‘People can make it big by working hard in this country’

Published: February 21, 2011
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Aamina Jahangir of Cakery with some of her innovative creations that should appeal to the geeks among us who have a sweet tooth. The young entrepreneur hopes to expand her business and open up an outlet but for now, it’s home-based and home-made. PHOTO: FILE

Aamina Jahangir of Cakery with some of her innovative creations that should appeal to the geeks among us who have a sweet tooth. The young entrepreneur hopes to expand her business and open up an outlet but for now, it’s home-based and home-made. PHOTO: FILE

Aamina Jahangir of Cakery with some of her innovative creations that should appeal to the geeks among us who have a sweet tooth. The young entrepreneur hopes to expand her business and open up an outlet but for now, it’s home-based and home-made. PHOTO: FILE
Aamina Jahangir of Cakery with some of her innovative creations that should appeal to the geeks among us who have a sweet tooth. The young entrepreneur hopes to expand her business and open up an outlet but for now, it’s home-based and home-made. PHOTO: FILE

With only her A-levels security-deposit money in her kitty as initial capital, Aamina Jahangir, now 20, started off her small home-based business of designer cupcakes and cakes three years ago.

Aamina, who was on her way to initially becoming a doctor, baked her first cake when she was a mere four years old. By the time she was 10, she was making her own recipes. “My aim was always to make good-tasting food since my family is full of good cooks,” she said.

The Cakery, chosen so since she specialises in cakes and cupcakes, is in the pipeline of being registered as a commercial business now.

It isn’t surprising since her father owns three restaurants in Karachi. Today, he is very proud to have one of his children follow in his footsteps. “When I had started off, my parents were sceptical on whether this was going to work, but when they saw me build my clientele, they realised that this could really go somewhere,” she shared.

“Baking has always been a passion and I just decided to try it while I was still doing my O levels in November 2007,” she reminisced. It was after January 2008, when her idea got word-of-mouth fame that it took off.

She got a further boost in her business, when Proctor & Gamble contacted her for one of their charity shows. “Somehow they heard of me and approached me with their project, after which, I have them as my regular clients to-date” she said.

The young entrepreneur, who has a diploma in law, witnessed such success in her business that she decided to take time- off from studies. “I want to focus on this as it is my future,” she expressed. Aamina does not want to leave Karachi, even for her further studies, as she believes that with the right idea and right focus, people can make it big by working hard in this country.

This creative chef sees a lot of potential in this business and says that there is a lot of room for improvement and growth. “My business grows with me as I grow and I have so much more planned as I get more ideas,” she articulated.

Elaborating further, she said the potential of designer cupcakes and cakes as a business can be witnessed from the numbers of competing firms that have come up with the same idea. “I let competition go. I love baking and initially I wasn’t aiming to make it a business because I just love what I am doing,” she said.

“Plus it’s flattering when people copy me. I am 20 and my competitors are people who are much older than me so I take it as a compliment. Furthermore, there are certain things that competitors can’t copy, especially quality,” she added.

Aamina said that Karachi, in particular, has huge potential for businesses that young people can start off. “Some of my friends started along with me when they were also my age. One friend owns a salon, another owns a designer-candle making business, while my sister has her own advertising firm,” she listed.

Speaking more of her business, Aamina said that inflation and shortage of basic ingredients like flour and sugar had not hampered her business in a significant way. However, she had increased her products’ prices to adjust to inflation.

When questioned on the most memorable order she has had, Aamina shared her on-going experience with a German couple, who had ordered for 600 cupcakes to be prepared in 200 boxes for their son’s birthday.

“I made it for them and then they asked me to distribute the boxes amongst the orphans and flood-affected victims of Pakistan. All they wanted in return were the photographs,” she said. “They have asked me to do a similar project for them again as their daughter’s birthday is coming soon,” she continued. Aamina said that this gesture of the German family had touched her deeply and she hopes to see well-to-do Pakistani families do the same. “It’s charity but in a different style and the smile on the children’s faces are worth the hard work,” she added.

