We are pleased to introduce Okere Omonefe, our business personality of the week, and the CEO of the House of Doughnuts Confectioneries. She hails from Delta state and is a proud Urhobo native and a graduate of Mass communication and film studies from Western Delta University.
Background: From my university days, I always had this thing for owning my own business, I never saw myself working in the corporate world of 9-5 because I always desired to be an entrepreneur putting smiles on the faces of people and impacting lives through my skills!
Knowing what I wanted to be helped and was a road map to where I was headed. The next step was knowing what I was interested in doing.
House of doughnuts confectioneries is a handcrafted ‘artisanal’ company, creating sweet sensational gourmet
doughnut and signature cakes. Our pastries (doughnuts) and signature cakes are made daily from scratch using fresh ingredients with unique flavours sourced both locally and internationally.
Our mission is to give our customers the sweet sensational taste through our great donuts and baked products. Our Vision is to be the desired place for great Donuts and baked products.
What was your inspiration?
During my school days, I spent most of my breaks with my aunt who is a baker. She would bring out flour, butter, eggs and milk to bake, and each time I tried her pastries, it was like heaven on earth. Most of all, when her customers call, l see the excitement on their faces and its always magical.
This motivated me to work with one of the top bakers in Lagos – ‘Cookiejar’ where i garnered enormous baking experience. My baking skills finally came together when I realized I could start something for myself in the baking field for which my passion knows no bounds.
I started making donuts and cakes for friends and family for their house parties and the feedback they gave served as further motivation for me. Hence the birth of House of Doughnuts. I chose doughnuts because I wanted something different from the regular cakes.
What would you say is your target market?
At the House of doughnuts, there is no limitation to our creativity and hard work is our watchword, we are open to all in and outside Lagos.
How long has the business been in existence?
We started House of doughnuts about Nine months ago and so far it has been great customer satisfaction.
What major challenges have you faced since inception?
Running a catering business may sound like a fun way to showcase your culinary skills, but the job comes with quite a few headaches. My challenges were pulling capital together to acquire equipment, creating awareness and customer turn up.
What challenges do you still face even now?
For now we still find it hard with funding which we really need for the purpose of expansion so we can reach out to more customers.
What single factor is most responsible for the growth of your business so far?
First our ability to deliver quality service to our customers has been enhancing business at the House of doughnuts; referrals from our happy customers keeps expanding our base and we support the business with great marketing strategy.
Did you seek bank funding? If not, Why not?
Yes House of doughnuts tried bank funding with a couple of banks but was turned down due to our inability to meet up with the various unfavorable bank policies and the collateral was not really there to support us for the bank funding. We hope to be able to get some help from the Bank of Industry as we are a small scale business.
What form of ICT do you use in your business?
Like it is for most starters, we took up the social media for the purpose of our publicity, we have to let people know what we do and what our services entails. So we are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, BBM. Another form of IT that we use at House of doughnuts is the Peachtree accounting for the purpose of our book keeping and accounts. We also take cognizance of the importance of seminars and workshops.
At what point were you able to separate your personal finances from the business?
For a small scale business, it is not that easy to separate personal finances from the business but on that we are trying our best. And because we know that we have to be accountable at the end of the year, we put whatever we gain back into the business.
What were your early mistakes and what would you have done differently?
Some of our mistakes were sales on credit, too much emotion for customers. I have learnt that there is no emotion in business, when friends and family pay for their services, the business grows. Also not having a business plan. You need a business plan to guide you. Without a business plan you spend too much time dithering about the details of your idea, and you just may tweak and change plans too many times and ruin your business focus before you even start.
How long can your business survive without you being there physically (key-man risk)?
Because of the orientation given to my assistants, they will be able to run the business effectively when I’m away.
With your experience so far, what advice do you have for young people who would like to start-up in business?
There are always ups and downs in business, so stay focused and dedicated. Perseverance is the keyword. Also, a business plan plays a vital role in determining future success. A business plan, after all, serves to guide the startup in the right direction.
As a start- up business person you have to minimize your start-up costs and there are many people out there who are willing to exchange skills or help for free if you help them in return. Like I will always say the world is full of possibilities and countless opportunities let nothing limit you.
The world is waiting to see what you can offer. This is your time to find something you like to do and just do it. That is how great entrepreneurs always start . It’s not going to be easy but it will be worth doing. Go for adequate knowledge about the business you’re venturing into.
Try out your products first with friends and family around you to get feedback before going out there.
Remember, for a start-up business, it is important not to go beyond boundaries both in investing and expenditure. It is not only about the money but impacting lives.
Final thoughts: “Keep your eyes in the stars and your feet on the ground” – Theodore Roosevelt.
Follow us on Instagram @houseofdoughnuts
Facebook house of doughnuts
For inquiries: 08090695159
What’s app: 07062974080
Twitter handle: @houseofdoughnuts