By Margaret Maina

Stella Haggai, 25, found her passion for baking after she had to defer two semesters from university due to lack of fees.

It started as a hobby to pass time rather than watch movies or idle around town the whole day. Her first cake was baked right in her mother’s kitchen.

She was surprised that the cake turned out quite well despite baking it in a small oven.

Encouraged, Stella started sourcing for recipes from friends and online since she had no training whatsoever as a baker.

“My mum helped me purchase a few more things for my baking venture such as a bigger oven as well as ingredients for baking the cakes,” she explains.

She sold small cakes to friends and neighbours first.

When I started making some money off the cakes, I got so motivated and begun baking bigger cakes,” she says.

“I also researched on pastry decorations and designs and started creating unique cake designs that attracted more customers including the lecturers at my school,” she adds.

BACK TO SCHOOL

After a few months Stella had enough money to resume school for her final year; but she did not stop baking.

Stella had considered setting up a bakery but realised that doing so would only incur her extra expenses such as paying rent. She decided to continue baking from home at no cost.

“My orders were increasing so I decided to continue baking at home because it was cheaper and easier since my mother and sisters would help me when I had several orders at once,” she explains.

Stella’s baking business peaked around graduation time as most of her schoolmates placed orders for graduation cakes. As the orders kept flowing in including from referrals, she decided that she would keep baking even after graduating from university.

That period earned her a cool Sh30,000. This not only affirmed her resolve to keep baking but also opened her to new markets as she begun baking cakes for all occasions from wedding, birthdays, baby showers to anniversary cakes.

Stella Beryl Haggai, 26 years, decorating a Pina Colada and strawberry cake at Kiamunyi Estate, Nakuru County on June 14, 2018.

Stella Beryl Haggai, 26 years, decorating a Pina Colada and strawberry cake at Kiamunyi Estate, Nakuru County on June 14, 2018. PHOTO| AYUB MUIYURO

“From the occasional Sh5,000 that I was baking at the very beginning per month, now I make between Sh40,000 to Sh60,000 per month in cash sales,” she says.

“In the current job market, I would probably be making Sh25,000 at most if I was employed or sending out endless resumes without any feedback. But instead, I’m making twice that amount in less than three weeks,” she adds.

She decided to use her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations to market and sell her cakes and also maintain her customer base.

“I am fulfilled and I have freedom to make my own goals and targets which is a luxury you don’t have if you are employed,” she explains.

Stella Beryl Haggai, 26 years, decorating a Pina Colada and strawberry cake at Kiamunyi Estate, Nakuru County on June 14, 2018.

Stella Beryl Haggai, 26 years, decorating a Pina Colada and strawberry cake at Kiamunyi Estate, Nakuru County on June 14, 2018. PHOTO| AYUB MUIYURO

Stella dreams of opening a big cake shop and a baking school in the next five years. She wants to be the most sought after baker in the country. It is a dream she says will come true due to hard work and great sacrifice.

She explains that young people have a chance of turning a bad situation into lucrative endeavours. Wallowing in misery due to lack of fees is not a solution.

“Do not give yourself time to self-sabotage, think of things that you love doing that can help you earn money . Do not be in a hurry to seek employment, take time and think about the things you are passionate about and find out how you can make money from that.”

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