This entrepreneur considers her age and her studies to have been the biggest obstacles in her career. However, opening an outlet and establishing herself further is her future aim now. “I also need to train people … if you want to open an outlet, then you need to have hired hands and their training is very important,” she said.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2011.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Aisha Haroon
    Feb 21, 2011 - 11:17AM

    Good work gurlie…. but you should complete your studies first then opt for opening your own business.Recommend

  • Umar
    Feb 21, 2011 - 5:29PM

    Keep it up !!Recommend

  • Hamza
    Feb 21, 2011 - 8:10PM

    Your father owns three restaurants? which ones?Recommend

  • Feb 21, 2011 - 8:11PM

    well done! more power to you!Recommend

  • Nabeel
    Feb 21, 2011 - 8:45PM

    @Aisha: You should give that advice to Lord Alan Sugar or Sir Richard Branson. I’m sure they’d appreciate your wisdom.Recommend

  • Nefer
    Feb 21, 2011 - 8:56PM

    Amazing stuff!Recommend

  • AsifB
    Feb 21, 2011 - 8:57PM

    The only person I know who has a heart in the shape of a chocolate cup cake :-)Recommend

  • Ruby Bokhari
    Feb 22, 2011 - 12:58AM

    Thanks to Aamina we have had the opportunity to live the amazing experience of making 200 children happy and putting a smile on their face. I do not know how long they will remember us, but their smiles will accompany our family, especially our children, for the rest of our lives. Having lived this experience with her help has touched our souls and changed our lives. Thank you very much Aamina. You understood our request, and carried it out to beyond our expectations and the result has been perfect. You have given us all the opportunity to feel closer to Pakistan. Living this experience has been so much fun! We are looking forward to the next one, and your efficiency deserves full RESPECT.
    We are also very proud of the grafic design your sister Sarah J.K. presented for the new logo of our company in Germany. Once again, little explanation was needed to achieve its 100% efficient result.
    Mr. & Mrs. Jahangir, you must be very proud of your daughters!
    Mashallah!
    Hago,Ruby,Max&Lucia. Germany.Recommend

  • SA
    Feb 22, 2011 - 10:33AM

    I love your designs specially Mr. and Mrs. Cuddles were adorable….Recommend

  • Maqsood
    Feb 22, 2011 - 12:43PM

    Great work! Keep up the same level of commitment and energy. You are truly a role model for the aspiring young entrepreneurs in the country. Good luck.Recommend

  • Sarah J.K
    Feb 22, 2011 - 2:54PM

    My sister a superstarrrr! who knew?
    :P

    thank you Ruby – you guys have been the best clients for me and Aamina
    we’re all a big fan of your family ;) you guys are angels for the orphans

    much loveRecommend

  • Sarah J.K
    Feb 22, 2011 - 2:59PM

    also, small correction ET

    Father HAD 3 restaurants, in partnership. :)Recommend

  • Feb 22, 2011 - 3:34PM

    We are sooo proud of you Aamina. You followed your dreams and continue to live your life to the fullest. Love Aunty Karen and RamizRecommend

  • Fahd Masood
    Feb 22, 2011 - 3:37PM

    AJK, you talked about quality standards being an advantage for you but I believe the creativity that you exhibit also holds you in good stead. Good Luck !Recommend

  • Nadeem Ahmad
    Feb 23, 2011 - 12:21AM

    Awesomeee ….. im proud of you Miss Aamina :)Recommend

  • Feb 23, 2011 - 12:32PM

    Thank you so much everyone! Your support means the world to me!! Much love to you all!

    @Ruby Bokhari: God bless you Ruby! That is really touching! And I am looking very forward to our 3rd project together on the 26th Inshallah :)!

    It was an absolute delight to read such wonderful comments! God bless you all!Recommend

  • Zahra H
    Feb 23, 2011 - 7:36PM

    So so proud of you Aamina!Recommend

  • Hira Khan Lodhi
    Feb 24, 2011 - 8:29PM

    Hey Amina, was just going through with the entire thing of yours.. I must tell you youre doing an amazing job! nd keep it up! we all are really really proud of you!Recommend

  • Feb 25, 2011 - 9:16PM

    @Zahra H: Thank you so much Zahra :)!

    @Hira Khan Lodhi: Thank you so much Hira, that really means a lot to me!Recommend

  • faryal
    Mar 2, 2011 - 7:58PM

    ummm… how about some nice, kind comments for the writer???? and ET, of course…. who made this possible!!!!Recommend

  • Cristina Bustamante Just
    Mar 5, 2011 - 9:11PM

    I am so proud of family´s Scheibling-Bokhari “sweet initiative”.!!!! We all know, it is not easy to solve individually so many important problems different countries have in the world we are living, but a “little” grain can be as big as a mountain if the result is a child´s smile.
    I am Cristina, Ruby´s aunt.
    Thank you all of you, Hago, Ruby, Max, Lucia and Aamina, for sucess of your “sweet” project. Recommend

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