Several entrepreneurs have successfully explored their passion for baking and turned it into a business early in life, while some have left corporate jobs after identifying opportunities to do so.
For Toluwalope Anjorin and Isaac Obasohan, co-founders of Waffledom – a fast food confectionery brand, operating in Lagos and Ogun States, their entrepreneurial journey began when they identified a gap in the confectionery industry. confectionery while they were still students.
Tolu and Isaac have been friends since 2016, as they loved eating waffles together during their school days. They saw a gap in their university’s food market and decided to fill that gap.
This decision prompted them to start Waffledom – a fast food confectionery company that produces pancakes, milkshakes and drinks in 2019.
The business started with 400,000 naira, an amount they got from family and friends to buy two small waffle makers, a small camping gas, a freezer and a kiosk.
“Our business has grown with the help of our friends and family. At first, we asked them to post our brand on their social media accounts,” says Tolu.
“It helped us attract customers to our first outlet at Covenant University.”
“Much later we were able to get industrial machinery, proper kitchen equipment and the rest is history,” Tolu notes.
To survive the difficult time of the pandemic, the co-founders are changing their business models by moving their sales model online and having celebrities and influencers advertise their brands.
Thanks to this, the company was able to make more sales and grow. “Once we did all of this, our sales picked up in Lagos State as food sector expansion is key,” says Tolu.
“Shortly after the schools opened, we secured space at a second university to sell. We have recently started attending a few fairs and events for advertising and it has been great.
For Isaac, “Waffledom has come a long way, we have to say. Although the growth is there, compared to past years, the line of our progress has not been straight.
“We had a lot of ups and downs. We had to shut down our operations about three times in the past because we both had to go through high school and juggle school and that type of business wasn’t the easiest thing to do,” says- he.
“We chose this type of business because we loved waffles a lot and then we thought one day why not start this as a fast food business here in Nigeria and then expand globally” , explains Isaac. We thought that since the food business is eternal, it would be nice to start one.
Responding to questions about how the business is surviving the current currency scarcity and inflationary economy, Isaac says it hasn’t been easy as “most of the raw materials we used have doubled in price since our debut in 2019”.
“From time to time, we had to increase the prices of our products because of this. We are really grateful and happy that our customers understand and adapt to the price increases,” he notes.
Regarding the challenges they faced initially, Tolu says they had no experience in running a business because the business idea was conceived while they were students.
“We struggled to put everything together with little knowledge of what we were getting into,” says Tolu.
“Because we were new to the business world, we made a lot of mistakes.”
Tolu adds that managing staff was a challenge initially. “We were both introverted people back then and it didn’t take long for us to realize how outspoken we had to be for the sake of authority and networking,” she says.
“We also had to learn almost everything on the job. From accounting to personnel management, bookkeeping and recipe creation, and more. she says.
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To better understand the company and the industry in which they operate, the two co-founders attended several training programs and researched the industry.
“We learned a lot of what we now know about the internet. Google has really become our best friend,” Isaac says.
“We also worked on our public speaking skills by putting ourselves in positions where we had no choice but to speak up. We started having regular meetings with our staff, which helped a lot. »
In terms of short-term business goals, according to the two entrepreneurs, Waffledom aims to provide more affordable meals to the average Nigerian.
On long term goals, they are eagerly waiting for Waffledom to become a household name and have outlets in every state in Nigeria and across the globe.
On their advice to other entrepreneurs, Tolu and Isaac say “you saw the vision for your business, not someone else”.
“In the days of your humble beginnings, it’s important to keep working with that vision in mind, no matter what others have to say.”
“Whenever we have bad days or months, we make a habit of talking about how Waffledom will be in the next 5-10 years just to help us stay focused on our goals. It is also very important to be a smart worker as much as you are a hard worker.