A hobby that became an Enterprise
The kitchen of a self-made baker and caterer who has turned her passion into a pay cheque for herself and others
Sometimes we do the right things at the right time but are too afraid to explore our choices. Self-made caterer and baker Segolame Habana is proud to tell the story of her journey from government employee to being her own boss. She is the brains behind Sego’s Classic Deserts and Catering Services where she says smiling, listening and delivering good service are ingrained in the business.
Having prepared a mini set-up of strawberry cheese cakes, red velvet mini cakes, vanilla cupcakes and her favourite sandwich chocolate cakes, she smiles confidently as she runs her cake cutter through the soft brown bread that promises to be a delight to taste. Perfectly layered with butter cream and well done piping, her cakes melt into one’s mouth with flavours the bursting and hitting all the taste buds. Running my fork through her cheese cake, it is impossible to miss the strawberry flavour that is infused with cheese, which happens to be my colleague Taelo Maphorisa’s favourite. His face lights up as he explains how the biscuit base ties everything about the cheese cake together, noting that it has just the right level of sweet.
Habana is truly a self-made businesswoman who has had to rely on the Internet for her baking skills. She says after 15 years in the public sector, she decided to take a leap of faith by turning her after-hours hobby into a full enterprise. “But it was not an impetuous jump because I knew I was signing up for longer hours,” the mother of three explains as she pipes butter cream into her well baked vanilla cupcakes. “I have love for real ingredients. I do not compromise on taste and my baked goods are always fresh, hence I have been able to keep loyal customers over the years.”
She puts away her baking utensils, explaining that she had started baking the chocolate cake and cupcakes early that morning.
According to Habana, dealing with food requires passion and cleanliness because handling and presentation are “very important” to her. Whereupon she presently executes good presentation and aesthetics to lay out her mini set-up on a mirror stand layered with the fruit of the gods, red grapes.
She manoeuvres through her kitchen with utmost skill preparing lunch for her a corporate client who booked it for that day. The 37-year old who looks much younger her age thinks of her business as eternal because it was a hobby before she turned it into an enterprise last year. She started by making desserts at home for small events near her homestead in Thamaga and grew when the taste spread to neighbouring villages
Although she says she did it without much thought and planning, she is absolutely sure that turning her hobby into an enterprise was one of the best decisions that she has ever made. The catering and baking business is doing well, but Habana explains that her first love was baking and that the catering aspect was an extension that was added as her customers multiplied.
Habana now employs three people, each of them a critical link because it is a chef, a sculler and a driver. Sego, as she is better known, has dreams of expanding the enterprise that began as a hobby into a restaurant with a rustic touch. She giggles and explains that she is neither a chef nor a culinary artist but is a procurement specialist by profession.
With her demanding business in which food is of the essence, Habana says she hardly has time for anything else, not even a workout that she believes she needs inspite of her perfectly trimmed body that must be the envy of models. Her face turns bright as she explains that she is not one for guilty pleasures. “I constantly worry about gaining weight because I have a history of that, hence I am very careful what I eat,” she says just before we have to bid her goodbye.