Phyllis Waruguru: The 36- Year Old Entrepreneur Thriving in Kenya’s Baking Industry

By Virginia Mwangi / October 23, 2018




Meet Phyllis Waruguru, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Phimar Bakers, and a burning entrepreneur whose story is sure to have you inspired.

Phyllis has defied circumstances that would have many sulking in their beds seeking pity; she is the epitome of the strength of a woman. As I prepare for this interview, am reminded of my mathematics high school teacher who on numerous occasions told us that ‘tough times don’t last, tough people do’.

At a time when SME’s are crying foul, surviving in the business industry is going to take some form of toughness and thinking out of the box. Phyllis’ story is one of hard work, commitment, resilience, and ambition.

As we sit down for our interview, it is easy to tell that this will be one great story.

Who is Phyllis Waruguru?

Phyllis is a 36-year-old mother of three, two boys and one girl. Her firstborn is a 15-year-old boy, Dan, who has Cerebral Palsy. He is currently a KCPE candidate who is doing great in his studies and the Soko Directory wishes him success in his exams.

“I am ambitious, outgoing, entrepreneurial, in short, I think business, opportunities and of course, profits. I have to make ‘something’ before going to bed every day,” Phyllis divulges as she chuckles.

“My passion is baking and meeting a customer’s expectation keeps me going, for example when a customer asks that I bake them a cake theme of the African basket and it comes out so nice that they not only call to give positive feedback but also refer their friends to Phimar Bakers, that keeps me going,” says Phyllis.

How has Phyllis’ Entrepreneurial Journey Been?

Phyllis was once a salesperson selling cassettes at the Kassangas before she proceeded to study baking at the Valentine Cake House and later House of Cakes in Dubai.

She is now the brains behind Phimar Bakers and a Director at the Rivermatt supermarket along Red hill road. She is currently working on opening an outlet in Karen where she can include the Italian Pizza in her menu.

What Products Does Phimar Bakers Offer?

Phimar Bakers offer some of the most sumptuous and classic cakes you will ever taste for corporates, weddings, birthdays, Christmas and for no occasion at all!

Croissants, pizzas, coffee cakes, muffins, cupcakes, cookies braided loaf are just a few of what you should expect from their bakeries for your breakfast and party needs, especially during this holiday.

Who are Phimar Bakers Clients?

Phimar bakers have a large corporate clientele that ranges from established companies to families that wish to celebrate life.

Couples who crown their weddings with a beautiful cake; graduates who celebrate their hard work, families that appreciate desert and people who simply have a sweet tooth are some of their clients.

Which is Phyllis’ Support System?

“My husband and our three children keep me motivated. My first born, who is now 15 years old, has cerebral palsy; he has refused to let that condition define him and has put up such a good fight that he challenges me,” Phyllis says looking sober.

“My customers too, I have a great team of loyal customers who appreciate the effort and creativity I put into each of their cakes,” adds Phyllis.

What are Phyllis’ Daily Challenges?

“That has to be the overwhelming demand for deliveries. Customers nowadays want their cakes delivered to their location, either workplace or home,” Phyllis says adding that given the high demand for cakes especially on weekends they have to at times outsource the delivering service.

The other challenge Phyllis says she has to struggle with as a baker is training employees who leave immediately they are polished. “Some of the employees fail to be trustworthy at times and you only learn their bad habits after you’ve spent resources training them,” Phyllis adds.

Some of the clients don’t understand that soft cream cakes are not good for themes and tiers. “I once did a soft cream cake after a client insisted; it had six tiers and almost melted off before the newly married cut it, it was stressful and cumbersome to be sincere,” Phyllis reveals.

The business requires a significant amount of finances and expertise to run and getting the capital is a hurdle for most people. Pricing is also threatened by home bakers who have minimal running bills.

How is a Good Day for Phimar Bakers and Phyllis?

“Let me say for us it is a weekly review, a good week has Phimar’s selling approximately 90 cakes while a slow week gives us a sale of around 60 cakes for various celebrations and hundreds of pastries and pizzas,” Phyllis reveals.

What is Your Advice to Upcoming Entrepreneurs?

“Identify a specific line and major into it. Respect your customers and them right and if you are in the cake industry, be original, maintain quality and creativity in cakes, avoid shortcuts,” Phyllis advises.

“To our unemployed Kenyan youth, anything can pay, what’s your hobby? Discover it and you will never go wrong,” she says.

I would also like to send a word of encouragement to mother’s with special needs children, work hard and never allow anything or anyone to pull you down. Teach your children how to save and work, let us bring up a responsible generation not ‘broilers’,” Phyllis concludes.





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