On this auspicious day, I had the rare privilege of meeting the amiable and ever energetic CEO of Olyniks Cakes, Mrs. Oluchukwu Onike. At first glance, I was struck by the depth of her beauty, carriage and persona but more importantly, I was awed by her intelligence and mental prowess. She exuded every ounce of confidence even as she spoke and gesticulated with fervour about her sojourn into the baking world, the upheavals and trials, the successes but more importantly her hopes, aspirations and plans for the business. She also offers us a never before an expose on her marriage, family life and academics. She also spoke extensively about the Cake Fair/Exhibition coming up in February, 2021.
Can we meet you?
My name is Oluchukwu Onike, the CEO Olyniks Cakes I am a business woman, a cake designer and caterer, event planner as well as a decorator. I am a wife and also a mother. I hold a Bachelor degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Labour and International Relations.
Why did you opt to go into this business out of so many other businesses?
Well, I’ve always loved to bake. It’s actually second nature to me. I’ve always had flare and passion for it, so the decision came naturally. Again, it has always been a family business too. When I was ready to start professionally, I did the relevant researches and learnt all I needed to and to God be the glory, Olyniks was born.
How long have you been in the business?
I’d say from birth, but professionally I started taking the business seriously as a career about five (5) years ago.
Why the combination of baking, catering and event management and decoration?
As a matter of fact, all three aspects of the business revolve and are dependent on each other. For the success of any occasion, celebration or party, all three aspects must come to play. Guests must be fed in an ambient and tastefully decorated venue, and the Cake also must reflect the quality and importance of the occasion.
What role does your business play in tackling the rising scourge of unemployment in our country today?
if you watch closely today, many young people who have gone through school cannot find the requisite employment, and as such, many face depression and Anxiety’. However, learning a vocational skill such as baking and cake making helps you to become not only self-reliant but also independent. It affords you the opportunity to cater for yourself, family and contribute meaningfully to the society at large. It also helps you ward off depression. In time, you also help to train others too.
How has the response and patronage from clients over the years been?
It’s been God all the way, and He alone in his benevolence has sustained the business throughout the years.
How is the cake business today viz a viz modern trend?
Cake business has metamorphosed into a huge industry both locally and internationally. It therefore demands ingenuity and creativity to survive. It’s no longer just baking as it were but a lot of creativity’ artistry helps to give you the necessary edge in the industry. For instance, you are required to bake a cake for a professional client, say a doctor, lawyer, soldier or a nurse. The cake should possess a symbol or more of the client’s profession as it will not only give your work that stamp of professionalism and will also make your client happy earning you more patronage in the future.
How do you enhance creativity?
This is where seminars, symposium, lectures and workshops come in. Again, a lot of research both online though the internet and through books are needed. This keeps you up to date with modern trends and concepts in the world of cake making and decorations. Again, it’s all about networking and also the willingness to pay to learn from more successful bakers. For every time you pay to learn, you gain a wealth of knowledge and experience, that leaves you better and more informed.
Let’s know more about your upcoming Cake Exhibition.
Yes, we will be having an Exhibition/Show in Agbor on the 9th and 10th of February, 2021. It would showcase all things about cake and more. We enjoin bakers to register with as little as Three Thousand, Five Hundred Naira (N3,500) which offers you a gate pass into the venue. There you will be opportune to meet with renowned bakers /Facilitators from all over Nigeria who have made their mark in the baking industry, such as Kaima cake. These are persons who have excelled exceedingly well in the industry and are more than willing to come and share their wealth of experience with newbies in the industry.
They’d be teaching how to rebrand, package, advertise and position your baking business to gain visibility and make the most profit. The exhibition isn’t restricted to only bakers but to everyone who has an interest or has a ward or child that needs to learn a skill. There’s room for everyone, as the beginner classes will handle cake newbies. There’s also going to be competitions and prizes will be won too. It promises to be a very rewarding experience as vendors are coming also to sell their goods and wares too at the most affordable rates.
How do you intend to observe the necessary safety guidelines due to the COVID-19 realities?
Well, our venue is very spacious, and adequate social distance requirements will be observed. Facemasks will be used along with hand sanitizers at all times.
What does it take to be outstanding in the business?
Most importantly you need a healthy dose of self-confidence to pull. Secondly, you must have a genuine passion and interest in the business. That alone sustains you when you face challenges and upheavals in the passion keeps you focused on your goals, and assures you that the sacrifices are worth it.
Is the cake profession gender based?
No, it is for both male md females who have interest in the business. In my flyer, you will see three men, one of whom is the Renowned Kama who not only has made a name for himself but also gone ahead to establish a Cake University! So, this is a special invitation to men to not pass up the opportunity to become a Cake boss.
How do you manage to balance the home front, along with the business?
It is not an easy feat I must admit. It’s with the strength of God that I am able to. Then I work very well with a planner. I earmark all my daily activities before leaving the house, putting in place all the necessary things at the right place.
Luckily, my kids are quite grown up now and pull their weight around the house too. My husband is also a very understanding spouse and helps out a lot too.
Yes, I hold classes, to not only train young ones, male and female alike but also mentor them on their career paths.
On registration for interested persons
Admission fee is two thousand Naira only (2000), and then tuition. We have classes for one, three, six months and even one (1) year entrepreneurial classes, which though costs more but offers a plethora of benefits to the student.
What are the challenges in relation to your students and the business in general?
“Well, some students and staff are lazy and as such you need a lot of tolerance to be able to manage people. Secondly, the problem of punctuality. Again, the problem of delivery. You must have a reliable delivery personnel and arrangements for the business to survive. Also, the problem of funding. Many modern machines that would improve the business and enhance service delivery are very expensive and this poses a challenge. If only the government can lend support, it would alleviate the problems and improve productivity.
Yes, all our sponsors will have the opportunity to display their logos and banners at the exhibition, earning them more visibility and advertisement. Also, their level of sponsorship might afford them the opportunity to train any of their wards by us. This serves as effective Empowerment in the long run.
Venue of this auspicious event?
It is Palm Center, Ogala Street, off Owa-Ekei Road, Owa.
Do you require an education to become successful in the business?
As a matter of fact, No! It’s important but not entirely compulsory. Regardless of your educational background, you can carve a niche for yourself in the industry. All it requires is your grit and passion.