“Every one ‘s story is important and should be heard,” says Patsy.She is a beautiful young lady with a huge personality and this week she graces the No Ordinary Scribbles table to chat about herself and her love for writing and so much more.Welcome Patsy………
1.Who is Mugabi Patsy?
“Who is that African girl? , tell me Who is that Ugandan girl? ” like Afrie sings. I am that uncontrollable adventurer.I am a ferocious reader and I write most times.I hate writing but I love having written.I am thee financial economist in the making enrolled at Strathmore University in Kenya.I am a budding creative on the spoken word scene.I am a freelance blogger.I am girl of few words and many actions. I attribute all that I am to God, because all I lack in perfection,He makes up for in love.My friends call me the queen dancer next door (a name which I refuse to accept) because I love to dance myself lame( until I can’t feel my legs).Please do not try this alone.
2.When did you start your writing journey?
I started a while back in my S.6 vacation of January 2015.It was one of those adventurous escapades that scared the hell out of me that prompted me to do it.It’s as cathartic as bungee jumping for me.A large part of me believes it started out as a clarion call to share and connect with others on the topics I was sharing on.
3.How did you join the blogging community?
Well here’s one way to see it.I simply invited myself to the party by not waiting and joining , with a detailed plan of course(who,what ,when and most importantly why)
4.Names are important,they give identity to a thing.How did you come up with the name for your blog?
Well ,when you spare the time to read through the blog, I must warn you that your ecstasy is surely justified.(no pun intended) The name describes my new identity as I walk in God reminding myself how I am a steward of everything and an owner of nothing.The name Justified Ecstasy means that state of of a reader experiencing bliss and blessings as written in every blog post’s closing remark.
5.How do you juggle school & writing?
Consistency is the key.I know it sounds like a school motto but it’s the simple truth I heed to.I am learning to be consistent which calls for self discipline and for me to continue writing on days when I am not feeling up to it.I have set aside Sunday evenings as a time to publish a new post and finish all my school work through the week .
6.How important is it to grow your audience as a blogger??
Very important.Let me say that again in all caps.VERY IMPORTANT. Here’s why. (1).You matter. (2).Your story needs to be heard be it in any sphere; fashion,hair ,creative writing you name it.Yes it has probably already been told but not with your fresh perspective.(3).Your craft must grow
7.What Challenges do you face with blogging?
Getting people to comment after reading a post is what my mind grapples with.
8.Achievements in your blogging journey.
+ Joining larger blogging communities.
+Meeting some amazing readers who have also hooked me up with some amazing writing gigs.
9.Future plans for Justified Ecstasy.
+Joining the Bloggers Association of Kenya.
+Getting a customised domain and for every 1000 subscription, a give away should be in order to celebrate the growth.
Cakes are accessories that grace almost every event from weddings to baby showers,staff parties,birthdays and so much more.Failure to find the the right baker can be a deal breaker but when you find a good one,you are hooked for life.
Welcome with me Racheal Atieno to our No ordinary scribbles table as we chat about her love for cake and building Cake culture.
1.Who is Racheal Atieno?
Racheal is a 30 year old lady born and bred in Nairobi ,Kenya. She is an extrovert who loves people and thrives when helping people out. She loves travelling, baking and adventure . She studied Sociology and Psychology at the University of Nairobi and was in employment for about 5 years before going into baking full-time. She has worked with Huru international on a project that provided reusable sanitary pads for needy girls in the slum plus did HIV prevention training. Later on she worked with Earthview Geo-consultants Limited as a Social Impact Assessment officer then went into full-time baking in January 2017.
