Ms Blessing Goodman Amanya, the founder of Nutripal shows off a birthday cake. December is the juiciest month for Nutripal even making up to 100 cakes per day. PHOTOS/JOAN SALMON


Amanya bakes cakes with a healthy twist

What you need to know:

With a drive to create healthy baked foods, Ms Amanya’s baking business has evolved to offering cakes over Shs3.9 million. 

She has found a new market in the baking industry.  As the pastries market undergoes metamorphosis, Ms Blessing Goodman Amanya is doing something out of the box: baking treats with healthy living in mind. Picking it from her mother, Ms Blessing Goodman Amanya could not shake it off. It is a little wonder that she did Food and Nutrition at A-level where she baked for her teachers for the fun of it.

After graduating from Uganda Christian University in 2015, she had several job placements. Starting from her internships at the Uganda Revenue Authority, and Kenya Airways, Ms Amanya honed her accountancy skills. Then there was Vivo Energies in 2016 and Coca-Cola where she infused her 8-5 working skills with baking. 

“Unlike in the past, where I focused solely on my accounting job, with a side hustle at hand, at Coca-Cola and Vivo, I was also vested in learning how to create structures, the big brand way. It involved setting up systems such as the reporting structure, deliverables, and reports, and managing teams. I also inquired about advertising budgets and how to ensure they make an impact. Giving myself to learning, with time, I knew I was ready to step out to baking,” she says.

Resigning into self-employment in 2018, Ms Amanya started with Planet Cakes and home was the work station.
“In 2020, the family relocated to a home with a garage hence a bigger workstation, with five casual workers. At the end of the year, I thought it was time to have a separate workstation hence opening an outlet in Ntinda,” she says.

That resulted in rebranding and refocusing and Ms Amanya says the journey has been an exciting one thus far. 

Ms Amanya’s start-up capital was Shs2m, from her savings. One of the items she needed was a charcoal oven that cost Shs1.5m. She also deposited Shs500,000 at a wholesale shop where she got several items to start a business on a bigger scale.

When upscaling to a standalone business, Ms Amanya had saved up Shs100m which helped her pay for rent and get more appliances.

During one of the side hustle days, one client shared with a friend about a lovely cake they had eaten. That led to a referral and a subsequent order for Ms Amanya. 

“This was my former schoolmate at campus, who said he wanted the exact cake I had earlier made. While I had not bothered with measurements, only using my eyes to assess the desired quantities, it was time to ensure I delivered without disappointing,” she says.

That was her first wedding cake order, worth Shs1.5m. Being her first big order, Ms Amanya sought help thus hiring two part-time bakers, majorly for the finishing works. This project taught her the essence of having standards and that accepting help is not a weakness as she picked several lessons from the hired hands. Looking back, her skill set has improved and so have the client numbers.

The $1,000 cake
From the first wedding cake order, Ms Amanya’s cake baking world has evolved to offer $1,000 (Shs3.9 million) cakes.

“Our wedding cakes range from Shs2m to Shs10m as we love to celebrate love and every other milestone with good cake,” she says.
Oftentimes, these go through a laborious preparation, more so fruitcakes whose fruits are soaked maybe six months prior or more, depending on one’s needs. That is why booking in advance is a necessity. 

Blessing Goodman Amanya with an introduction cake. PHOTOS/JOAN SALMON

“They are crafted with meticulous precision to suit the client’s celebratory mood. With these, we deliver and wait to help the customer cut the cake,” she says.

Nonetheless, after a period of studying their customers and training, they are always prepared to have one ready and fresh cake for that walk-in client who does not want a supermarket cake. 

“If one must wait, it is only 30 minutes because the chef is always available. I want to believe it Nutripal was the first at this and other bakeries have picked it up,” she says.

Adding, “We believe in working with statistics, and getting client feedback to do better.”

Covid-19 lessons
Ms Amanya, just like other business people, was affected by Covid-19 as prices skyrocketed. In her case, while orders kept coming in, inflated wheat prices greatly lowered their profit margins from wheat products such as bread, and chapattis. There was also a drop in the customer numbers.

“Nonetheless, some people started sharing about their health issues such as gluten intolerance, and reaction to eggs. They wondered if we could come up with products that would suit their diverse needs and we gathered the information,” she says.

That allowed them to think of getting substitutes to suit their clients’ needs hence the genesis of products that cater to dietary intolerances.
“That prompted a name change to Nutripal and a bend in their journey to solve people’s health problems through a baked product such as cake,” Ms Amanya says.

Labour struggles
Ms Amanya notes that there is a high labour turnover in the business but credits her experience in formal employment to maintain her workers. 

“In formal employment, I picked up some practices such as appraisals, and work culture that I implemented when I started operations. However, for some, our structured system was unwelcome because they were accustomed to unstructured workplaces. All that mattered to them was baking, never being accountable to anyone,” she says.

Talent growth is very crucial for Ms Amanya hence allowing the employees to do their work without interruption yet embracing new techniques.

“Our manager once told us that the employees are happy because their ideas are listened to. We also give prizes for innovations to keep them motivated to work excellently,” she says.

Skilling academy
This started post-Covid-19 because, at the lockdown lifting, the economy changed, with many losing employment. 

“The academy looks to extend our skills hence working with many interns but also helps to open up employment opportunities for people through training. Therefore, we are working with youth and women to empower them and they can then replicate it,” she says.

One example is a client who sought Ms Amanya’s training to fulfil their desire to create a money-making venture. After the training, Ms Amanya did a Business Development Services (BDS), with them. 

“We then set up their bakery and they are flourishing,” she says. 
Basic training costs Shs500,000 but there are packages as needs vary hence customised package costs. In regards to the bakery, it calls for another training that involves learning about bookkeeping aspects such as costing.