventures you can do at the comfort of your home. Baking and selling cakes is just one of them.

Growing competition

Shopping for creative bakers is challenging especially with the crowding out effect – most people can bake these days, and with the many numbers and the booming business, bogus bakers looking for easy money creep in and business becomes tough due to issues of trust.

As a beginner Ms Marube would sell to friends, colleagues and family members, who would then refer her to other clients. She points out that baking is not for everyone. One must really put in more work to make things work.

“I started baking in my house where I used to teach myself from reading books, researching through Google and watching baking videos. I want to be someone who bakes like no one else; do unique things and be one of the greatest bakers here in Kenya,” she says.

What it takes to start a bakery business

Apart from a business permit from the county government where you operate from, food handling medical certificate, which costs Ksh600, comes handy. Other requirements include a food hygiene certificate and fire safety certificate (Ksh3,000).

A capital of Ksh100,000 is just enough for a start; depending on size of the bakery.

Ms Marube says if you are to flourish in baking business, you have to be very passionate about it. Once you jump into the business it is wise to keep moving while engaging well thought out tactics that will enable you get a piece of the pie.

“The greatest challenge as a baker is price of baking commodities,” says. “Everything is expensive and clients want cakes to be sold at a fair price. Electricity is expensive, traffic is hectic within the city sometimes one can delay in doing deliveries, but so far we are trying.”

First published here