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Name: Monisola Banwo
Business: Pastries 4 u ventures, a full service caterer for events and parties
Industry: Food & Beverage
Location: Lagos, Nigeria
Reason for starting: One of the reasons for starting my catering and pastry business was mainly to get myself busy, and stop been labelled as a jobless housewife. My husband went to work daily, but I wasn’t satisfied without working. With his encouragement I experimented with pastry-making for several months in my kitchen.
How do you define success? Success to me is the inner satisfaction I get doing when my hands are busy and I’m doing a good job– even if I don’t make a profit. I am always happy when working.
Biggest Success: One of my biggest successes came when I offered to assist an older friend, Mummy Toyosi, by mixing dough and running errands at all hours. I was happy that at last I was able to do something after been jobless since my high school graduation. My other definitive success was when I finally bought a gas oven after saving up for more than 9 months, which helped me launch my business.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My top challenge was deciding my level of operation. There are so many caterers and cake makers in Lagos, so competition is fierce. I have to balance my duties at home with the demands of the work. Managing this balance has been continuous, as each case presents a peculiar challenge. However, I managed the challenges by opening up a small shop, asked friends and families to patronize me, and offered my services at low prices to gain a following. On the home front, I used my kitchen as a work room, and got my husband to take care of the children when I had deadlines. Offering customized training services helped me to get more students, who participated often in the practical projects.
Who is your most important role model? Mrs Biobaku of Mix ‘n’ Bake enabled me to learn practical skills and motivated me not to give up.
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Edited by The Story Exchange