Babirye Julie is a baker and entrepreneur who decided to fully pursue her passion in the kitchen all the way to greater horizons.
Here she tells us how it all started
Company: KLASSY EVENTS / KLASSY CAKES
- How did you venture into Professional Baking?
The professional business came much later around 2016, I was working & I realised that I wasn’t getting much. It was around this period when I met this lady who used to bake from home. Customers were coming in and the place was so busy, naturally I got interested. I decided to befriend her to try and learn how she flourished in such a business. So I decided to go back to my hobby while working, I took a cake to work one day and my workmates loved it! Unfortunately, the Company got some problems and we were laid off . Little did I know it would be a blessing in disguise, I fully immersed myself into baking and haven’t looked back ever since.
- So it started as a hobby?
Yes. I love cooking. It all started in my senior six vacation when we [me and my sisters] still used to watch this cooking show on TV. On this particular day, the host decided to bake a cake…that’s something we all found quite unique at home. So we wrote down the ingredients and tried it out. Obviously, it didn’t come out as well as we had envisioned. We kept on trying nevertheless, baking for small functions at home and family members during Christmas holidays and the like. The feedback was positive kept on getting better, that gave me the morale to continue.
- What exactly do you bake?
Cakes mostly. I do birthday cakes, baby shower cakes, baptism cakes and at times wedding cakes. I actually had one wedding cake order from a client recently but I doubt it’ll come through considering the current lock-down.
- Wow, it must be hectic handling such big cakes. Do you have a bakery in town or do you bake from home?
Yes, I do bake from home. I have a company called KlassyCakes
which is a subsidiary of Klassyevents. I have a few customers who give me their order, I write it down and then the magic begins. All my products are home-made so I usually get my trusty Boda guys to deliver the products to various locations.
- Do you have a favourite design you use while decorating? A Julie signature?
Well…I don’t usually do a lot of fondant cakes. My whole signature comes from butter icing. I love making buttercream frosted cakes.
- Have you had any challenges to far you’d like to share?
Most of the challenges I have faced have been improvised like melting icing. I found a way to deal with it, if it’s too hot the butter icing will not be the same as when it’s not because the look definitely changes.
The only recurring problem is condescending clients. On delivery they change their minds. I had one instance of this some time back. There is this client who refused to pay the full amount on delivery because she valued it less than what she saw in a Shop-rite Shelf. After a fruitless confrontation, I allowed her to pay what she thought was fair. Luckily, such customers are rare. The festive seasons also prove to be trying times because of the multitude of orders and defaulters.
- It must be a competitive industry out there & that makes it close to impossible to make it alone! Are there any other bakers out there whom you learn some the ropes from?
I can remember for a fact that sometime back, I hated anything to do with icing and art. I was typically accustomed to getting the cake out of the oven and letting someone else do the rest. That all changed when I met this lady who delivered a luscious cake to a relative [before they all knew I could bake] I confronted her about my icing dilemma, she was a great inspiration & that is how I got to know of the Baker’s Institute in Kisaasi, I think owned by Chef Derrick, where we got a chance to interact with each other and improve our skills. So currently we are in a Whats-app group where we share different ideas. It has really helped pull me out of my comfort zone. I didn’t know a lot of bakers save from the ones near me and I used to get most of my decoration ideas from pinterest, but I feel this has opened me up.
- The baking Industry seems to be garnering a lot of clout! Do you have any advice for novice bakers with ambitions of starting up?
There are so many people out there who are beginning and don’t know where to start from. Just like that lady inspired me is the same way I would love to reach out to the others out there. First of all, be really SURE! Some may just join the franchise because everyone else is. Don’t jump in for the money! Actually baking is all I do right now. I’ve got so many people now because there’s more freedom. It was hectic before, coming back from work and having to satisfy all the orders & at the end of the day, you don’t put your all. I embraced my passion and it has worked for me.
Secondly, keep practicing everyday. There’s lots you could learn from those you-tube channels and pinterest
- Is KlassyCakes branded? How could I get in touch?
Yes. Klassycakes is a registered company. You could view some of the cakes and get in touch with us through our Facebook and Instagram pages under the parent name KlassyEvents. We are eager and ready for a challenge.
- Are there any local bakers you admire or probably look up to?
Chef Derrick of the Baker’s Institute, where I studied and bettered my decoration game, I really love his cakes.
Asha Batenga is also a warm inspiration. I follow her because she also likes to reach out to many bakers. I hope I get a chance to taste one of her cakes plus her designs are really good. Then there’s food library, their cakes are good too!
- Thank you Julie. I look forward to tasting that butter icing cake!
Thank you for the Interview. I love it when people come up with such ideas going out there to help small scale businesses. I am grateful to Uganda Trimmings Ltd for his initiative.