Olamide Smith is the Founder of Sweet Indulgence, a confectionery outfit that specialize in mouth-watering desserts, Novelty cakes, Sweet cart, and chocolate fountain for all occasions. She makes state of the art wedding and Engagement cakes , three –dimensional cakes for adults and kiddies birthday, dessert catering with a selection of fine French patisserie to mention a few.
From having an idea to starting your business, share your journey with us
As a teenager , I loved to cook and was very creative with my hands . In 2004, I decided to transform my hobby to business so I took a step further by attending a training in cake making and decoration . For me I wanted to grow beyond trial and error kitchen works to something more professional and consistent . Baking and decoration combines elements of cooking and creativity . Over the years I worked full time and pursued my passion partime until I resigned 2010 and started full operations in 2011 after my training in French patisserie
Why do you love what you do? There are so many other businesses you could have explored, why this?
I love what I do because baking combines 2 of my strengths, creativity and cooking . Yes there are so many businesses I could have explored but this is what gives me joy the most and I get the ultimate satisfaction when a client is happy with the end product
At what point did you know beyond all doubt that this is going to work?
From the point I made up my mind that I was going into full time baking , I had tested waters part time over the years and started full time with a high level of optimism , for me it was this or nothing else
How did you raise the capital to start your business, especially with the high cost of running businesses in Nigeria?
I started small while working full-time and saved gradually over the years . while working I bought a few cake accessories and equipment and by the time I was ready to resign I had saved enough to pay for my training in French patisserie . what also helped was that I always lived within my means bearing in mind I had future goals so I always spent with extra care focusing more on investments than frivolities
How soon did you start making profits?
Profit didn’t come immediately and that was expected because of the amount of money required to set up , also the period of awareness.
Brilliant ideas don’t always mean great sales, how has it been marketing your services?
Well it hasn’t been a walk in the park , but I was able to focus on our competitive advantages. In other words, understanding what the current market situation is and how to leverage on that to push out our products . Word of mouth has also helped especially from customers and I think that is one of the best marketing tools available
As a small business owner you can’t do everything, what has been your experience hiring staff and building your team.
No serious business owner can do everything , especially because of the nature of this business you need to build a team of staffs that are not only there to work but are also passionate about what they do . This has not been an easy ride but I have to keep going and stay focused and optimistic
Your greatest skill/strength that has particularly been of help in starting and running your business?
My greatest strength has been God , however I see myself as a very focused , determined and goal oriented person
Did you have to get a formal training or qualification to be able to do this.
Yes at some point and also had to re-train myself . Training from experts is not the answer because you also need to carve your own niche . After learning from the experts or professionals as the case may be , you need to retrain yourself
You have been running your business for some time now, what did you know now that you wished you had known before you started?
Well I wish I knew that leading a team of individuals with different personalities also requires special skill and strength
Change can bring out a part of us we never knew existed, what new things have you discovered about yourself in the course of starting and running your business?
(Laughs) That I can hold my peace when things are not necessarily working the way I would have loved.
What do you think are the most essential skills for women entrepreneurs especially in Nigeria?
My advice to women entrepreneurs in Nigeria is that they should be determined , stay focused , be goal –oriented and never give up.