Working in a bank has long been the dream and desire of many. Some consider it a dream job that they will do for life. But one lady, after tasting the banking environment for many years, decided to call it quits and start her own cake business. For her, it is a decision she has never regretted. Read on as she shares her journey with the B&FT’s Inspiring Startups.
Pearl Marjorie Kwawu grew up in Accra but had her secondary education at the Mawuli Senior High School in Ho, Volta Region of Ghana. From there she studied at the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the then-Institute of Professional Studies (IPS). After completing level one, she got employment with a financial institution as an outsourced staff.
Later, in 2007, she gained full employment with the International Commercial Bank, which later became First Bank of Nigeria (FBN Bank). While there, she did her first degree and continued with her MBA in Human Resource Management at the Central University College.
As you can imagine, Pearl is a woman with a lot of ambition and always wants to accept the next challenge. She worked with the bank till 2015, after which she took a bold step and resigned.
Why I resigned
Few people would resign and leave the comfort of a banking hall and just stay at home…yes, home! Asked why she resigned, Pearl said the monotonous nature of her job started becoming boring. She no longer had joy working at the bank and wanted a change of environment. So, one day she just decided to tender her resignation letter – a decision she says she never regrets.
She stayed home for six months, figuring out what she could do to make a living. Well, finally, she settled on something that has since become a passion— cake-making. For someone who is serious about whatever she does, she took a short course in cake-making and also read widely online on how to make good cakes.
Then she tried her hand at it. For several months she was just making samples and giving to family and friends to taste and give her feedback. After continuous practice and applying the feedback she got, she finally came up with her ideal taste.
Drizzle Cakes comes alive
In March 2018 she launched her business with the name Drizzle Cakes, and started producing in commercial quantities.
Drizzle Cakes are unique for their taste and the ingredients used. Pearl doesn’t just follow what is being sold on the market. The cakes are made with ingredients that have low sugar, less fats and no cholesterol at all, making them healthy for consumption.
Because of the process and ingredients used in making her cakes, clients become glued to them after they have a bite for the first time. This has earned her a very good reputation among health-conscious clients. As a result, not a single day passes without someone making an order for Drizzle Cakes – a feat she is proud of as her cakes are supplied based on orders.
Pearl wants Drizzle Cakes to be among the best in the country, whereby they will be the first option in the minds of Ghanaians planning for events such as weddings, birthdays, anniversary parties, among others.
One challenge Pearl has found difficult to understand is dealing with courier services. Because her business is very young and has not reached the point where she can afford a delivery van, she has to rely on courier services which sometimes fail her.
“Sometimes you will agree with a courier service to pick up a cake for delivery at a particular time and the person will never show up at all. At best, they delay significantly. Meanwhile, you have promised your client to deliver it at a certain time.”
Another challenge is the mentality with which people approach new products on the market. Most people do not want to give new products a chance. They only want to associate with big brands, especially when they are imported – relegating Ghana-made products to the background.
The freebies attitude of family and friends is another serious challenge she faces. Sometimes family and friends want to be given the cakes for free, forgetting it is a business that one has invested capital in. At best, even those who will buy want to do so on credit.
How she markets her products
As someone who has Masters’ degree in Marketing, she understands the value of making her products visible to the public. For this reason, she has created accounts on Facebook and Instagram (Drizzle Cakes GH) stuffed with images and information about her products.
Most of her new clients come through referrals from existing clients.
How education has helped
For Pearl, one advantage education has offered her is excellent customer service. Having education in human relations and marketing, and spending many years in a bank interacting with customers from different backgrounds has made her appreciate the value of customer service. So, she tries to at all times deal with customers in any a way that will make them always come back.
Again, education has made her appreciate timelines. She makes sure she delivers her products at the time a customer wants.
How important is economic empowerment of women?
Pearl thinks economic empowerment of women has enormous benefits to the family and community in general, as it reduces the pressure on men in the family and community at large.
How government should help entrepreneurs
One major situation Pearl wants government to address is the issue of acquiring needed certification before one can commence business fully. She describes it as frustrating and discouraging.
Again, there is the issue of taxes. She wants government to make it a policy that whoever starts business should not pay tax for at least the first year, so that businesses can use the first year to organise themselves properly.
“I would advise the youth that after school if they get a good job, fine. But if they don’t, they should not feel a degree is acquired only to work in an office. Education only broadens the mind to do other things. They should use their education to do something for themselves, and even create jobs for others.”
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