Tusiime’s sweet story of baking cakes and turning family, friends into clients

Violet Tusiime started her business during Covid-19 lockdown and today she has seen it grow to leaps and bounds.

What you need to know:

  • In 2019, Violet Tusiime met and connected with fellow worshipers at a church in a city suburb who were undertaking baking lessons. In addition to spiritual nourishing, she learnt how to bake. And as the saying goes, the rest is history.

To some people, the end of a relationship means bitterness and not much to write home about, but it is a different tale for Violet Tusiime.

She has her ex-boyfriend to thank for not only a happy ending but also some productive engagements.

Business idea 

In the many conversations they had, was an idea to start a baking company.  The opportunity came when she was prepared because her friends had introduced her to informal training in baking. 

Prior to that, she was a singer and dancer in a local troupe, and with the lockdown after the outbreak of Covid-19, she needed a source of livelihood and baking seemed to be the obvious entrepreneurial undertaking.

Takes advantage of Covid-19 

Like many, she was not about to waste the crisis the pandemic had brought. 

“I no longer had gigs as a source of livelihood so I started baking at home and I would supply them to family and friends. The feedback was good which encouraged me to keep going,” she recollects.

She made cupcakes and standard cakes of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, carrot, banana and red velvet flavours. The most popular ones are chocolate tutti fruity, vanilla, black forest.

For now, Tusiime works alone. Her bakery is still small which she says helps her keep her operational costs low. She knows many of her clients personally. 

Customers 

With time, her friends and family have referred her to their friends as customers. The prices of cakes differ depending on size and details a client might require. The lowest costs Shs70, 000. She continues to research about baking, designs and applies the knowledge during the baking process. 

For every penny she earns, she saves a considerable percentage. She reads up on the machines and other items she needed to invest in. That made it easier for her to align her aspirations because with every item identified, she went to Katwe and inquired about the price and durability.

Investment 

Her first investment was in an oven. It cost her Shs3m. She went on to buy pans, ingredients and others. When she set out, it was about baking cakes in order to have money in her pocket.

“Initially my focus was not as strong as it is today. At some point, I was not sure if I was going to do baking on a long-term basis. The interest and love grew and here I am. The encouragement from my ex-boyfriend got me to focus better,” the proprietor of Candy Cakes 256 explains. 

Her financial discipline has also improved. She is also able to handle her finances better than when she started out. Today, she knows that if she bakes a cake and sells it at Shs70, 000, she will save between 20 and 30 percent of the gross payment.

Ploughing back 

The 70 percent will be ploughed back into the expenditures of buying ingredients as well as catering to the bills since the oven and mixture machines use electricity. 

Tusiime is a Senior Two (S.2) dropout from Kyebambe Girls Secondary School. “I had joined Senior Two when my paternal grandfather who was catering for my tuition passed on. My parents were unable to look after me because they had me when they were still young,” she says. 

When she could not continue with education, music was her way out. She started singing in choir in Fort Portal before joining a music group called ‘Home of Talent’ in which she sang and danced. 

The founder of the group, Roger Ayesiga, knew her family. They performed at events such as introductions and weddings and be paid. 

“He gave me accomodation until I met my ex-boyfriend and moved in with him. At that time he was a music coach in Fort Portal but later we moved to Kampala,” she says. 

Expansions 

In 2019, she met and connected with fellow worshipers at a church in a city suburb who were undertaking baking lessons. She joined them and learnt how to bake. And like the saying goes, the rest is history. 

Her boyfriend surprised her with a gift of Shs3m which she was wise to use as start-up capital to buy an oven. 

He also advised her to search and get a place where she would stay and also have enough space to run her cottage baking business. 

“The finishing on the first cakes I made was terrible, but I kept on researching and improving on my designs. Pinterest has been a good learning platform. To publicise and market my business, my boyfriend started taking pictures and paying for Facebook adverts. My friends came through to support my hustle by also recommending it to their friends. To keep the clients, I have celebrated with them and rewarded them with gifts such as t-shirts, vacuum flasks and umbrellas,” Tusiime adds. 

Advice 

Her advice to anyone looking at starting a business, is to use the little resources at their disposal to kick start their dream because no money is too  little. American novelist, Herman Melville says that it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. He adds, “He who has never failed somewhere: that man cannot be great. Failure is the true test of greatness.”


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