Cracking business with cakes

  • Bakes with Cathy Lo finds its mojo

For Lorato Cathrene Kenalekgosi, it was the chickens that came first.

However, it was the eggs that helped her crack the business world.

When her feathery stock died, the Molepolole mother-of-two did not despair, finding sweet success with eggs instead as she launched a cake-making venture on the back of watching YouTube tutorials.

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The 34-year-old has endured a topsy-turvy path to the top, experiencing mixed fortunes in her efforts to make ends meet.

Contracted as a Project Administrator at Letlhakane Mine, Kenalekgosi found herself out of work in March 2021 when the project was completed.

Unemployed and heavily pregnant with her second child, Kenalekgosi had little choice but to return home and improvise.

Adding to her complications, Covid-19 was prevalent at this point, making business opportunities scarce.

As many entrepreneurs did during this tough time, Kenalekgosi tried her luck rearing chickens.

Before she could start selling disaster struck, her flock cut down with an illness that decimated their numbers.

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Realising chickens were not the answer, she was whisked away in a different direction.

“After I gave birth to my bouncy baby girl, I later joined street vendors and started cooking fat cakes and soup, selling at Thamaga stop. I then planned to upgrade my business, applying for LEA’s P1, 000 Program and was successful,” explains the energetic youth.

As the Setswana proverb goes ‘metlhala ya khumo e mentsi e tlhoka balatedi’ (there are many ways to riches), Kenalkgosi was hungry for more.

Cracking business with cakes

She started watching YouTube videos in a bid to build her baking skills.

“I then started baking scones for my family and posted on Facebook just for fun. Little did I know people would love them! I realised I could make something out of it. I started taking orders for scones and before long a certain brethren asked me to do a special cake for her mother on Mother’s Day,” she recalls.

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It proved to be the game-changer Kenalekgosi had been so desperately seeking.

“I did the cake and posted it on Facebook, which was the beginning of my journey as a cake master. I started to receive orders countrywide, that was the birth of my business I named Bakes with Cathy Lo. So far I have delivered some cakes both for parties and weddings as far as Letlhakane, Bobonong, Tonota and surrounding areas!” she tells Voice Money proudly.

Created on 2 May 2021, Bakes with Cathy Lo’s Facebook page currently has 2, 300 followers, with that number rising every day.

Her kitchen produces a variety of cakes, some taking up to four months to complete, including fruit cakes for weddings.

Filled with brandy or rum to preserve them, such floury favourites remain edible for an incredible four years!

Although the enterprise has enjoyed instant rewards, as with Kenalekgosi’s other entrepreneurial endeavours, progress has not been without its challenges.

The brilliant baker points to difficulty in sourcing decorative accessories, which she notes are often unavailable locally, and high delivery costs as two such hindrances.

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Cracking business with cakes

“Some bakers are fake. They advertise on social media while they don’t exist and that makes customers not to trust us. Some undercharge their cakes and customers expect us to charge the same low prices,” she adds, her seemingly fixed smile slipping for the first time since the interview began.

Kenalekgosi’s goodies do not have standard prices and are determined by size, flavour and design.

A 5-inch cake can be sold for P450 while an 8-inch treat can set customers back anything between P500 to P1, 000.

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As the Bobididi jwa Majadibodu ward resident continues to receive more orders, she called on her neighbours to assist her.

She also encouraged youth to be brave and not to be afraid to try new things.

“They must stand up to manifest and activate their hidden talents and shun those who like blaming others when their business ideas fail,” advised Kenalekgosi.

To place orders one can find Bakes with Cathy Lo on either Facebook or Instagram.

Alternatively, Kenalekgosi can be contacted via WhatsApp on 71583387 or over the phone at 72514735.

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