MY HUSTLE: I started baking by accident but now it’s paying off

Thursday August 17 2017

Anne aspires to own a cake house. She has two

Anne aspires to own a cake house. She has two jobs. PHOTO| MAXWELL MUKUHA 

By MARION MAINA
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When Anne speaks, her voice resonates with quiet confidence. Firm but gentle, having the ease of someone with a deep sense of self-awareness and a healthy dose of optimism.

Anne was born in Kamurugu, Murang’a County, but the family later relocated to Nairobi. She is the second-born child after her twin siblings, a boy and a girl.

Her brother was born with cerebral palsy. One of the reasons they moved to Nairobi was to seek better treatment for her brother Njoro.

DRAWN TO NJORO

“I was drawn to Njoro from a very tender age, though he was different from my sister (his twin) and other children my age. More often than not, I always understood what he wanted or needed. To date, we are very close.”

Spending time with Njoro and accompanying him to support forums awakened Anne’s passion for people with special needs. She created a Facebook page called Uniquely Abled, with the aim of creating awareness about special conditions and handicaps.

However, the initiative has not been as successful as she had projected. She observes that people are still unwilling to share their experiences as caretakers of children with special needs, preferring to hide them instead.

Undeterred, Anne hopes to start a foundation in future for children with special needs. Its main objective will be to provide affordable therapy as well as create awareness about these children's plight.

Anne just completed her undergraduate degree in communication and public relations. But she, does not envision a future career in some fancy PR firm or the communication field for that matter.

BAKING

“Learning PR has moulded me into a better communicator. However, my expertise lies in baking. I grew up inhaling the rich aroma of freshly baked pastries baked by my mother. I even chose to study Home Science at school so as to bake some more.”

It was not until last year, however, that Anne decided to pursue baking more seriously.

“My friend Mariam and I had decided to go shopping for groceries and on reaching my room, lo and behold! The ten eggs we had bought stared back at us in a messy puddle, all broken”.

She remembers turning to Mariam, her eyes gleaming with defiance as she declared that they were going to bake a cake. Her conscience simply wouldn’t allow her to let 10 eggs go to waste.

From that day on, Anne has not stopped baking cakes. Recently, she started taking orders from clients. Carrot cakes and Black Forest are her best-selling cakes. She bakes five times a week, totalling an average of 8-10kg of delicious moist cake.

Anne has learnt to be more patient, courtesy of her baking venture. Sometimes the cake turns out wrong and she has to start afresh.

She has also cultivated the virtue of perseverance and commitment. Anne once baked a 14kg cake in one weekend, getting no sleep for three straight days so as not to disappoint a client.

She is contemplating getting a motorbike and ride it herself for more efficient delivery of her sumptuous cakes.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE

“Deliveries are my biggest challenge as I have to use public transport. This tends to be quite unreliable in terms of being on time and also ensuring the cake arrives to the client intact, not squashed.

"I can’t wait to get that kick-ass motorcycle, add some groove to my hustle!”

Mark Cuban, from the "Shark Tank" television show, is one of the people that Anne looks up to. She is inspired by people who are business-minded and confident.  

Locally, she is a diehard fan of Hashnunish Sultan, a city baker well known for her tact in handling obnoxious clients.

“She has standards and sticks by them. Her cakes have mind-blowing detail, she is simply amazing.

"Sometimes I'm stood up by clients and end up eating the cake or hawking it on Facebook. I wish she would teach me how to handle such hitches.”

Anne aspires to own a cake house. She is currently working two jobs. She bakes at night from 9-11pm and delivers orders in the morning.

She then goes to her second job as a sales agent at Tradestar Kenya Ltd from 12:30pm to 8pm.

“I hope to inspire three things in the people reading this. Zeal for all they do, perseverance and a willingness to learn new things every day.”

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