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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Olawunmi Animashaun on How Her Father's Words Inspired Her to Start Her Cake Business

Olawunmi Animashaun is the CEO of Cream Slices
a thriving confectionery business in Nigeria. She studied at the University of Lagos, and reveals that she cried her eyes out when she leant that she didn't make a 2:1. She felt her future was bleak and believed that she had failed herself and her family. She went home crying, but her father gave her a piece of advice that changed her perception about life and her future. “My father said that anything you make from school is nothing, your certificate is a piece of paper, it is what you make out of it that makes you who you are”. Those words from her father gave her some sense of optimism about the future as she resolved to take her destiny in her own hands.

She was lured by the security and flashy nature of a white-collar job. She desperately wanted to work in a bank because of the smart way they dress. Fortunately, she got a job in the bank. But barely few days of working in the banking hall, Olawunmi went home and vowed never to go back. “It was too tedious for me; sitting at a spot and counting such huge bulk of money. Also, after the day’s job, everybody is made to wait so that we would all leave the premises together. I didn’t like it at all,” she complained.

Amid the frustration, her father again reminded her of her passion for business and entrepreneurship. She then made up her mind to float her own business. She initially aspired to launch a fashion company but her brother convinced her that venturing into production of bread and cakes would be more viable. Having made that switch, she has not looked back as her Cream Slices and Desserts continue to wax stronger. “I won’t do any other thing, apart from this”, she enthused. “I used to do hats, make-ups and dresses for ladies, but as it is, I won’t do any of those anymore, even if I’m offered N500, 000. Baking cakes is what I want to do. And it really makes me happy.”

For the CEO of Cream Slices: “Cake business is indeed a viable venture; it is profitable enough to pay my rents and to also pay my staff and to also keep me going.” She continues: “However, I must say that I didn't go into cakes to make money. It was more of someone giving me an idea which I tried out, coupled with my passion,” she said.

Every business has its challenges and for Cream Slices, the number one is power. She also decried the poor quality manpower in Nigerian economic environment. “I’m sure if we could find a lasting solution to inefficient power in our country; it will be helpful for the business. Then human resource is another challenge in the growth of cake businesses. People don’t want to work and they want to be paid. People keep saying there are no jobs. There are actually jobs but it is just that our people are just unemployable. You sometimes want to hire people and you go through, say 50 persons for interview, yet you can’t even find any you want to employ.”

She further urges the unemployed and the underemployed to consider getting trained and equipped to go into cake business to reap the sweet gains inherent in the venture. “Cake-making is a popular business. So, to compete, you’ll need to make your cakes look as professional as possible. Training in all aspects of the industry, from sugar-craft to marzipan techniques, is essential if you want to be able to compete in an increasingly packed marketplace. You can learn from friends and relatives. You should also keep learning from online sources,” she counselled.

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