Nigerian entrepreneur turns facet-hustle into thriving bakery enterprise

Nike Majekodunmi

When an acquaintance tasted Nike Majekodunmi’s cookies for the very first time in 2006 at a housewarming party in Lagos, Nigeria, he promptly enquired about the marketing price tag. Majekodunmi, an e-enterprise administration consultant at the time, felt a little bit offended that he would consider baking was “all she did for a living”. Nonetheless, he persisted and grew to become her 1st customer.

Soon thereafter, the exact same person put a big get for his company’s Christmas social gathering. “That is when I lastly admitted I also bake, with frequent orders coming in,” she remembers.

Her solutions became progressively preferred. “For a whilst, I was a baker by night time, e-organization expert by day.” It was all around this time that she received married, and when the couple needed to start off a family members, she selected to go away her working day occupation and focus on the baking. The notion of the versatility, that she could function from residence and have time to devote with the young children appealed to her.

“Little did I know the organization was likely to snowball into this equipment,” she laughs. The customer base grew so swiftly, she had to go out of her house kitchen into a shop less than a yr afterwards.

Majekodunmi formally rebranded to Nuts About Cakes in 2010 to spotlight the abilities the bakery had designed in cakes. What was after a aspect-hustle has turned into a thriving bakery chain with more than 130 workforce and eight retail outlets.

Securing finance and reinvestment

One of the early milestones for the company was when it moved from its first location to a much more prominent place in Lekki Period 1, a properly-planned, mapped-out household scheme by the Lagos condition government. “I realised I had to raise finance for this transfer, simply because I needed to go huge-scale. I desired the modern comforts, excellent products and a café,” she says.

Majekodunmi drew up her organization prepare and tried using to market her aspiration to mates and acquaintances. “It is very humbling when you are on the lookout for finance. I took that company system from dwelling to home, business office to office environment.”

In the stop, the only investors who did just take equity have been her spouse and her father. Her mom also supplied a smaller bank loan.

Having said that, it was plenty of to get Nuts About Cakes into its new space. The staff of four had to lock a variety of rooms because they to begin with had no use for them. The organization immediately acquired its 1st wander-in clients. “The first day two individuals arrived into the retailer and we ended up so thrilled,” she laughs. “Then we experienced 4, then 6 and it grew from there. Right now, throughout all the places, we probably have 700 to 800 everyday stroll-ins.”

There were a several steps the crew took to mature the small business. From the start, reinvestment was a concentration. Majekodunmi did not attract a income at initially, as an alternative, ploughing all the income again into the small business. Nuts About Cakes steadily expanded its products options. The cookies and cakes were being well-known but the corporation opted to seek the services of a pastry chef so it could provide bread. This introduced a continual stream of each day foot targeted visitors by way of the doors. Majekondunmi then included meat pies, sausage rolls and scotch eggs. “Another huge milestone was when we opened the café at our Lekki Period 1 store. We turned well acknowledged.”

The product line-up – blended with the café model – was replicated in the future location, Ikoyi, a single of the most high-priced real estate spots in Nigeria. Then followed a bakery and café in Circle Shopping mall, Lagos. Now, there are eight retail retailers.

In 2014, Majekodunmi went back to the classroom to entire a business program at Lagos Organization University. “It was an proprietor-administration programme which helped me think of myself as a bakery director rather of just the baker,” she suggests. She also completed a Seed Transformation Programme in business enterprise administration and administration from Stanford College Graduate School of Company in 2018.

A multichannel tactic

Nuts About Cakes provides its cookies, cakes and pastries to prospects through different “clicks and bricks” channels, clarifies Majekodunmi. About 30% of all income occur by means of telephonic orders. Stroll-ins continue to be a mainstay in spite of the affect of Covid-19 constraints.

A channel that is quickly getting traction is product sales produced as a result of social media. The enterprise is active on Facebook and Instagram. A person channel that has shocked Majekodunmi is the company’s WhatsApp Enterprise account. “I in no way imagined men and women would be snug placing orders in excess of WhatsApp it is a increasing channel for us.”

A Nuts About Cakes retail outlet

Nuts About Cakes also has an e-commerce system. It is not doing as perfectly as the other folks but it is well known with people today residing overseas – especially the US, British isles and Canada – who want to put orders for shipping to family members customers in Lagos.

The company counts major firms this sort of as Citibank and Microsoft under its corporate shoppers and also materials universities, boarding services and churches.

“Our up coming move is to build a mobile app to further more assistance this multichannel platform,” says Majekodunmi.

Aged and new competitiveness

The firm has two key competition in Lagos, the two of which have been all around for far more than two many years. There are also new rivals. When Majekodunmi begun baking cookies all all those a long time in the past, cake celebs – like Buddy Valastro, the Cake Boss, or the workforce from Charly’s Cake Angels in Cape City – ended up not as well known. There was also no Instagram.

“From about 2014, when the Tv set displays genuinely took off, individuals commenced producing cupcakes and cake pops. Points improved nowadays, Instagram companies as a collective have developed to come to be a enormous competitor.”

Nuts About Cakes had to improve its solution to be capable to compete with Instagram bakers when it will come to bespoke cakes. A dwelling baker on Instagram would commit a working day or two decorating a cake and posting the most effective pictures. “For me, if I have a decorator that only adorned two cakes in a day, he has not proven up for operate! You have to do at the very least 15,” she states. “We had to move in direction of extra front-end off-the-shelf cakes that can quickly be inscribed with a identify though a buyer waits. This is the influence Instagram experienced on our company.”

Overcoming hurdles

Majekodunmi experienced to get over a absence of self confidence in herself and the business in the early times. “I would inform folks what I did and they would roll their eyes,” she recalls. “There was not a whole lot of support and I experienced to pull myself by means of that.”

Together the way, external difficulties also surfaced. Corporations in Nigeria have to make additional investments to be capable to endure off the grid. Nuts About Cakes has its very own generators to beat the unreliable energy offer and a borehole to make certain clean water for baking. It also pays for personal security.

The organization misplaced one of its shops to an unexpected point out governing administration coverage that ruled all retail shops on a person road experienced to be demolished. In the previous year, the organization also had to deal with the devaluation of the naira, the #EndSARS protests and subsequent curfew, and then Covid-19 and a lockdown.

“Everything can modify in the blink of an eye. When the lockdown arrived, we had to close 5 outlets and transfer from 30% of product sales becoming deliveries to 80%. We quickly experienced to use unbiased supply drivers – kind of a male-in-a-van thought – and teach them. You have to be nimble and think on your ft,” she says.

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