How alpher helped me become Oshewa Cakes Part 2
3 months after launching Oshewa cakes, I dragged my tired self into the small apartment I shared with Aunty Bimpe and her two sons.
‘Bola. How was work today?’
Too tired to speak, I shook my head.
‘What’s wrong?’ she replied.
‘Aunty, the work is too much! I’m behind on orders and I feel like I’m losing money.’
‘Losing money? How?’
‘Aunty I don’t know o! I can’t seem to keep track of my expenses and profits. Sometimes I feel like I’m spending money buying ingredients and making cakes but at the end of the month, I can’t seem to account for all the money I’ve made.’
‘That’s serious. What can we do about it?’
‘I don’t know to be honest. I’ll work it out.’
‘It is well’
‘Of course, Aunty. It is well.’
I picked up my bag and went to my room.
When Oshewa Cakes opened in July, I was very excited at the number of orders I got within the first two weeks. I was a little overwhelmed, but I was grateful. The orders kept on pouring in and I found that I was spending late nights at the shop trying to keep up. Clearly, I needed help, but I didn’t know how I was going to afford to hire an assistant when I had no idea where my money went at the end of each month.
My phone chimed. It was a text from Mrs Jegede.
Hello dear. I hope we are good for tomorrow. My driver will be coming at 10am.
No ma! We are not good. We are far from good. My bones were crying from exhaustion, I flung myself on my bed and let the tears flood.
At the next meeting with my mentor, I explained my challenges to her, and she gave me some advice. She recommended that I take a step back and review my business strategy. We spent the rest of the month coming up with an extensive plan for hiring staff, managing resources, monitoring my finances and finding other streams of income for Oshewa Cakes.
First, I signed up with Pundit bookkeeping services and got a 25% discount off their accounting services, courtesy alpher. Then, I hired a manager and two bakers to assist with the volume of orders. I launched ‘Bake with Oshewa’ - a video blog where I shared tips on simple baking hacks and how to bake cakes. I also started hosting two-week intensive training sessions at a small fee, for people who wanted to learn how to bake at expert level. With all this in place, I was able to keep track of my finances and realized that I was bringing in more revenue than I thought possible.
Most times when we get comfortable with our current position, we tend to think that there’s no need to aspire for more. One day, after the rush of the day had begun to dwindle, I sat in my kitchen staring at the row of cakes sitting side by side waiting to be decorated. I was humming to the smooth sound of the jazz track flowing through the speakers when Peter the store manager came in.
‘We have a customer that is requesting to speak to you.’
‘Oh! Any issues?’
‘Okay. Give me a second. I’ll be right out’
I washed my hands at the sink and wiped them down on my apron. I glanced at the mirror in the corridor to be sure I looked presentable. I met a middle-aged woman sitting on the sofa in the waiting area. The air around her was filled with affluence.
‘Good evening ma’am. I am Bola. How may I help you?’
‘Bola of Bake with Oshewa?’
‘That’s me.’ I said with a smile on my face.
‘So good to finally meet you in person! My daughter and I are big fans of your show on YouTube. We watch it every week and think it’s absolutely amazing!’
‘Thank you for watching Ma.’ As much as I loved the chit chat. I was curious as to why she wanted to speak with me.
‘Is there anything you would like me to do for you ma?’
‘Yes darling. My name is Mrs Tolani Johnson. I just started a TV network and I want to give you a slot for your show - Bake with Oshewa.’
I stood there staring at her with disbelief.
Mrs Johnson was laughing.
‘Here are the documents highlighting our offer and expectations. Look through and let us know if you accept’
‘Thank you so much for the opportunity. I will have a look at this and get back to you.’
‘I look forward to hearing from you. Can I have a cake to go?’
‘Of course, you can.’
I boxed up a cake for Mrs Johnson and walked her to the door.
‘Thanks for coming ma. You will hear from me soon.’
I quickly contacted Demense legal practitioners. Another benefit from my liaison with alpher. I got 40% off legal services. I sent the contract over and within 2 weeks, I was in business with the JBR network.
The TV show was just the platform Oshewa Cakes needed to expand. In no time my business started to boom. The small shop on Bode Thomas could no longer handle the volume of orders I got on a daily basis. I needed a larger space, new ovens, mixers and more staff to run the business, while I handled the trainings, YouTube channel and the TV show.
After speaking with my accountant, I realized I needed to raise some money for a new space. He advised that I take a loan to fund the expansion. I have always been wary of taking loans because of the high interest rates but with alpher I got a loan at a discounted rate!
My life was going great! Bake with Oshewa was getting high ratings every week and The JBR network was certainly going to renew my contract, my YouTube channel had hit a million subscribers and the new store would be launching soon. I was satisfied.
The new store launched on the 10th of June 2020 and it was a glorious affair. Aunty Bimpe was resplendent in a purple lace Iro and Buba with a gold gele to tie it all together. I stared in awe at the beauty of the new space. We had an indoor space for customers who wanted to eat in. There was also an outdoor garden area with wicker chairs and umbrellas that provided shade for customers who wanted to have their cake in the midst of nature.
Right now, the garden area, was filled with people who had come to celebrate with me. The camera crew from JBR was present and the alpher team was present as well.
My team stood in front of me in their crisp white aprons embroidered with the Oshewa Ckes logo.
‘Today is a great day’ I said. ‘Shall we?’
I walked out into the garden with a wide smile on my face. My team in tow. As I took my place on the podium, I shot a quick word to my mother.
I wish you were here to see this. Thank you.
I looked at my smiling audience and began my speech.
“Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved cakes. I get this satisfying feeling when I put a piece in my mouth. The explosion of flavor, and the tingling of my taste buds as I savor every sweet bite puts me on cloud nine. It’s no surprise that I became a baker. I wasn’t always a baker. I had given up my dream. Then I found alpher. alpher is the best thing that happened to me. I will never regret clicking the link and signing up for the mentorship program. It’s the best decision I have made in my entire life and I am grateful for every opportunity it awarded me.”
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