Linda learned how to bake at the age of 12, and now envisions to build an empire using her passion.
Linda Andago is a Kisumu-based pastry entrepreneur who is out to transform people’s experience through quality and tasty cake products. She says she’s a daughter to supportive parents and a sister to 4 siblings
She believes in doing her utmost best every time she gets a task. Linda also holds the opinion that life is short and strives to make the most out of it as well as celebrate every achievement that comes by. Family is important to her and that goes beyond parents, siblings and relatives. Get the inside story of her amazing passion for pastries through the following Q & A with Edge Magazine.
When did you learn about baking and decided you can make a living out of it?
I learnt about baking in my early childhood, and a lot from my mother who was a home science teacher, she baked more often. I was interested and quick to pick up the basics and by the age of 12 I could bake entirely on my own. I further nurtured the hobby through constant inspiration from Mrs. Wesonga, my home science teacher at high school and my aunt Hedwig (a big supporter of my business). They made it seem more fun and interesting and introduced to me new recipes which I use to date.
When did the entrepreneurship bug bite you?
I started selling cakes after graduating from university and lacked a steady job for some time. I worked in various companies at different capacities, although it didn’t last long. My dad and my sister Patricia encouraged me to invest in my hobby and start charging people for the cakes I had been baking and giving out as gifts. I asked a few friends to pay and they did so up front, and further recommended me to their friends.
What is Made by Linda all about?
It is part of my initiative to take my business online. This came after an advice from my friend Nina. She encouraged me that I could share my baking experience online, gain traction and engage my customers on their experience with my cakes. It is aimed to build my brand and push sales further.
What makes your products unique?
I believe in quality as opposed to quantity. I’m keen on the flavour, taste and mouth-feel experience. I tailor make each order to my client’s wishes. From those who want cake with little sugar or don’t take dairy products to those who want a unique tasting with varied flavours, I take time, plan and come up with the best products that they will be pleased with.
What’s your competitive edge?
I don’t compromise on quality, it is my cardinal rule. My pricing is also competitive and I’m always open to a client. I prefer telling them if I’m unable to achieve their expectations and further recommend them to other suppliers than end up with a disgruntled customer.
How can your cakes be accessed?
I have a Facebook page: Made by Linda where clients can contact me or through my email address email@example.com. Most other enquiries are through referrals.
Whom do you target with your products? And where do you supply?
My cakes are for everyone, more so those who have special occasions like birthdays, weddings, baby showers, parties or any other gig where one would like my pastry skills to complete the occasion.
I supply in Kisumu and occasionally Nairobi and other counties on request.
How has your experience been so far?
It’s been fun and continues to be. I learn new things daily, especially online through YouTube.It is also humbling to get calls from people who don’t know me but came across my cakes and are interested in my services.
Have you faced any challenges in the course of your operation?
Challenges are part of every start-up, mine is cut from the same clothe. I use electric power to bake, so in case of a blackout or a disruption I am unable to bake.
There are times when I get so many orders that I have to turn down on others due to limited capacity. Besides, I’m also schooling which eats into my time. However, I’m working to address this issue.
Since I moved to Kisumu, the business has been slow compared to Nairobi. There are times I go for weeks without orders. Getting the right pastry ingredients and equipments has been also a challenge, and if you get, it is damn expensive. Some are not even available in the country.
How have you overcome the above?
To overcome the electricity issue I am looking for an additional reliable gas oven, and I hope to save towards it soon.
I have other friends who are bakers who are able to take orders that I am unable to meet.
I travel periodically to Nairobi when there are enough orders to make financial sense, and usually I have clients who only need a phone call for the orders to flow in, this balances out the slow business in Kisumu. In the case of cake supplies, I have to make trips of pay for certain items to be couriered to Kisumu.
What does the future holds for Made by Linda?
I aim to grow the business and start a bakery. Until then, it is one day at a time.