How This Baker Found Certainty In A Pandemic
The Story Of Rasheedat Bakes.
There have been many articles written about people whose career trajectory and income source was offset in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty that generally accompanied that period for them. This is not one of those stories, this is the story of someone who found certainty during that period.
Rasheedat Ogunyemi is a third-year student of economics at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. If you come across any of Rasheedat’s socials, one thing that would immediately grab your attention is how loud and proud she is of her work. This 18-year-old is great at baking and she doesn’t hesitate to let you know that.
Littered through her socials are tons of raving reviews commending the mouthwatering, yummy delicacies that are her cakes. It was surprising to find out that she had only been baking for a couple of months.
When talking to her about her journey and experience, one can sense her amazement at the constant positive reviews her business gets. She says “I didn’t expect to be this good at baking, it’s like a talent that you don’t know is there till you tap into it.”
During the lockdown, like many others, Rasheedat was idle at home with nothing to do. There was no set resumption date in sight from her university and she hated every moment of it. However, when the lockdown started easing, Rasheedat was determined to find something to commit to doing and she chose baking.
We had a short conversation with Rasheedat about her journey as a baker, how she got into it and what it’s been like for her so far and she breaks down her story for us;
- Why did you choose baking?
“It was the lockdown period that led me to make that move, I was tired of staying at home doing nothing so immediately the lockdown was eased and there was freedom of movement a bit. I was keen to go learn something new.
I used to learn hairdressing back in 2018 but I wasn’t interested in making something out of it. As luck would have it, someone around me was organizing a one-week baking tutorial, I signed up for it and that’s how my journey into baking started and it was just so right for me like I have found certainty finally”
2. How long have you been running your business for?
“I officially launched my business July 1 2020 so that’s about 10 months so far.”
3. What’s it like juggling your business with being a student?
“I can’t even lie, it’s not easy at all because if you really want to make something out of baking, the truth is that you have to be fully invested in it. It’s not a field for half-measures. Personally, I have had a hard time adapting back to the whole school routine. You know I started my business during the long break and all, so it’s been particularly hand switching my mind frame since school resumed. Like the whole process of having to do assignments and take lectures is not one that comes that easy to me anymore.”
4. What’s the biggest challenge you have faced while running your business?
“I’d say it was when I started, my biggest challenge back then was how to get customers but that’s a phase I am past now.
I can’t say everyone in Ife knows me now but if you enter two student rooms, at least someone in one room would know my brand.”
5. How were you able to get past that phase?
“I would say the strength of my personal network and then the output of my work was what helped me push my brand out there because it doesn’t matter how many people you know, if your work isn’t good, you can’t retain customers. People might try you out but they won’t stay.
For me, it was constantly putting out great work and then my network amplified it on my behalf.”
6. What’s your proudest moment so far?
“There have been many proud moments really, but I think the proud moments that don’t stop being proud moments are the reviews. Each time I get good reviews, I feel so proud of myself, I feel so happy, I feel so fulfilled. It gives me so much joy.
In that regard, I think my proudest moment was when a cake critic gave me a review. The review was an epistle and man am I going to frame that review.”
7. How do you let off steam?
“I do so many things for fun. I sing, I party, and sometimes just sit in my house for fun and eat some cake.”
8. What’s a notable milestone you are looking to hit in your business?
“I want to have a cake restaurant like a place where people can visit to try out new cakes and recipes. Like you know there are not that many cake restaurants in Nigeria. It’s mostly ordering online so launching a cake restaurant is a milestone I would be super excited to hit God willing and with hard work from my end too”
Rasheedat sells on Vendors here. Order her delicious cakes today to support a small business.