27 November 2012

Namibia: From Invigilator to Celebrated Baker

Windhoek — Maryna Gouws is one of the few people who quit their job to do what they are sincerely passionate about.

It all started with her grandmother who had a passion for cooking and this skill passed on to her mother, who is just as accomplished in the culinary arts. Years later, Maryna too discovered the her for cooking. That's when she decided to venture into baking fulltime.

Maryna discovered her love for cooking in 2009, at the time she was an examination officer at the International University of Management (IUM).

The mother of three quit her job of three years to be a fulltime baker. "I started my baking business with only N$100," she told New Era. Today, Maryna owns her own baking business named "The Glass Slipper," which is inspired by the Cinderella fantasy. She operates the business from her home in Dorado Valley.

"I bake all kinds of cakes," she said. Her products range from ordinary cakes to carrot cakes, birthday cakes and wedding cakes, just to mention a few culinary delights of the celebrated baker. Maryna says although the business started very small, today it is doing well, with about 300-400 customers.

"I do not advertise my business, I get customers by word-of-mouth," she says excitedly, adding that she scooped this year's award in the "Bakpro National Baking Competition", where she pocketed a handsome N$30 000 in prize money.

Maryna sell cakes only by order, since she does not have a business place of her own, and still operates from home. This has affected her ability to employ people, which has always been her desire.

"I have applied for a business premises at a lot of places, but I am never successful," says Maryna, adding that her wish is to open a cake boutique and employ people.

Maryna also plans to offer training once she gets her own place, "I want people to gain skills and be able to do something for themselves."

According to Maryna, property owners only lease business properties to large companies and she urges property owners to consider SMEs as well. Apart from baking, Maryna also does catering. She caters for individuals and companies.

Maryna's aim is to make people happy with her cakes, saying that beautiful cakes make people happy. "God gave everyone a talent, you just have to discover it. The government cannot help everybody," she says, adding that people who are unemployed and are not happy in their jobs should discover their God-given talents.

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