In Conversation with: Ratidzo Tarusenga
Meet the passionate, talented, fun loving baker, Ratidzo Tarusenga. She is the founder of UniCakes Zim.
Where did your passion for baking come from?
I think my passion for baking came from watching my mother baking as a kid. I have a sneaky suspicion that it also runs in my blood because my whole family is pretty handsy in the kitchen.
What characteristics would you say one needs to be a successful entrepreneur?
I think one of the most important things is to believe in yourself. Times can get hard and you wonder a lot if you are doing the right thing, but if you believe in yourself and your product then it keeps you going. The other thing I think is important is to make a decision and sick to it. Make it work. Don’t give yourself an out.
How did you come up with the name UniCakes and what does it mean?
The name UniCakes came about a very long time ago. I decided I wanted to make cake and of course they had to be unique cakes, so along came UniCakes!
What is your proudest achievement in life?
My proudest achievement has to be starting UniCakes. It takes a lot to go against the grain and go with what you believe so I am very proud of that.
Who are the rocks in your life?
I have to say my biggest rocks are my family, especially my mother’s. They have supported me from the very beginning and believe in me even when I don't believe in myself. My other rock is my sister, she is now at university but we started UniCakes together and she is a constant source of inspiration and strength.
What is the one thing you can’t live without?
My kitchen aid mixer... It takes such a load off and enables me to multitask! I can safely say, that's the best present I’ve ever received.
Which three people would you say inspire you in your career and in life?
One of my biggest inspirations is my dad. He works so hard and pushes for what is right even if it makes him unpopular. From him I learnt that when you are doing the right thing it will pay off, keep at it.
My second inspiration is my mom. The most important lesson she taught me is that life is about choices. In 2015, life handed me lemons so I chose to make UniCakes.
My third inspiration or inspirations are all the Zimbabweans that are doing it big out there; they show me that it’s possible to achieve my dreams.
How do you set yourself apart from other bakers, what would you say makes you unique?
I would say one thing that sets me apart is my passion. Making cakes for me is not just about making money, it’s about creating happiness and I put my heart into each and every cake I do. I think the other thing that sets me apart is that I am curious and always trying out new things so I always have something new to offer my clients.
Of all the cakes you have baked to date, which one is your favourite?
I think of all the cakes I've baked my most favourite has to be Solitaire. I made it for my little sister and I think it's been the most challenging I’ve taken on. It truly was a labour of love. Her reaction (Check my pages for the video) is the epitome of why I love making cakes, they have the power to evoke such strong emotions in people and bring pure joy.
What keeps you motivated during the low moments in your life?
I remind myself that this is what I wanted... this is what I chose. Also if I don't make this work then I have to get a 9-5 and I really can't can having a boss! That normally gets me moving pretty quick!
What are you most fond of about being Zimbabwean?
Adaptability and resilience. So much is thrown at us and at such short notice but we are able to quickly adapt and make a plan as it were in order to survive. I have found that this has served me well in all my travels and in my life generally so far. I'm not afraid of unexpected situations, I won’t freak out, I just look at what needs to be done and do it. Giving up is not an option!
What is a typical day in your life, like?
No day is ever the same but a typical day involves planning and researching cakes. Some baking. A lot of pinterest. Then spending a lot of time decorating! I also double up as manager for our B&B so I take breaks in between to check on guests and the rooms.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learnt in your life so far, that you wished you knew sooner?
Not to wait until you think you are ready. Jump in, do it now! You’ll learn on the job... i passed up so many opportunities because I thought I wasn’t ready enough or big enough or that I didn’t have enough money. Now I know when an opportunity presents itself, grab it with both hands, if it works out, great! If it doesn’t, learn what you need to and move on... also don't hang onto things that happened in the past, that will only hold you back.
If you weren’t a baker what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t a Baker I would either be working as an environmental something something or a communications something something lol. I would definitely still be baking on the side though!
How can people get in touch with you?
People can catch me on:
Instagram and Facebook @unicakeszim
You can call me or WhatsApp me on: 0776127838
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs trying to make their mark?
Use what you have and start with what you have. Don't wait for a big investor or a big break to get started. When you have made the decision that this is what you are going to do, stick to it. Make it work. Don't give yourself other options.