Itunuoluwa Oyeniran: How I Left Estate Management To Start Wedding Cake Business

Itunuoluwa Oyeniran, the CEO of Cakes by Itunu, is a graduate of Estate Management from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Osun State. She is a creative and detail-oriented individual who refers to herself as a sugar artist because she expresses her natural artistic gift through cake designs. Despite her professional calling, she abandoned it to focus on producing wedding cakes. In an interview with MARY NNAH, she encourages young people to develop their entrepreneurial talents while also urging the government to support the business dreams and ideas of the youth.
What informs your foray into Cake baking?

 My motivation started with a desire to satisfy my curiosity about how the cake is made, as this led to the start of my first training sponsored by my parents during an ASUU strike in my 200 level in the university. Being a natural talent in art, learning came easy and fast. By observing cake pictures, I knew what to do to achieve the designs before me.
Around this time, I  got an opportunity to pitch for a grant of #10,000 to be paid in two instalments. I received the first instalment of #5,000 and I got my first set of equipment; a rolling pin, a baking pan, a spatula, a scrapper, a few piping nozzles and one more thing I can’t remember. With this, I started by collecting money for ingredients to bake for a few friends in my 300 level.  In those days, from baking to decoration, everything was manual. I mixed with my hands using a rolling pin and baked with a stove and pot. After a while, I became more confident in my craft and I started to charge better no longer for ingredients only.
I discovered that baking and especially decoration was natural to me. I enjoyed working on every cake and for every cake I had a deep level of satisfaction. Then I did my first wedding cake and it felt like I belonged here, I want to do this for the rest of my life.

By the time I graduated in 2017, I’d saved over #100,000. With this, I came to Lagos to have an upgrade class for about a month. I left Lagos for Abuja for my National Youth Service Corp. In Abuja, I continued baking. I enrolled on an entrepreneurship programme organised by Project Headstart. At the end of the event, I pitched for a grant and got #50,000 which I used to purchase more tools for the business. After NYSC, I got a scholarship to intern with a leading bakery in Lagos for three months, I was retained to work with the company as their Chief Baker.

I resigned in 2019 and I started my business officially. The business was registered in 2020 and I’m a graduate of the Transforming Nigerian Youth Programme organised by Entreprisethe  Development Centre(EDC).
What is the niche you possess that differentiates your Cakes?

I do have my eyes on perfection and I pay utmost attention to details. I am very proficient in the cake-baking process and strive to meet the expectations of my clients. My natural artistic talents influence my cake baking. This is reflected in the design’s bad interpretation of the preferences of my clients.

I also focus on the ability to develop innovative and attractive designs that are contemporary. This appeals more to the youthful segment. I can meet their yearnings as we are all within the same age classification.
What are the challenges you face in business?

Top of the list is Price fluctuation. This is a major challenge because with prices going up consistently in Nigeria, consumer spending behaviour has been greatly impacted. The majority of people want to spend their income on their immediate and most important needs. This has impacts on the business revenue
Another challenge is high production costs due to poor infrastructural development such as electricity. With the subsidy removal, the use of generators which is the alternative for electricity costs more.
What do you do to should drive business and what is your counsel for young entrepreneurs?

It’s not enough to have a business idea or to desire to start a business. To build a business that lasts, one that is profitable, there’s a way to do business. So before you start that business, get the knowledge required for a business to thrive well. We go to school to study a course so that we can have a good understanding of that discipline, I believe this applies to business as well.
What can be done to support Entrepreneurs and Small Scale Businesses?

Entrepreneurship should be included in the school curriculum from primary school to build the right entrepreneurial knowledge into students as they grow older. They have simplified the legal process of business registration, regulations and paperwork. Access to funding through loans, grants and other financial incentives – Tax breaks.

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