Youth all over the world, particularly in Africa, are increasingly finding new and entrepreneurial ways to rewrite the rules and find new ways of solving social problems. Faith Igosangwa, 26, a psychologist from Nairobi, Kenya is the founder and owner of Brown cakes. Her company is bridging a gap in the baked goods industry, providing Kenyans with an option to indulge in healthy treats. Brown cakes recently won an award at the Kenya Baking Industry Awards for Healthy Baker/Bakery of the year.
So how does a psychologist end up in a baking business? We hope you enjoy this quick one on one interview we had with her.
What inspired you to start baking?
I started baking in high school and used to be fascinated by the science of it especially the mixing of ingredients. However, after high school I actually went on to study counselling psychology. Then in 2016, I attended a three-month entrepreneurship course that was teaching people how to build start-ups and it’s during this course that I launched my business with Ksh350. One day I decided to bake a cake and sell it to my fellow course participants. I cut the cake into slices and sold each slice for Ksh50. On that first day I went home with Ksh1500 and at that moment I knew that this would be a business for me.
How did you get the initial capital to start the business after you launched it?
I was lucky not have gone into financial borrowing from banks. I started with the little I had and getting orders from family and friends. I continued saving and this helped me buy more equipment. It took a while to set up but it was well worth it and I don’t have any debt.
Why did you decide to venture into baking healthier cake options?
For me it was about nutrition and catering to people with gluten allergies and special dietary needs. Plus if one can have the option of indulging in healthier cake then why not? However that does not mean just because it’s a healthy cake that we should over indulge and just a slice is enough.
What products do you make and where do you sell them? Wholegrain wheat cakes in cooperating other gluten free flour blends like sweetpotatoes, amaranth etc. sugar free cakes, dairy free and egg free cakes for those with food allergies.
Tell us about your journey with orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP). And why did you start using it? I started using it mid-2017. It is not only highly nutritious but also it tastes good and can be used in gluten free baking when blended with other flours.
So far, the biggest milestone in my journey as far as the OFSP is concerned is winning BLAZE by Safaricom’s Be your Own Boss (BYOB) boot camp in Kisumu last year in August. I pitched my business idea on value addition of the orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes and won some funding for my business. I had tried out a month earlier in Mombasa and failed but I eventually won in Kisumu.
How are clients responding to it? Although it’s new they love it!
How did you market your products?
Since my family and friends loved my cakes I requested them to introduce me to their friends and workmates. And this led to referrals to bigger clients in the corporate sector.
Where do you see yourself in 2-5 years?
I would love to have at least two branches in Nairobi; one in Mombasa and my flours on the shelves as I impact my community by creating employment, eliminating poverty, curbing rural-urban migration, addressing nutrition and food security and possibly start exploring the export market hence earning my country foreign currency.
Young Kenyans like Faith are demonstrating that youth in Kenya are capable of fuelling growth and progress. We highly recommend you order fresh, healthy and homemade baked goods from Brown cakes!
To order simply reach them on 0713885622
Social media: Instagram @browncakeske
Written and edited by Faith Njoki and Nathan Ronoh