2. How did cake culture come into existence? Did you go to baking school?
While visiting my cousin some years back, her friend, a baker, had also visited and decided to randomly teach us how to bake using a charcoal stove and this is what triggered the baking passion in me. I went back home and kept experimenting and trying out different recipes, it was fun. There were disappointments but I kept at it, I’ll never forget putting a hole in my mother’s sufuria cause I had used wet sand to set up my charcoal oven. My desire has always been to be a stay at home mum and Cake culture was birthed out of an initial desire for a source of income while I stayed home to raise my children (And no I don’t have children yet). I had always baked as a hobby for family and friends and a friend of mine kept insisting on how I should turn it into a business and even helped out with the registration process which I did in July 2014. At this point I did not know much about business (never really pictured myself doing business), I had no idea of where to get baking supplies. I did not go to baking school so I learnt through google and particular bakers or bloggers who were so kind to help out. I had done various probono cakes for friends and family but my very first order came from my colleague who needed a birthday cake for the son who was turning two years (he is actually turning 5 this month) I was very nervous and not too sure of myself, it was the first time I was going to whip cream and decorate a birthday cake. It was a red velvet cake and looking back, it was more maroon than red and I’ve since changed the recipe I use to a much better one. I thank God for this particular client cause she believed in me and kept pushing me, she allowed me to experiment with her orders and was very forgiving and patient when at times it was not so perfec(thank you Lydia).I was in employment when I started the business, so I basically bought ingredients with the money the client paid and bought equipment with some of my money, I did not really need much to start. We already had an oven at home that I still use (I forever cherish those charcoal days, but agirl has got to upgrade😂😂😂)
3. Describe the journey of your start up
It has been an interesting one, It started out prematurely, well at least from how I planned it. The initial stages were more of baking for fun but eventually I decided to do it for business which is also a story on its own especially the whole concept of pricing, separating the business supplies from the home supplies, being a home baker and all. I had a day job and that meant that any baking would be either at night or on weekends. I used my (boss’s) time during the day to read and research about baking, download recipes which I would then try out back at home. Some worked out while others just backfired. This kept going for over a year, trying out different recipes and perfecting as many as I could. Orders were coming in from mostly friends and workmates and this was a good thing for it provided me both a market but also a platform to get feedback about my cakes which greatly helped the learning process. Eventually I found it hard to balance as the orders kept increasing meaning sleepless nights were fast becoming a norm. At this time too, work at my day job had really slowed down, which should have been good but if the cake business was to grow to its fullest potential then it needed to become the number 1 priority. So I made up my mind to resign from my job at the end of the year (2016) and focus 100% on CAKE CULTURE moving forward, step of faith. In terms of initial capital, we didn’t need much for a start. We have an oven at home so that went a long way in cutting the costs. The rest of the things we bought as the money came in and as the need arose. With time and research i figured out where to get supplies at the best possible deals- a supermarket could be nearer but costlier. We started with what we had and the rest has been the business growing itself.
4. Share key lessons you have learnt along the way.
Researching& adapting. I research about everything from pricing,mixing to flavors. Adapting may take the form of reading ahead about planned power blackouts so that you either bake or prepare cream ahead of time with the end goal being that you’re not caught flatfooted by the blackout.
Resilience and determination.“With trial there will be error.” This means that you will spend hours and money preparing for a cake and then it will not come out as you expected. I have learnt not to give up. One of our signature cake flavors is a result of such resilience. It backfired so many times that I almost gave up but from the day I mastered it, I think it single handedly accounts for about 50% of our revenue. You can’t be too caught up in what didn’t work. Sometimes everything is right but halfway through the baking there is a power blackout. This means redo the whole process.
We have learnt to set values for ourbusiness. At CAKE CULTURE ,we value customer satisfaction and this means that we must deliver the best product to the client every time. This calls for more than following the recipe to the letter: the whole process has to be standardized and nothing left to imagination. Continued research is a must. We can’t be comfortable with just a few flavors even if we’re the best at them. What happens after a client has sampled all our cakes? There is need to keep adding new products. We also value our products and price them accordingly.
Friendships are critical because it tookmore than one person to build the business. The name ‘CAKE CULTURE’ was suggested by a friend and I loved it. Our (awesome) branding was done by another friend. My first orders were from friends. Some of our equipment like our awesome stand mixer was from a friend. My biggest source of support has been my family, not forgetting mum’s oven that I use to date. The start and growth of this business has been largely enabled by people. You could do it alone but you may not finish the race and assuredly you will be slower.
5.What are your current products?
We currently have a list of 19 Cake flavors with the orange/passion chiffon being a major favorite, we also have cupcakes, muffins, quick breads, granola bars, oatmeal cookies, brownies and toasted muesli cereal. We for sure keep adding to the list.
In the last two years we have participated in the Cake Festival organized by Edumed Trust as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility. It is an annual event that brings together various bakers who get the opportunity to offer their products for sampling with the aim of raising funds to educate bright needy students through high school.
Philip,Maggie,Emma at Cake Fest 2017
Morris at Cake Fest
Philip & Maggie attending to clients
7. What challenges did you face when you started out?
I struggled with pricing because I feared to lose clients but overtime the business was not making money despite having good products and a good number of orders. I finally allowed for the prices to be reviewed and this has positively reflected in our revenues.
We plan to open a bakery shop and increase our products to include everything pastry and dessert. From that shop we hope to open a few others, particularly looking forward for a branch in Kampala, my friends over there keep asking for one.
