Cake In a Jar
Just when he was completing his Banking and Finance degree at the university, Nii realized he had a calling from God to become a chef and decided to start Nii’s Gourmet factory with literally no capital and formal training.
He faced a lot of obstacles initially but was determined to succeed against all odds. His breakthrough came with the introduction of a novel product known as the cake in a jar which has garnered a lot of interest both locally and internationally.
Currently Nii’s Gourmet has three divisions; the bakery which produces the famous cake in jars, the chef service offering customized culinary services to high end clients and the grill master which is quickly becoming the go to option for world class grilling services.
It is interesting to note that the bakery hires young men in one of the impoverished areas in Accra with Nii personally mentoring them whilst supporting them to continue their education.
Tell us about your business.
Niis Gourmet Factory is a gourmet food business, aimed at encouraging people to be different by eating different. At the moment we have a retail product (Cake in a jar), which is readily available for purchase during working hours. We also make cakes; take food orders, as well as providing a personalized chef service and culinary classes.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I remember back in High School during our management class the teacher went around asking each of us what we wanted to do, and when it got to my turn my answer was “I don’t know yet, all I know is that I don’t want to work for anybody”, I tell you this sparked an argument which lasted the entire period everybody thought that was stupid, saying everybody has to start from somewhere, that it was impossible, so on and so forth.
That moment stuck with me and I was determined to prove them wrong. Statements such as “You Can’t” and “That’s impossible” only push me to work harder.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Unfortunately, we are not running any promos, contests, or giveaways at the moment. We would let Urban Dollz know as soon as we do.
Accomplishments for us are valued in terms of the number of children we have been able to see through school. We have been able to educate four children, one of them is in his second year at the Ho Technical University, Two of them are done with Senior High School and pursuing various careers. The last one is in his second year at the Accra Technical Training College.
Where is your business based?
We are based in East Legon, adjacent to Ability Square. At the moment, everything is strictly by order for pick up or delivery.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
The business started on a very small scale. I made cupcakes for an event, my friends loved it and started ordering but that was not the intention at all, I just liked to bake and cook and feed people because I believe food makes people happy. I tell you Jollof can end a war.lol
Anyways, this was when I was in my final year of college, so what I would typically do is to take orders only on weekends, then go home bake and deliver. By the time I was done with college, the business was registered and we were good to go.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Social media has been great, when it comes to raising awareness for Niis Gourmet. We have a strong presence on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and this has brought us a lot of business.
Also we know that in Ghana word of mouth is also another major way of getting new customers, thus customer service is key for us. People will always remember how you made them feel and that will determine whether they will come back or not, or recommend you or not.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenge so far was convincing my parents to allow me to pursue this career choice. It was hard, ended up having to leave home and chase this dream,
How did you overcome these challenges?
It was hard, went through depression, lost the will to live, but God surrounded me with the right people who refused to let me give up. God kept me going and still keeps me going.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Firstly, I go to God and cast all my Cares upon Him because He cares for me ( 1Peter 5:7). I go to God a lot.
Secondly, I have a couple of friends I go to for advice who tell me the truth no matter what, regardless of how I feel they will tell me the truth.
Thirdly, I drop everything hit the gym then go swimming, the gym enables me to channel my frustrations and also helps me to clear my head. Swimming then allows me to think clearly and also wears me out so I can sleep.
Finally, I intentionally drop everything I am doing and take the time to enjoy my family and friends, make memories, so I can be reminded of the most important things in life.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Dealing with competitors, so I understood that you cannot do everything, and when you are involved in so many things, certain areas falter. So I decided to pick one thing and purposed to be the best at it, and that is Niis Cake in A Jar. We run with that , and now that its established we have started offering customized culinary services to high end clients, and also the grill master, which is quickly becoming the go to option for world class grilling services.
Finally, I also try not to be moved by what I see or hear, and focus on what I am determined to achieve.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
The best advice I have received recently is that, there is nothing like failure, but rather lessons learned. I mean I have burnt a lot of cakes, missed deadlines, yet I don’t stop. I keep going and only aim to get it right and do it better the next time.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Firstly, your business should be aimed at solving problems and your business will thrive, also try and be as authentic as possible.
Secondly, remember; people will always remember how you make them feel and that is what brings them back.
Thirdly, whatever venture you aim at pursuing should be something you are totally in love with. If you cannot imagine yourself doing anything else, that is it.
Finally, God should be your center and foundation.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
Firstly, I use Pixlr, which is an app that helps me to edit my pictures and post them on social media. It’s pretty simple to use.
Secondly, The Wave App, is another app I use for all my accounting processes. It’s also pretty simple to use, and enables me to see exactly how the business is doing financially.
Evernote is also another app I use a lot, to plan my activities, take down notes and also pen down new ideas.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
So the thing is, I read a lot. That is another escape route for me, it increases my knowledge base and also allows me to dream, explore and use my imagination. The book I am reading now is titled “Winning Without Losing”, by Martin Bjergegaard and Jordan Milne. This book teaches you 66 strategies for succeeding in business while living a happy balanced life. And I will recommend this book to anyone.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
We need help with properly structuring and funding our Cooperate Social Responsibility, which is educating and empowering as many young people as possible.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
5 years from now, I want Niis Cake in A Jar to be a house hold name, the first thing that comes to mind when you are thinking of favors. Secondly, I would like to open a place, where I can be intimate with my customer, so it will be more about coming to spend time with Nii.
Lastly, I would like to be able to hire more young men from other impoverished areas, and continue to support them as I support them to continue their education and go as far as they want to.
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