The challenge for every new entrepreneur is getting their startup out there and moving. 31 year old Chantal Ochola Mutaahi believes that with a great idea, the right mindset and a strong support system, any woman can make her entrepreneurial dreams come true. The journalist turned pastry chef shared her inspirational entrepreneurial journey with SheSpell.com .
The making of Chantal
Chantal was born and raised in Kampala although she has lived in Gulu and Fort Portal. The trained journalist gave up the literally career for the delicious career of baking and is the proprietor of Crème de la crème, a café and training center in Kyaliwajjala, Namugongo .
Baking was never my strongest passion however, I was always a cooking/food enthusiast. I stumbled onto baking while studying for my master’s degree in England. I had a classmate who always brought the most amazing Indian and Danish pastries to class. I loved eating them and took interest in them. She gave me some recipes which I tried out successfully, then became an addict of the baking shows on the Food Network and the rest as they say is history.
In the beginning I only concentrated on cupcakes and muffins as a side business in London and when I came to Kampala, I realized that the cupcakes were still a novelty so I stuck to them. To broaden my income, I ventured into savory pastries like samosas, meat, cheese, chicken and veggie pies. Now I cater to snack parties and also supply dessert platters, chocolate fountains, edible favors and other specialties to functions.
Breaking into the business was so easy for me thanks to Ugandan curiosity. Everyone wanted to taste my cupcakes and orders for office dos and birthday cakes poured in. Customers who ordered the cupcakes usually ordered larger cakes for birthdays and anniversaries.
The baking industry in Uganda is thriving. Even with as many bakeries as there are, there is still enough demand because as we say at the bakery, it’s someone’s birthday every day and it’s someone’s wedding, every weekend. So we do our best to put ourselves out there and take a piece of the pie.
My biggest challenge so far has been establishing a dependable supply of quality ingredients. Suppliers are very inconsistent and we resort to importing the most basic ingredients like chocolate. Other challenges include learning how to manage a business without any business management training.
The first thing you must master is time management. As a mother, a wife with a new business to run I often found myself floundering and running around in circles chasing time until I sat down and divided up my time and achieved some kind of balance. I determine how much time I dedicate to the business and manage it well; however there comes a time where business time spills into private time especially if I have more than two wedding cakes to bake. These require a great deal of time.
Fortunately, because of my schedule, I get to spend more time with my daughter because I have the rare opportunity to bring her to work with me as much as I want to. The bakery and café are very close to my parents’ home so I keep her there and check on her as many as five times during a baking day. This is also an opportunity for my daughter to spend time with her grandparents who are both retired.
I know for sure that the easiest way to succeed is doing what one loves. This however doesn’t mean that you run the business as a hobby. And when you decide to do something go for it 100% don’t doubt yourself. Self-doubt and fear have the power to stop us dead in our tracks. They kill visions and dreams faster than anything. Never listen to that inner voice that causes that doubt. Nothing can stop a person who keeps their eyes on their dreams.
By Bradford Kamuntu