A Moment with Kathy Mwanza: The Cake Fairy Shares Her Magic Ingredients To Winning in Business

We know it’s no easy feat knowing when to pursue a good business idea and stay the course whilst navigating the bumpy terrains of entrepreneurship. So we get sooo excited when we see our SHE Heroes succeeding. One #Sheroe we are thrilled to have caught up with? Kathy Mwanza; founder of Cake Fairy and Cake Designs. Having gone from a determined 31 year old single mom to one of Bulawayo’s most successful self-made business women, the story Kathy shares with us is truly inspiring. With no background in entrepreneurship, from a starting point of just desiring to be self-sufficient, and working out of her home kitchen – Cathy went on to open her very first cake shop which is now greatly sought after.
Her quick rise to fame is even more impressive when you consider that she never intended to start her own cake business to begin with. Keep scrolling to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey plus her winning formula. Be inspired!

Can you briefly tell us about your journey to where you are? How did you come up with the Cake Fairy? When and why did you start?

Cake Fairy was birthed in 2016 when I decided to take my baking hobby seriously. I was just bored of doing the same things over and over again so I decided to go for a cake decorating course. On completion, I started baking for friends and family who were so satisfied that they started referring people. In no time, my phone started blowing up with messages from prospective clients generated simply through word of mouth recommendations.

How would you scale the advantages and disadvantages of being an entrepreneur?

The advantages obviously are that you get to be your own boss. You also get to determine your working hours and enjoy financial freedom particularly if your business is doing well. It’s also rewarding to see yourself grow, building yourself from the ground. For disadvantages I would say delegating is always a challenge when you offer a handmade highly customised product. It’s difficult to trust people for fear that they will steal your ideas. But I think in this whole journey I’ve learnt that the grace that God has put upon you is yours alone. No one can take it away and it is sufficient. So basically for me this is what keeps me going.

Do you have any entrepreneurs you admire? What it is that makes them so special to you?

Yes. I do have quite a number of entrepreneurs that I admire and follow. Tinashe Mutarisi, owner of Nash Paints is one. His story and his journey is truly inspiring and makes us all want to get to that level of accomplishment. Another one is the founder of Senditoo whose business is doing so well. To me he is an entrepreneur, someone who had a good idea that offers a solution and has managed to successfully monetise his idea and grow his business. There are so many entrepreneurs I look up to who have started their businesses from scratch.

If you were to be a cake for a day which flavour and decorative/exterior style would you be?

I would be a beautiful white and silver wedding cake which has layers of fruit and a chocolate sponge cake with a very rich chocolate ganache as a filling.

What is the most challenging request you’ve ever got on a cake design that caused you to step outside your comfort zone? Any key takeaways from this experience?

When my daughter requested for a standing Peppa Pig cake for her 4th birthday. It was such a challenge for me to make that cake but you know what? Because I was making it for my daughter I made it with love. I made it with all the zeal and it was good to experiment and learn. Ultimately, it was such a WOW cake that my daughter was so overjoyed when she saw it. Even when I took it to her school all her friends and teachers were just like “come and see the cake”. Everyone was honestly expecting to see a wow cake from the Cake Fairy’s daughter.
My biggest take away from this was that as long as you set your mind on doing something you will achieve it. As long as you do your research and as long as you have the will and a sprinkle of self-belief you will achieve it.

What entrepreneurial tricks have you discovered to keep you focused and productive in your day-to-day busy schedule?

For my day-to-day the secret is consistency. Keeping the promises that you make to yourself. So if you’ve told yourself that today ‘I’m exercising, I’m having a meeting with so and so and I am doing this and that’ and you have a ‘to do list’- stick to it. Tell yourself that no matter what happens, when the sun goes down I should have completed all my tasks. That consistency in ticking those small daily tasks leads to outstanding results. And slowly but surely you’ll get towards your goal.

How do you think being an entrepreneur has turned you into a better person?

It has taught me above all to have a giving heart. To know that there are people (and their families) relying on me for the jobs that they have and that they are being taken care of by the business has really humbled me. It has taught me that I’m responsible for quite a number of people apart from my family. There are other families that look up to me indirectly. As such, I have tried where I can to give as much and to appreciate as much the people who help me in the business.

Finally, what advice do you have for women entrepreneurs or women who may be in the position that you were in 5 years ago and wanting to start a business?

What I’d say to the women out there is that when you have a dream and a vision you just have to focus on it and give it everything you’ve got. Personally, I had to save for almost a year and a half before I opened my first shop. In all that I worked extra hard. I would not sleep processing orders, growing the business, growing the name and making sure that I had enough clients to sustain the business. So it’s always very important to put in all your effort because it’s never easy when you’re starting a business. It really is not. Most people expect to start a business just like that but the truth is you have to build. You start small and put in the extra hours.

Another thing I’ve learnt which is helpful for any woman who wants to start a business is that for your business to grow you have to keep investing in it. So you forget about “eating” profits for some time and focus on putting back all the money into the business. When you get money you put it back into the business; when you’re making profits you’re putting them back into the business because you’re trying to grow. That’s what we just have to learn, that for a business to grow you have to keep ploughing back into it until you reach the level that you want or until you reach your goal.

Lastly, financial discipline is very important to ensure your success. Keeping proper accounting records. Just basic accounting, nothing complex. Keep a counter book where you record your expenses and income and track how much profit you’re making. That way you can make informed financial decisions that will boost your profits.

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