If you were to cast lots between an IT graduate and cake baker, who do you think is most likely to earn a substantial lucrative income? The majority will say IT personnel. Why? Because of the high sense of regard we place upon a graduate.
However, Asha Batenga is one of a kind who has evidence and experience that cake business is stable and a lucrative business venture.
Asha Batenga is the founder of Cakely Uganda, a company that specializes in baking cakes for various celebrations and organizing cake fair events.
Before joining the cake trade, Batenga had tried out numerous gigs to supplement her income. Right from her university days, she worked tirelessly looking for tuition to a point that some days she would miss attending lectures and sitting for some exams.
When it comes to working, she has a bitter taste of the employment world. In all her efforts to better herself, she stumbled upon failure after failure. Out of frustration and dissatisfaction, she called it quits in the employment world.
How It Started
Batenga had no passion and plans of ever doing a cake business seriously.
“I thank Mr. failure for leading me to my cake business and teaching me how to make cakes” she said.
Back in 2015 along with her 6 female friends, who the majority were married but looking for more income generating investments suggested they start baking and selling cakes. In Batenga’s mind, she was not fascinated by the idea as she thought it to be another future failure if things started going bad. Nevertheless, she agreed to get on board and concentrated on marketing the products while the rest filled in the other gaps.
Jumping onto social media, she quickly created content and within a short time, she has managed to attract 40 cake orders. With bliss on all their faces, they worked hard around the clock to bake the cakes and deliver them on time.
Subsequently, the idea of cakes looked promising but as fate would have it, at a leisurely pace the ladies started dropping off one by one due to other pressing commitments that mothers and wives have to endure. Eventually, Batenga remained alone with no one to turn to except for her husband who was available for moral support.
The already established market had no idea of what was going on behind the scenes with the business. Orders just kept on popping. Batenga was all alone in the business, with no skills or idea how to bake and ice cakes. Her strength was marketing the business.
Pushed to choose between the devil and the angel, she embraced the angelic side and faced the heat. To quickly brush up her baking skills, she turned to YouTube and signed up for late-night crash courses. Watching and consuming whatever video that caught her attention, slowly she gained knowledge and the skills.
She went to work relying on what she had learned. Her first trial was such a total disaster that she had to spit out the piece of cake she had eaten. It turns out that she had forgotten to add a vital ingredient.
Her mistake encouraged her to get back on the drawing board and execute the task. Trial after trial she persisted alone in her kitchen. Nevertheless, from one of the attempts, she made a mistake but the kind of mistake that changed the course of her business.
From this mistake yet she had forgotten to apply a key ingredient in the solution. When the cake came out of the oven, it had birthed a new cake recipe that the world has never seen or heard of before. The discovery excited her after tasting the cake. To this day, the cake recipe is still her number one bestseller and she named it the “Chocolate Fudge Cake”.
To keep tabs with her customers she developed a consistent strategy of calling her clients for feedback and what she could do to enhance on the cakes. This game plan not only kept her busy, but it also helped her perfect her newfound passion and became an expert.
Challenges While Growing
Batenga can’t forget the tough times she went through to get to the level of having a sustainable flow of income. She sacrificed sleep, leisure activities and almost many times contemplated quitting and starting something new.
Her love for cakes and helping others to become exceptional businesspeople has seen her win special accolades and speaking engagements about her journey as a way of inspiring other women out there.
She went on further to establish Cake Shop Uganda, a networking platform that helps to converge bakers, suppliers, cake lovers, pastry lovers and clients in the baking trade. The platform is also used to share product designs and encouragements.
So far she has organized three successful cake fair events under the name Kampala Cake Fair that have now attracted the international market and on top of all that, she runs a cake magazine called The Cake Affair.
“Every woman should be able to work and husbands should support their wives to achieve their dreams and not look at women as housewives. What if tomorrow you die? Who will take care of the household? It is time to subvert the common belief that women are underdogs. And likewise, working women should be open to their husbands and not keep secret of their finances”, she said.