Fiji baker Krishneel Nair baked his first cake at the age of nine over a wood fire.
The Cuvu baker, who has worked in resort and hotel kitchens for more than seven years, has long dreamt of running his own business. His dream came to fruition at a trying time, when COVID-19 hit Fiji in 2020.
Nair was one of the many workers in Fiji’s tourism industry who felt the brunt of the pandemic. “Hotel workers were laid off due to border closures and some of us were placed with short working hours,” he said.
“I had to come up with an alternative plan and that was [starting] my small cake business.”
That home-based business, Pâtisserie Còrner was launched on social media, and has enabled Nair to earn a steady income, gain customers and most importantly, settle payments.
“My customers are mostly from the western part of Viti Levu, and few are in the central division,” he said. “Popular orders [are] birthday cakes however I’m more focused on the cake graze boxes and hopefully, I’ll get a higher market value for that in the near future.”
Pricing his cakes was hard at first, as the price for basic ingredients fluctuated. It took Pâtisserie Còrner some time to see profit from the cakes he sold. “The reason was probably because my expenses were quite high that time,” says Nair. “I decided to break down my budget, get a proper plan of each product and work out a budget plan for each of my cakes. After that I could see profit at the end of the week.”
Read more of Krishneel’s story at Pacific Makete