Mentoring: Khensani Peters

Khensani Peters has become a celebrity baker as she has graced many magazines and TV programmes. Even though she has achieved a level of success that many still hope for, she does not take it for granted. Instead, she strives daily to keep on top of her game and to grow her business. She has learned, like all business women, that faith, hard work, dedication and talent are keys to building a lasting legacy in the business world.  In this interview we talk to her about her secret to success as the MD of Ntshovelo Cakes.

Inside Woman: Tell us how you came to know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour?

Khensani Peters: I grew up in a Christian family, so Christ was introduced to me at a very young age, but I personally received him into my heart and life when I was 13. It was at a wedding, during the Easter holidays.

Inside Woman:  And how has He changed your life?

Khensani Peters:  My life has since been centered around him.
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Inside Woman: Tell us about your background- your education, experience, and how your got started as a baker.

Khensani Peters:  I studied Information Technology when I finished my matric. I worked as a computer programmer for 6 years before I started baking full time.

Inside Woman:  How did you fund your business?

Khensani Peters:  To date I have funded my business. I bought everything I needed bit by bit and I’m still doing that. However I will soon need bigger funding as I really want to expand the business.

Inside Woman: What makes Ntshovelo Cakes different?

Khensani Peters:  We are still working on our secret sauce; that one thing that will differentiate us from all cake companies. In the mean time, our cake flavours, cake designs and exceptional customer service sets us apart from most cake companies.

Inside Woman: What is your favourite part about running Ntshovelo Cakes?

Khensani Peters:  I love the fulfillment that comes from the work that I do. It comes naturally to me. Its challenging at times, but I love every bit of it.

Inside Woman: What have you learned during your first year as a small business owner? 

Khensani Peters:  I learned very early that there’s a difference between turnover and profit.

Cake

Inside Woman: What has been your greatest challenge?

Khensani Peters:  My greatest challenge has been wearing many hats in the business. I’m the owner, driver, secretary, decorator, etc. I used to be a baker also, but someone very efficient has now filled that role, and that helps a lot.

Inside Woman: What are some of your specialties and/or favourite creations?

Khensani Peters:  I love decorating different types of celebration cakes.

Inside Woman: Where do you find your inspiration? 

Khensani Peters:  For decoration, I find inspiration from different things such as clothes, shoes, bags, nature, art etc. For life in general, I find inspiration from books, movies, and people who have achieved in their area of specialty.
Inside Woman: What’s been the biggest surprise in all of this for you? 

Khensani Peters:  The doors that God has opened for me. I see Him using my gift not only to make cakes but to use my skills as a platform to achieve even greater things.

Inside Woman: How does your faith help you to handle the pressures of life?

Khensani Peters:  It helps me a lot. I can’t live without my faith. It has answers to everything that I go through.

Inside Woman: Can you describe your worst cake disaster?

Khensani Peters:  We've had a number of cake disasters. The latest one was actually with the first cake order for 2014. Just as I finished decorating the cake, I put the cake on the edge of a small table. It was a bit heavy so the edge of the table couldn't contain the weight and the cake fell and was completely damaged.

Inside Woman: Have you gotten any bizarre cake requests?

Khensani Peters:  Not yet.

Inside Woman: How do you help difficult or undecided customers?

Khensani Peters:  I come up with suggestions based on their vision and ideas for the cake or event, but ultimately it’s the client’s decision unless they give me the go ahead to be creative with the cake.

Inside Woman:  Do you have a mentor and role what have they played in your career life?

Khensani Peters:  Yes, I have different people I consult for different types of mentoring.

Inside Woman: Where do aspiring business women find mentors to help them along the way?

Khensani Peters:  There’s a number of business women’s organisation which women can join to help them in their entrepreneurial journey.

Inside Woman: What is the one thing that you wish you knew before you started?

Khensani Peters:  It takes time, patience and a lot of hard work to build an empire. One actually works harder when working for themselves than when working for someone else and the rewards may take a very long time to be seen.

Khensani Peters

Inside Woman: Any cake decorating words of wisdom for our novice baking readers?

Khensani Peters:  You never stop learning in cake decoration. It’s a lot of work that demands a lot of patience and energy, but if you love what you do the rewards are amazing.

Inside Woman: What special skills to you need to be a successful cake maker? 

Khensani Peters:  The love for baking and cake decorating.

Inside Woman: What are three things people who are going into this industry should know?

Khensani Peters: 

  1.  If they will be doing it full time and don’t have any other funding.  I suggest that they save and prepare nicely for the journey.

  2. Cake disasters will sometimes happen, relax, It happens as long as they don’t happen all the time.

  3. Take care of your body. It’s a demanding job physically; you’ll need all your energy. 

Inside Woman: What are your future ambitions? 

Khensani Peters:  To grow bigger and have a business operating premises.

Inside woman: What’s been the highlight of your career? 

Khensani Peters:  Being chosen in 2013 as 1 of 25 young entrepreneurs to go abroad to job shadow a company which is of the same industry as ours. I was based in Germany with the cake company. 

Inside Woman: Where can we get hold of you?

Khensani Peters: My contacts are -

Cell: 082 551 4094

Email: khensi@ntshovelocakes.co.za

Website: www.ntshovelocakes.co.za
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