Bak­ing A CA­REER

Jamaica Gleaner - - RURAL EXPRESS - ru­ral@glean­erjm.com

TAMIKA DEN­NIS has been bak­ing pro­fes­sion­ally for the last two years. She de­vel­oped a pas­sion for bak­ing as a result of as­sist­ing her aunt in the kitchen.

She pur­sued food and nu­tri­tion in high school and ul­ti­mately com­pleted a de­gree in food ser­vice man­age­ment from the Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, where her pas­sion for bak­ing was re­newed. Dur­ing that time, Den­nis had the priv­i­lege of learn­ing more about her craft while be­ing in­spired by other lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional bak­ers.

“I con­sider my­self to be a very cre­ative in­di­vid­ual when­ever I go into the kitchen. I am al­ways im­pressed with my fin­ished prod­ucts and that has helped to in­spire me along my jour­ney,” Den­nis said, adding that her in­spi­ra­tion comes from the de­mands of cus­tomers, watch­ing YouTube videos, Food Net­work, and some­times her orig­i­nal ideas.

Den­nis told Ru­ral Xpress that she de­cided to make cakes and pas­tries as a busi­ness af­ter hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ties find­ing a suit­able job in her field of study. She is now the tal­ent be­hind Tami-Cakes and Treats.

“The pas­try busi­ness is not easy to get into or to stay in, espe­cially be­cause I’m not liv­ing in the Cor­po­rate Area where I could get new busi­ness eas­ily; that is why I started in my com­mu­nity, bak­ing for fam­ily and close friends. Hope­fully, in years to come, I will be able to have a well-es­tab­lished busi­ness, where I am able to give back and em­ploy per­sons and pro­vide ser­vices to the wider Ja­maica,” Den­nis told Ru­ral Xpress.

Mar­ket­ing and pro­mo­tions are real chal­lenges faced by small busi­ness op­er­a­tors and as a young en­tre­pre­neur from the ru­ral area, Den­nis laments that she finds it is dif­fi­cult get­ting the word out about her prod­ucts and ser­vices. “While my success thus far has come from re­fer­rals, it would def­i­nitely help with ad­ver­tis­ing not only through so­cial me­dia, but the host­ing of sem­i­nars for small busi­nesses to help get the word out would re­ally do us en­trepreneurs in Claren­don very well.”

“My ex­po­sure came when my friends saw my true po­ten­tial and started to sup­port me and be­gan help­ing with ad­ver­tis­ing my tal­ent. I was asked to do their birth­days, wed­dings, an­niver­saries or any other spe­cial events.”

She does a va­ri­ety of per­son­alised cakes and an as­sort­ment of other pas­try items, op­er­at­ing from her home in the Monymusk Hous­ing Scheme, Claren­don.

How­ever, Den­nis explains that she has chal­lenges get­ting raw ma­te­ri­als, most of which are dif­fi­cult to source and are ex­pen­sive. “At times, I have to travel out of town to get my in­gre­di­ents, dec­o­ra­tive tools, spe­cialised cake boxes and other items to en­sure that I up­hold the qual­ity of ser­vice that I pro­vide.”

In en­cour­ag­ing other per­sons who may want to launch out as an en­trepreneurs but are not sure, Den­nis says, “Fol­low your dreams. At first it may seem hard, but even­tu­ally it will get bet­ter; and you should al­ways, al­ways be­lieve in your­self.”

CON­TRIB­UTED

A baby shower cake de­signed by Tamika Den­nis.

PHOTO BY SHANIQUE SAMUELS

Tamika Den­nis shows off her hand­i­work.

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