If you consider businesses that bring people joy, for me at least, cake is one of them.
It’s also a product which is being bought by the emerging middle class especially in Kenya, with custom made ones being sold for up to $180.
Grace not only makes these cakes, but teaches others how to with her Cake Academy.
We discuss the customers who are buying cakes, how she taught her team to run the business when she went on maternity leave and innovations in the cake industry.
The interview took place outside her shop, and so there is a bit of background noise and not all of the answers are fully audible.
Here are some of the key quotes:
“It started when I was at university”
We’ve been going for eight years and now have our own shop which also houses our cake academy.
“We train people to make their own cakes”
There seemed to be room for improvement in teaching people how to make cakes, and so after starting making my own, I now teach others.
“How creative can we get?”
We’re looking at introducing fruit and chocolate on the cakes as well as different shapes. We learn from our customers and from bakeries across the world.
Is where we get a lot inspiration.
“We do custom made cakes all the time”
Most people who come into the shop are buying a bespoke cake. These can cost from $30 up to $180.
“Our customers are the upper middle class”
They earn typically earn $20,000 – $30,000 per year. We then have the wedding cake industry too which is even more.
“We’re big on innovation”
Customers come to us to get the latest designs in cakes. We’re at the forefront of cake innovation in Kenya.
“Production is our biggest cost”
Buying things like icing sugar, paying wages and then utilities such as electricity and WiFi.
“We keep several suppliers”
When it comes to critical ingredients like cream, we need to keep accounts open with several in case one of them fails.
“I teach people recipes I’ve perfected”
I took a couple of classes back in 2005 and since then have been changing the recipes to make them better, such as adding an extra egg.
“We’re big on cupcakes”
These come from people who want to buy a present for the office to celebrate, or just as a walk in purchase.
“We reach our customers online”
This is via Facebook marketing, Instagram and we’re considering LinkedIn marketing too. There are also cake festivals and fairs that we attend too.
“People are seeing Cake Academy as a route to employment”
It’s inspirational for people to see success stories of people setting up their own businesses. 100s of people apply to join the course.
“I’ll be focusing on the Cake Academy”
Teaching other people is where my passion lies. We’re wanting to partner with other bakeries internationally.
“… but passion isn’t everything”
It’s important to learn business skills such as financial statements.
“I read business books and took classes”
These gave me some fundamental approaches to how to run the business which I’ve been applying such as allowing me more time strategise about the business. This all came once I was going on maternity leave.
“Franchise is the future”
The way that we’re looking to grow is by documenting everything that we do and then selling the rights to others to set up their own shops.
Social Media Follows etc.
Grace’s favourite book: The E Myth, Michael Gerber
Greatness Business Club: on Facebook
Pictures of cakes