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Baker creating jobs one cake at a time

Siphokazi Manci the owner of Cake Siphosh.
Siphokazi Manci the owner of Cake Siphosh.
Image: Fetola.

Cake Siphosh is a small baking business based in Durban, KwaZulu Natal that not only bakes cakes but also offers baking courses to empower people with skills.

Siphokazi Manci the owner of Cake Siphosh started her business in 2016 by selling scones and muffins on the streets and today she has a baking store.  “I was unemployed and  I had to find a way to make money,” she said.

The business had a slow start and to grow her business , she approached supermarkets asking to supply them with her muffins and cakes. “It was hard because they didn't know me, and some had inhouse bakeries," said Siphokazi.

Eventually, Siphokazi started supplying some supermarkets with her goods and still continued to sell in the streets. In 2018, she hired her first employee to help her sell. She managed to retain her customers even when she wasn't the one selling because she invested in branded uniform so that her customers could recognize her brand.

Siphokazi's business grew, and she started making novelty cakes for birthdays, baby showers, weddings and more. She used the power of social media to get her products seen, and soon popularity for her baked goods increased.

Then the unpredicted times came along when coronavirus hit, and the county went into lockdown. According to a report published by Finfind in 2020, 42,7% of small businesses had to close due to not being able to operate during the lockdown, existing debt, lack of cash reserves, and no access to relief funding.

Image: Fetola.

To avoid being part of that 42,7% and keep herself, her family and employees fed. Siphokazi sought ways to adapt to changes using her baking skills. This was when she decided to start providing baking courses.

She offers a one-day baking course where she teaches her clients basic cake baking skills and a two-day course where she teaches cake baking and how to decorate cakes.

With lockdown restrictions easing up and businesses finding their new norms, her business has continued making cakes and providing baking courses. Initially, the courses were just a way to keep the business afloat when the pandemic started but now the baking courses have become one of Cake Siphosh's core services.

“I have taught over 500 people, and some of the people I have taught have gone on to open their businesses using the skills,” said Siphokazi.

“My dream was to open a bakery,” she said. In 2021, she finally managed to make her dream come true by opening her first bakery where she employs seven employees. With the bigger space, more employees, and the right and bigger equipment, Siphokazi has been able to cater to her increasing customers and continue to create jobs and empower people with baking skills.