Ninda Kang’ethe is a mother of five. She has a full-time job as an Executive Director in an NGO but still finds time to bake tens of cakes and other pastries each week. Quite a handful her life is! Ninda bakes her cakes under the brand ’2 Sisters 2 Continents Cupcakes’.
I had an interview with Ninda about her life as a businesswoman, her family life, her motherhood experiences –which includes a miscarriage and the loss of a child a few days after birth. Read on, as Ninda explains in her own words.
My love for the kitchen started with my mother. When I was growing up, she was always baking and cooking for our family and friends. My mom scoured over every magazine and cookbook she could lay her hands on. I learned a lot from watching her experiment in the kitchen.
From as early as on as I can remember, I measured flour, mixed cake batter, chopped vegetables –you name it, I did it all with my mom.
Memories of my Very First Cake
I was about 9 years old when I baked my first cake. I followed a classic traditional yellow cake recipe from my mom’s “Joy of Cooking” cook book. Everyone enjoyed it and this made me feel very happy and accomplished. My dream was to study culinary arts but my parents encouraged me to pursue Law or Business. I eventually earned my B.A in Political Science and later on my M.B.A in Management from the US.
I was baking mostly as a hobby for family and friends, many of whom kept telling me to start a business. So I took all of the knowledge I had received from my mom and together with some pastry arts courses I had undertaken in the US, I started a small custom cake business from my home in 2010 which I called “Sweet Endings”.
However, in 2012 I took a break as I was pregnant and juggling my job and baking became overwhelming. However, last year my sister, who is based in the US encouraged me to re-launch and re-brand and change focus to cupcakes. I still offer custom cakes and cheesecakes but have since introduced cookies, bars, cake pops and pies.
The name of the business “2 Sisters 2 Continents Cupcakes” came about from my sister and I being close and our own biggest supporters but at the same time we are now living on two different continents as she still lives in North America. She is also a baker and a foodie and supports the business with recipes, sourcing ingredients and equipment from the US.
The Challenges I Face in my Business
I still hold a full time job as an Executive Director of an NGO and my other life job is being a mom. It was difficult at first with my job, but I am now flexible with my time and also ensuring I have enough sundries for that emergency order that comes knocking. The most challenging part is not having enough time to do everything I want.
Pricing is also a challenge, because everything is made from scratch using fresh ingredients. I don’t use anything artificial. I use fresh butter, organic eggs, vanilla bean and fresh cream. There are very few things I can find at wholesale prices. Additionally, fresh and organic products are costly to purchase. Some ingredients are not available in the local market while some are very costly so my sister sources them from the US and has them shipped to me here.
My Greatest Satisfaction
I find it rewarding to develop my own blueprint of how I want to effectively run a business, developing new flavours and designs, and of course the joy my clients get from my end-products nothing can quantify that!
I sell my cakes mostly through word of mouth and Facebook. The most popular flavours are Caramel Mocha Latte, White Chocolate Raspberry, Red Velvet, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Death by Chocolate, Carrot-Pineapple and Coconut Lemon just to name a few. The Fudge Brownies and Lemon Bars are also popular. The newest flavour is Snickers Bar.
I am a mom of five –one boy and four girls. My son Azizi will be turning 15 this month in August. He is mature for his age, smart and focused.
My eldest daughter Zainabu is 11 she is my right hand, responsible and caring.
She is followed by Nakwavi, 9 years and who is the “girly girl” of the family. She loves clothes, make up and shoes! She is sweet and quiet.
Then there is 5 year-old Nyambura who is very outgoing and free spirited.
My last born is Nekesa who is 2 years old. She is the love of the family, an active, happy and loving little girl.
I love being a mom, with the best part being the unconditional love I get from my kids. It sometimes makes me breathless. Seeing the magnificent caring people they are growing into, and knowing that my love and compassion had to do with that fills me with awe. I can’t wait to see the man and women I will have raised in the future and I know they will be amazing.
The lowest moment in my motherhood journey was a miscarriage and the loss of Nekesa’s twin shortly after birth in September 2012.
I must say that I completely love spending time with my kids. We love to go to the movies, swimming and playing outdoors. My children are my greatest blessing and gift to me, and I absolutely cherish them.”
Wow! So that’s Ninda’s story. Ninda can be reached on 0736 137 911. Here’s more photos of her work.
Beautiful work by Ninda. Keep it up!