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Q&A: Perseverance Khumalo

Mjo Odwa
May21/ 2017

A twenty- four-year-old old bachelor of science honours student who is also the founder of The Slice Delights, a baking company which she started in 2016.

Perseverance Khumalo Photo:  Solomons Photography
Perseverance Khumalo
Photo: Solomons Photograhy

 

A student in  Geographical Information Systems (GIS) , Perseverance Khumalo, turned a therapeutic activity into a thriving business. She started her own baking company called The Slice Delights. Born in Johannesburg, Khumalo talks about her passion for baking and how she navigates the entrepreneurial space despite the challenges.

What is the concept behind The Slice Delights?

The Slice Delights is basically a home-based business. The name came about when I was playing with my friends throwing ideas around. A friend of mine suggested that it was always a delight to have a slice of my cakes and they enjoyed them, and the name “the slice that delights” came about. I bake everything from wedding cakes, bridal shower cakes, corporate cakes, cupcakes, muffins and even bread.

What made you want to create a company of your own?

I officially registered my company last year in April, but I had been baking since second year for functions, mostly for free. I was sure I wanted to own a baking company but I was scared. Where was I going to even begin? I was simply doing what I love, and my friends kept suggesting they loved the quality and were willing to pay for it and I decided, why not? I have always wanted to own something of my own, to be an entrepreneur and make a difference. I figured having my own company would be the best.

Why baking?

Oh! I love baking, I just love mixing up flour and sugar and creating beautiful designs. To me, baking is not only business but therapy too. I am doing what I love and making money out of it.

What challenges have you encountered in the entrepreneurial space?

Having to be a black young woman, starting your own company is not easy. Finances are not readily available; support sometimes is not as great. You meet too many disappointments along the way and you want to give up, but when one has a goal, there is always striving to excel and to realise one’s dream.

What excites you about entrepreneurship?

I suppose I have always been fascinated about being my own boss, having to own my company and above everything to be in a position to be able to help other people.

What kind of customers does The Slice Delights cater for?

I cater for customers with varied diets, vegan, gluten free and diabetic. All our products are, however, vegetarian. No animal products are used. Mostly customers in South Africa, but I have had cakes fly all the way to Zimbabwe and Zambia.

You appeared on eTV’s morning show Sunrise a few months ago to promote your company, how was that experience for you?

It was very exciting, scary at the same time. It was a proud moment to promote my company; I was humbled by the chance to do so.

As a science student, how do you balance academics with running a business?

It is exhausting I will not lie. It needs energy, planning and dedication. There is no time to waste at all. I have three employees at the moment and that has made things a bit lighter as I also need to finish my honours degree, but some days are more hectic than others.

Where do you receive financial and emotional support?

God is my strength; I find strength in studying and praying. My family and friends have also been the greatest motivation ever. They are always there when I feel I am breaking down. My mentor, Velisiwe Ndlovu from Velly Cakes Catering, has been the greatest motivation too. As for financial support, everything I have I worked for on my own, I have never received funding from anyone.

What expectations do you have for The Slice Delights?

I am looking into opening a confectionary shop by the end of the year, or early next year. I am trying to secure funding for buying equipment as it does not come cheap. I am also franchising to Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal if all goes according to plan.

What would you say to a person who wants to start their own company but doesn’t know where to start?

Just start! That is the biggest challenge, people have great ideas, but they are waiting for some big break and money, but it doesn’t happen that way, you need to start somewhere. Believe in yourself and in what you have to offer, even if 10 other people are doing it, I believe everyone has the best to offer, when they offer their ultimate best.

What lessons have you learnt from The Slice Delights?

Perseverance, as my name suggests. Dealing with people is not easy but it gets better with time. I have learnt to be strong and stand my ground. There are times when people would want to negotiate prices and I always fell for it, at the end, I would see no profit and I felt what is the use of all this?

What keeps you going? Do you have a morning routine or a spiritual practise? What keeps you on your toes?

Oh yes, I have morning and evening devotion where I pray and study my bible, I always get encouraged. I also exercise each day so that my body can function properly.  When I receive cake designs that I have never done before, it’s both exciting and scary too. Or at times, I must meet deadlines in delivering cakes and at the same time my school deadlines, it can get really hectic.

Other than baking, what is your other favourite thing to do?

I love preaching and evangelising. I am also a very adventurous person, so when I am not baking and not at church or school, I am somewhere in Mpumalanga, Zimbabwe, Zambia, just exploring.

 

 

 

 

Mjo Odwa