Sis­ters Turn Child­hood Bak­ing Pas­sion Into Big Busi­ness

Two sis­ters who grew up en­joy­ing a TV show on food have turned the pas­time into a gold­mine

THISDAY Style - - STYLE & DESIGN - Busi­ness Brief: Started April 2017 In­sta­gram @Stel­ladul­cebak­ery web­site: www.stel­ladul­cebak­

Kachi and Chizzy Ama­jor were born and raised in the United States of Amer­ica and grew up in Texas. Ac­cord­ing to Kachi, their favourite TV show grow­ing up was "Sweet Dreams", a bak­ing show an­chored by Gale Gand and aired on FoodNet­work. It was a show Kachi and Chizzy rarely missed and which be­came the foun­da­tion of their love for bak­ing. Kachi rem­i­nisced on how their in­ter­est in bak­ing grad­u­ally trans­formed into a busi­ness idea: “I started tak­ing bak­ing more se­ri­ously at high school. By the time I was in col­lege, my sis­ter and I started our own busi­ness by sell­ing wed­ding cakes, birth­day cakes and so much more.” Kachi, a grad­u­ate of the Univer­sity of Texas, Ar­ling­ton, and Chizzy, who grad­u­ated from Howard Univer­sity and Ge­orge­town Univer­sity, both in the U.S., moved to Nige­ria in 2013 for the very first time in their lives. Kachi re­called: “Nige­ria has so much to of­fer and we just had to come and ex­pe­ri­ence it for our­selves. We left our com­fort zone and jumped out on blind faith know­ing that suc­cess was the only op­tion once backed with de­ter­mi­na­tion and per­se­ver­ance.” How­ever, their re­lo­ca­tion was of mu­tual ben­e­fit, as they brought with them a Western con­fec­tionery idea blended with lo­cal con­ven­tion. “Be­ing born and raised in the US has def­i­nitely had an in­flu­ence on our bak­ing styles,” Kachi told us. “We like to in­cor­po­rate Amer­i­can south­ern flavours from Texas, Ge­or­gia, Mis­sis­sippi, etc., and tastes that are nos­tal­gic to our ex­pe­ri­ences. We are bring­ing our child­hood favourites to the Nige­rian mar­ket. We are­also de­vel­op­ing recipes that truly show­case all the amaz­ing flavours that Nige­ria has to of­fer.” Stella Dulce Bak­ery, named af­ter the Ama­jor sis­ters' mother, has been setup in Abuja as a place where the two sis­ters are tak­ing con­fec­tionar­ies to the next level with ex­cep­tional pas­sion for bak­ing. How­ever, Abuja and other ma­jor cities al­ready have many bak­eries. So what is Stella Dulce do­ing dif­fer­ently? Kachi was ex­cited by the ques­tion. She said: "We in­cor­po­rate dif­fer­ent in­ter­na­tional flavour pro­files that rep­re­sent the coun­tries that we have trav­elled to. Stella Dulce only uses high­qual­ity in­gre­di­ents and we spend ex­tra time on the in­tri­cate de­tails to en­sure that each prod­uct we make is as unique as the peo­ple who or­der them from us. We use in­ter­na­tional bak­ing tech­niques from Swiss and French ap­proaches to Texas tried and true best prac­tices." The Ama­jor sis­ters are us­ing the lessons learned from their flour­ish­ing ca­reers in pub­lic and global health to build their bak­ery brand with the goal of bring­ing in­ter­na­tional stan­dards and qual­ity to the ir cus­tomers' doorsteps. Kachi vividly re­mem­bered the first sale, which per­suaded them that they were on the right track and deep­ened their in­ter­est: “It has to be a Ben10 car cake that we made for a lit­tle boy's birth­day. He ab­so­lutely loved it! He prob­a­bly wanted to play with it more than he wanted to eat it. As is com­mon to many start-ups, our first sales came from fam­ily and friends. Then it grew from there with rec­om­men­da­tions. We are find­ing that the way we started in the United States is the same trend that we're see­ing in Nige­ria.” With grow­ing health con­cerns world­wide, healthy-eat­ing en­thu­si­asts of­ten crit­i­cise the con­fec­tionary in­dus­try for the grow­ing obe­sity, es­pe­cially among chil­dren. We asked Kachi if Stella Dulce Bak­ery makes healthy desserts. She said: “Hon­estly, you'd be sur­prised how fruit and veg­gies can be in­cor­po­rated into desserts. Mother Na­ture has given us so many nat­u­ral sweet­en­ers and healthy fats that can be used rather than but­ter and sugar. We are de­vel­op­ing a ve­gan line of recipes that are just as rich and flavour­ful as our guilty plea­sures. No sugar, no eggs, no dairy, all nat­u­ral flavours that are de­rived from healthy sources like nuts and nat­u­ral oils. Learn­ing how to pro­duce on a large scale was an ini­tial chal­lenge when Stella Dulce started. Also, ob­tain­ing qual­ity in­gre­di­ents in Nige­ria has been a con­stant chal­lenge, ac­cord­ing to Kachi. Eyak “We en­sure that our in­gre­di­ents are the best and we are ready to go above and be­yond even if it means im­port­ing the best in­gre­di­ents to guar­an­tee su­pe­rior prod­ucts for our cus­tomers,” she said. In spite of the crowded con­fec­tionary space, Kachi said Stella Dulce a high­end bak­ery with a bright fu­ture. She said, “Our pri­or­ity is de­liv­er­ing ex­cel­lence in ev­ery­thing we cre­ate. All of our cus­tomers are high pro­file, no mat­ter how big or small. We treat ev­ery cus­tomer like a su­per star. Whether you are or­der­ing a sin­gle cup­cake or host­ing a star-stud­ded event, you are go­ing to be treated like the king or queen that you are!”

“We are bring­ing our child­hood favourites from the United States to the Nige­rian mar­ket. We are also de­vel­op­ing recipes that truly show­case all the amaz­ing flavours that Nige­ria has to of­fer

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