Friendships are critical know who to listen to and who not to listen to. I believe God sends you the right people to help you through your process.Currently,at Cake Culture it’s myself as head Baker and Morris,the tech guy who also doubles as the delivery guy.
It`s not everyday that you meet a 20-something lady doing things that many dream about. Today, I introduce you to Lamachi(did I mention that I love her name?!!well-I do), gifted musically and her hands prosper in whatever they choose to do. She has a huge personality that oozes kindness and love.
1. Who is Lamachi?
Lamachi: Lamachi apa(actually preferred as ) my new name version -Purple:is a child of God whose greatest desire is to know the love of God more and to mirror it on the earth.
2. What are you passionate about?
Wow!!…That question is ambiguous when it comes to me. I am passionate about A LOT of things. In precise order, I must add:-God, people, loving the above, the color purple, teaching the word, design (in general), fashion design, counselling, fine art, music,singing ,and just being.
3. Are you pursuing music professionally?
Well,yes and no. For a long time, I was just doing music with people who were doing it professionally. (Talk about collabos and the background eish,hehehe.)Until recently, when I was asked to train people in music and worship by 3 institutions/ministries.One of them being a bible college. So you can say,I am doing it professionally. But ,if it were left to me, I consider myself a worshiper who is here to teach and usher people into the mysteries of worship.Then they can walk on their own from there. I also teach them fundamentals of music and singing, which is a stepping stone to ministering.Worship being a KEY word.
4. Where does fashion and design come in?
My middle name is Jackline and I often tell people I am a Jack(line) of all trades. I have this tinkering ability to do something new, and do it well. So, having been presented with a sewing machine by my mom after my first degree,I literally taught myself how to sew and then enrolled for a master`s degree where I majored in sewing(Fashion Design),more like fine art and they are both academically my professions.
5. Do you plan/intend on doing it full time?
Yes!!I work at an organization where tailoring is THE job.So, when I go home and do my personal orders, it is just a continuation of my day time job. So tailoring is my full time work.
6. How do you deal with people who take ages to pay up?
Well,I have not sewn professionally for long.I am just easing into it but ,I dont work on anything that hasn`t been already paid for in full or close to it. That`s my rule.
7. Any future prospects.
Hehehe. I will not be jinxed!!hahaha,anyway,I think it is safe to say,“watch this space”.The bible says,“man may make his plans ,but God has the final say. Jeremiah 29:11 that`s where you will find my future plans.
8. Advice to people who want to venture into the clothing/sewing/tailoring business.
I say go for it. Be sure to have what I call the 3 ps that every tailor must have:passion,patience and perseverance.
The author beautifully opens the love chats with her own love story detailing her own journey;the how she met her husband and her worries of a long distance relationship to the engagement. She further reveals the “why” for putting the book together-to change the conversation on marriage as portrayed in the media that marriages are doomed to fail.
She intricately weaves her web with a vast majority of couples who clearly show that marriage is not doomed to fail,it can work out with God at the center. Some couples reveal they got married immediately after university while others met in a matatu, bank hall and struck up conversations and one thing led to another. Each story is unique and the people are diverse and the constant in their stories is -God.
The common questions discussed include expectations about the spouse, parenting, finances,investment, children or the lack thereof, employment choices/career, health and involvement of family and friends. The couples answer the questions with an open vulnerability helping the reader to fully understand the gist of marriage and how our upbringing forms our perceptions on marriage. One of the couples reveals that,“ marriage is not for people who are unprepared..” It calls for a certain level of maturity and dying to self by God`s grace in order to be the spouse God desires you to be.
It is evident from the answers the couples give that, upbringing plays at vital role in marriage.One couple in particular,the lady(Turi Wamboye) shares how she was getting ready to prepare her husband tea in the same sufuria they had used to cook meat.He(Ernest Wamboye) stopped her and said where he was raised,each dish had its own sufuria.Imagine that!!! They had to purchase another sufuria.
Some questions begot answers that were left hanging or incomplete as you read the book .For example; One of the ladies says her husband stopped pursuing her. She didn’t`t further break it down for one to understand what pursuing meant to her since it is evident, we all view things differently based on our upbringing and many other factors.
Most of the couples revealed the importance of pre-marital counselling and its vitality during the whole dating/courting affair .
I recommend this book to the singles, those dating and are preparing to be married and also the marrieds. It gives a fresh christian perspective on the whole marriage affair.This can be used as a guide for asking hard but vital questions . The warmth as each page is opened is undeniable.
Every one of us has been called to something in life-a purpose that our creator knows. Imagine my surprise when I heard that two of my friends actually make CAKE!!??? Mind you I had known the for a while and but didn`t know the cake bit until I tasted a cake that was heavenly : only to be told it was made by Jakin. I had to quickly sit down with Jakin founders for a chat.
