After losing her parents at a tender age, Lilian Nabasumba made a promise to herself not to wallow in self-pity but rather resolved to rewrite her story by working hard to earn good grades in school.
Nabasumba and her elder sister were raised by their grandmother in Katwe, a Kampala suburb.
While pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Education at Makerere University, she used to experiment with different dishes during her free time and made good use of Youtube tutorial cookery videos. This is where her love for cooking was birthed.
“I love cooking. I love good food. I derive my satisfaction from playing around with spices and herbs and other ingredients to make unique and mouthwatering recipes,” says Nabasumba.
After graduating, she attended workshops, cake meetings, and baker’s get togethers before her first client came through. From these avenues, she was inspired by bakers who started from scratch and made their businesses household names in the confectionery industry.
It was not long before she cut her teeth in baking. “My husband bought me my first oven. I started baking cakes that we would eat at home. I used to give some cakes to my neighbours and friends and they occasionally threw compliments of how I had gifted hands. My first client bought a Shs50,000 cake and she really liked it. This energised me to perfect the skill,” she recounts her early business days.
Because the market is saturated with bakers, she did not want to compromise on quality. Nabasumba says she gave every client the right amount, rich flavours and perfect quality on every order that was placed, a thing that made her clients recommend her to other potential clients. And this trick worked for her as more orders started trickling in. Being the ambitious woman that she is, she needed to expand her business beyond just baking cakes, so that on days when she does not get clients for cakes, she can make money through another business avenue. After weeks of reflecting, Nabasumba still squared down to cooking but this time, she decided to venture into making barbecue.
Over the years, she has perfected her baking skill and clients have started trusting her with big orders. Her normal cake prices range from Shs70,000 to Shs100,000. She also makes cakes for wedding ceremonies, baptism, christening, introduction among others.
“I can weave red velvet in chocolate, soft icing, vanilla, lemon, butter cream, strawberry or banana depending on a client’s preference. The variation in prices depend on size, flavour, and decoration and market prices,” she says. Beyond baking, Nabasumba has also learnt decoration skills
Although at the start she would strain to fit in the client’s price ranges, she continuously realised she was making losses. She also offers catering services. Whenever Nabasumba has big orders, she calls two of her catering friends to help with the work.
“I don’t encourage people to start business and expect a lot of support from family and friends,”Nabasumba says. She has also encountered bad business days where some clients place orders only to hang up their phones when it comes to delivery.
Nabasumba met Dr Ian Clarke who became her foster father and together with her foster mother, they have come to appreciate catering is her calling despite her profession.
“My parents (foster) at first did not buy my business idea because they thought I was going to fail the course at university. However, I convinced them and today they are happy with my progress,” she says.
Nabasumba has contributed to making their home a better one. She has also secured a piece of land worth Shs5.5m and can comfortably pay her monthly bills. She is currently pursuing a catering course at a culinary school. She hopes to boost her company- Bite delite into a household name.
My plan is to set up a state -of -the- art restaurant that many people will identify with. I also plan to to go back to Katwe to skill the vulnerable girls there.” - Lilian Nabasumba