GeRtrude Nakyobe started baking in March 2020 during the first Covid-19 lockdown. She had passion for baking, but had never got the chance and time to explore into it. She narrated her baking journey to Catherine Male.
Nakyobe’s dream job was to become an accountant. She studied Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance at Kyambogo University, and was lucky to get a job at Financial Sector Deepening Uganda, shortly after graduation.
She went on to study ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) direct course to become a certified accountant.
At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, Nakyobe worked only two days a week and was free for the rest of the other days. With the free time she spent at home, she decided to learn how to bake cakes.
“After revising my work schedule during the lockdown, I contacted the owner of Velvet Pastries, Najjanankumbi, and started pursuing my passion in baking. I trained for four months, but by the end of the first two months I was able to bake a cake on my own,” she says.
She adds that baking is an art and there is always something new to learn and just like decor, the trends keep changing. She says mastering the art of basic baking and customising a cake could take a year or more, depending on one’s learning capacity.
In February 2021, Nakyobe made a business partnership with Velvet Pastries and that is when she started earning from the skill. She is currently working with a team of five employees, each with a unique skill they contribute during the baking session.
“Baking is largely a team effort; every member on the team has something they can do better than another person but that does not make it a competition,” she says.
Nakyobe has baked over 100 cakes since. She attributes her successful journey so far to her strong willingness to learn and the team she works with. Colette Mukisa, a friend and client to Nakyobe, says: “I have tasted and recommended Gertrude’s cakes to people and I can tell you, she gets better every day. I have never been disappointed and am proud of her journey so far.”
Nakyobe says the bakery stops taking orders on Thursdays to give time for the weekend orders to be met without compromise. She adds that because baking, customising and finishing a cake takes at least two days, she advises her clients to place their orders two days before they need the cake.
This gives the team time to plan especially when the cake is customised and has a lot of art work. They always need enough time for perfection. The smallest cake at the bakery goes for 60,000, which is the lowest price. The prices depend on the size, flavor and design of the cake.
When asked how she juggles work and family, the young accountant and mother says she strictly dedicates her Sundays to her family, irrespective of how much work there is to do.
Nakyobe has trained and employed more young people at the bakery. She prides herself in being impactful to society.
She has also built a network of friends who started as clients and have in turn helped her business grow by marketing her product.
She is also grateful that she is able to make side income from her skill.
“Time is usually the biggest challenge in baking because we are always working around the clock, cakes are different in size and customisation every day and yet we have to deliver perfection,” says Nakyobe who also points out that customer satisfaction is hard to achieve in the baking industry.
She adds that with baking, one has to keep learning because the trends are always changing. There is always new art to master.
Nakyobe hopes to start baking more delicacies like bread, biscuits and supplying her products to supermarkets.
She also hopes to employ more people and grow her team.