1.Describe Jakin a few words.
Jakin : Jakin Confectionery International Ltd is a bakery run by two ladies,co-founders; Kirabo Josephine and Namasa Sheila. We have explored a number of flavors ranging from coconut, vanilla, strawberry,mint, bubble gum to pineapple and lemon.We desire to create an environment where we are not just about hardworking, being excellent, and so on but there’s an extra ingredient of caring, to create success.
2.When did Jakin start?
Jakin: Jakin Started in 2014 but as a part-time business or “side hustle.”We went full time in 2016 and took a step further and had it registered on the 4th of July, 2017.
3.What does “Jakin” mean ?
Jakin :JAKIN means He(God) Establishes.
4.Did you go to baking school or are you a google student?
Josephine: I learnt from google for a while and largely from friends who bake and I am currently enrolled in a baking school – Eunice`s Kitchen. So I can say I have been both.
Sheila: I learnt some baking from an institute and now I largely use the internet,making me a google student.
5. Is baking a long time passion for both of you or was it born out of necessity? What else are you passionate about?
Josephine: Well, I didn’t know I was passionate about cake, I knew I loooved food but not specifically cake and when I got on the discovery journey, cake was what I found. All I can say is, it was a hidden passion .I enjoy doing research work and working with KIN ministries.
Sheila: I have always loved eating cake, so when the opportunity came to start baking, I never hesitated. I love to read.
6.Achievements /milestones for Jakin.
The ability to give back to society(Social responsibility). This is one of our goals and we have been able to bring it into action by giving out 2 free cakes every two months to an orphanage where we celebrate and eat cake with these children.
Celebrate staff and their families. Much as we are about business, we are also about showing care to one another and we do this through things like; celebrating birthdays for staff and their families, having staff outings.
Skills empowerment which has been done through carrying out of trainings, some have been on a one on one basis ,others on a group basis.
7. Challenges you have faced since the startup phase.
Abrupt cake orders, where some clients call and want the cake that very day. This sometimes ,puts a strain on us especially, if we haven’t re-stocked yet. We don’t cancel because we want to go out of our way and be there for our clients.
Prices on the market for cake ingredients. Prices keep increasing left and right and yet clients expect you to be consistent with your price, some of them when you increase and give reasons why, they decide to refuse to order with you.
Transportation. Sometimes cakes get cracks because of how they were poorly transported, making the client complain.8.Share some lessons you have gained since the start of Jakin.
Customer Care is very essential. As a starting business, it’s always to remember this, because you don’t just want to deliver your product but also to leave a good impact. Some people sometimes come back because they were treated well.
Never forget to pay yourself. However small the payment might be, do it, it’s a way of appreciating and motivating yourself and your team.
Always keep records of all payments and expenses. This helps one know how the company is progressing.
Obey the law of the land. Legalise your company. Sometimes you won`t take on business deals because you are not registered. So to avoid this, one needs to legalize their business.
9.How has your social media presence impacted your business?
Well more people have gotten to know about the bakery like what we are about, why we do what we do, our products etc.
Women empowerment can best be done by women who know and understand fellow women. Meet Noeline Kirabo who is building an active legacy when it comes to empowering young ladies to live out their God -given potential. Many know her for Kyusa but today, she tells us all about the New Generation Mentoring Program and how to be apart of the upcoming cohort in September.
1.Who is Noeline Kirabo?
NK: Noeline Kirabo is a family therapist by profession and a social entrepreneur by passion. She has over twelve years’ experience in the nonprofit sector mainly working with children, youth, women and community self-help groups.
She is the Founder and Executive Director of Kyusa, a registered organization that empowers out of school youth in urban slums to become employable by developing passion driven sustainable careers.
She is the Co- Founder and director of Newen Consults a personal and business development consulting firm.
Noeline is also the founding president of Christian Women Entrepreneurs Network (CWEN); a platform that brings together Ugandan Christian women in business to connect, create and collaborate.
As part of her passion for women, Noeline has also pioneered a four months coaching program called New Generation Mentoring program for young adult women 20 – 35 years preparing them to identify their potential and use it to strategically influence in the market place.
Noeline is an author, writer, motivational speaker, life coach, career mentor, trainer and business development consultant. Her life mission is to empower people to identify their life purposes and turn their passions into skills for fruitful living.
2.The name Noeline is synonymous with kyusa,but what is New Generation Mentoring Program (NGMP)?
