How Njabulo Sithole went from home baker to thriving Pick n Pay supplier
From a venture that started out in his home kitchen, eight years later Sithole’s Bakers Creationz business has grown to employ 40 staff and supply the supermarket giant with more than 12,000 snowball products each week.
A dream is born
Sithole loved eating cake so much that, in his late 20s, he started making recipes off the back of flour packets, progressing to trying recipes off the internet which he adjusted to his preferences. “As it turns out, quite a few people liked my preferences and I realised there was a demand,” the 43-year-old father of two said. “When we had a family gathering or traditional ceremony, people would say they were not buying cakes from a shop, as mine were better. People asked me where I had bought my cakes.”
He quit his job as a marketing manager at the end of 2012 to start Baker Creationz, but the expected funding did not materialise. “In 2014, I gave up my dream of starting in a business facility and started trading from my home kitchen, convinced that my business plan would work out in the end.”
Bakers Creationz initially supplied local schools with cakes, muffins and cupcakes, paying schoolchildren commission for selling them. “Orders started pouring in and I was able to move to a larger kitchen later that year. I started saving the funds I was making to buy equipment from other bakeries which were closing down.”
Scaling the business
Sithole converted space at Maphephethe near Inanda Dam. The facility meets the relevant enviro-health, food and manufacturing regulations. “This space has expanded along with the business and we currently occupy 300m². I made sure the space complied with food safety regulations by inviting the Department of Health to visit, and they guided me on what needed to be done.”
His experience in food manufacturing as sales and marketing director was also brought to bear.
In the early days, Sithole had minimal income and said there was a point where he could not even buy bread for his family. “I realised I just needed to keep going and develop products for which there was a market. I started small scale but my vision was always to supply major retailers.”
He delivered his initial products himself, by taxi. “I would jump off at the main gate and carry my crates all the way to the delivery gate of the wholesaler I supplied – who is still a customer today.” His customer list has grown to include Pick n Pay stores in KwaZulu-Natal and the retailer recently started stocking his products in Gauteng. He also supplies various fuel station convenience stores.
“My first employee was a driver, who I hired in 2015 after I missed the same road turn three times after I’d been up baking all night. Sometimes I’d work for three days straight. But I first had to build up a credit record to enable me to approach a bank for a loan for the vehicle.”
Courtesy of Bizcommunity – read full article here.