The mentoring program was birthed out of my passion and commitment to nurturing young women to actualize their potential so as to influence in the market place. I had been mentoring and coaching ladies one on one for years so I just decided to turn it into a group mentoring because of the number of ladies that were approaching me for mentoring.
New generation Mentoring Program is a four months mentoring program that aims at developing outstanding female leaders. It is an experiential program that nurtures holistic development and equipping of women for kingdom service in the market place.
3. How many Cohorts has NGMP had so far ?
NK: Currently, we are running the third cohort and applications for the fourth cohort that will be starting is September are open.
4.How does one apply to be part of the program? Any qualifications needed?
NK: We are looking to work with:
Women who actively seek ways to maximize their own potential
Individuals who enjoy problem solving and creative thinking
Women who thrive when working with other people
Ultimately, we are looking for 20 women per cycle who want to use their talents to make positive change in their lives and the world.
If you are thinking “wow, this sounds like me!” we would like to offer you an opportunity to apply for the next class of women influencers.
Weekly sessions will be held every Tuesday evening at Kyusa community library in Kalerwe.
Opportunity to take part in community service projects
By the end of the program participants have developed life plans, mapped out career and personal development goals, acquired leadership skills, public speaking skills, ability to effectively work in teams, financial management skills and have a supportive network to enable them continue growing into their full potential.
6.Achievements so far?
NK : NGMP alumni are influencing in different industries which include the legal fraternity, business, fashion, education, social entrepreneurship, telecommunication, IT, agriculture, writing and Beauty industry among others. This provides a wealth of networks and resources that alumni can continuously draw from as they advance in their career and personal development goals.
At the moment 30 ladies have gone through the program and are accomplishing great things both in their personal and career lives.
7.Future of NGMP
NK :At the moment we are focusing on smaller groups for the cohorts with the intention of consolidating the learning experience.
Alumni are expected to also run their own mentoring clusters thus producing a ripple effect of the program impact.
Recently we inaugurated the first Executive Committee that is spearheaded by program alumni with the intention of having alumni take a lead on the growing alumni network so as to strengthen networking, collaboration as well as community impact.
Future plans (starting 2018) include:
Hosting an annual women in the market place conference
Monthly seminars for women in the market place
Quarterly community outreach activities
Annual Rising Woman award
The rest will be unveiled with time.
8.As our chat ends, how do people connect with NGMP on Social media ?
“The local church is the hope of the world’-Bill Hybells. This simply means , the church is a solution to the problems the world`s experiencing. Meet Soul Touch International whose priority is to be church to the vulnerable children in slums around Kampala.
1. Who is Soul Touch?
Soul Touch International is a registered Christian organisation that was initiated by a group of university students in 2011; under the leadership of Ronald Amanya to respond to God`s call to preach the gospel and help needy children in slums, believing that every sinner can turn into a saint and every slave can become a master given time and opportunity. We focus on gospel missions, student outreach and child care. Child care is handled under the soul care project.
2. How do you get the kids under soul care project?
They are recommended by a school, church, police or organizations in the community. The soul care team follows up the child in order to get full recommendation from the local council of that community and then the family`s consent. Parents need to give us permission to take on their children .
We take on kids who are deemed to be needy, vulnerable or less advantaged from the slum communities of Katanga, Bwaise, Kasokoso, Kawala and Mulago. We register children between 5-9 years. The idea is to evolve with them upto university level.
3. How many kids did you start with in 2011 and how many do you have currently?
We started with only 2 children (Paul and Denis) from Katanga who were not attending school at that time because their parents lacked school fees and other scholastic materials.
We currently have 30 children under our Soul care project .They are all enrolled into various Nursery and Primary schools for example Batvalley, Buganda road, St.Martin, Kawala Junior,and many others.
4.What more do you offer the children besides school fees and taking care of their school needs?
Mentor-ship where we connect them with mentors who can inspire them to fulfill their dreams.
Family empowerment involves helping the parents of the children start up their own small businesses so they are able to sustain their families. It also involves visiting with the families and praying with them to ten to their emotional and spiritual needs.
5.Challenges Soul Touch has faced since it’s inception.
Financial constraints since the budget expenses are always high especially when school begins.
Fundraising is tedious since the term Ngos and money has over the years received a bad reputation.
Rent since we have to maintain an official address.
Soul Touch International is a growing organisation with most of our staff being volunteers who are not easy to depend on as their commitment and experience is not reliable.
6. What are your sustainability plans?
In partnership with Makerere Palliative care unit,we started a piggery project in Wakiso which can partly support the organisation.
We have started teaching our children to make crafts which we will in turn sell off .
7.How can people partner with Soul Touch International?