Top of the week to you Konnect Africans!!! How are we putting those skills to good use today?
Rev your creative engines via this Konnect Africa Interview with one of the most creative cake-makers this side of Southern Nigeria; verily she has turned cake-making into pure Art;. Today, she shares with Konnect Africa about her life, challenges and passion for cake-making. Grab a cup of something and enjoy!!!
KA: Welcome to Konnect Africa, Dear Ify! Let’s get up, close and personal; Give us a bit of history about Ify Simpa.
Ify: My name is Ifeyinwa Maureen Simpa. I am a cake artist. I am also a wife and mother.
KA: Education; Where and what did you study?
Ify: I have a degree in Fine-Arts from the University of Port Harcourt. This formed the bedrock of my cake decorating skills.
KA: Your cakes are delicious and breath-taking. Indeed, they are a sight to behold. Tell us, how did it all begin?
Ify: It all started as a result of a huge push from my big sister, Mrs. Uche Izuegbunam (Precious Bridals), God bless her. She saw “something special in me” as she would always say. I discovered the art in the cake and the love for cake-making grew stronger with each cake I made.
KA: How did you progress to this point? Did you have to take any additional classes to hone your cake-making skills?
Ify: God’s grace essentially got me to this point. I say so because naturally I have always been creative and artistic. I did draw a lot as a little girl. I took a few pointers from my sister and other cake makers.
KA: You have turned cake-making into an Art. What does cake-making mean to you?
Ify: Cake-making to me is an avenue for expressing my artistic abilities. Its fun and refreshing because there is always something new. I get to draw, paint and mould. All the things I did as a student of fine arts/ design back in school.
KA: In your own view, what makes your cakes stand-out? What are you doing differently?
Ify: The fact that I am created differently makes everything I do unique and exceptional from every other cake maker.
KA: What keeps you going as a Top Cake-maker?
Ify: The passion I have for art keeps me going. The fact that my cakes bring satisfaction to people, and the joy it gives me to create something so beautiful and edible. Being productive gives me a sense of responsibility. It’s quite humbling when people appreciate what I do.
KA: What are the challenges you have faced in your craft and how have you been able to overcome them?
Ify: The challenges mostly for me is balancing my work with family responsibilities. Raising my three wonderful kids and running a professional cake decorating business isn’t a piece of candy. But with a wonderful man by my side, it’s been manageable coupled with the fact that I work from home; these have helped ease the stress that comes with cake-making.
KA: Where do you draw your inspiration? Who in the world of cake-making and baking inspires you?
Ify: My inspiration comes from God. Also inspiration comes from clients likes and lifestyles. From nature and my surroundings; Textures, shapes, colours I see everyday. I also draw inspiration from cake-artists around the globe.
KA: Have you ever received negative feedback? How did you handle it?
Ify: Yes, I have had some really difficult clients in the past. Some I handled well and some I didn’t, but I have been able to draw my strength from the encouragement I get from most of my well meaning clients. I have learnt to dust my self and wax stronger past negative people. The fact is that you can’t please everyone. A cake that most people will love, one person will have a lot of bad to say about the same cake.
KA: Any big plans for 2014?
Ify: Yes, I got a lot of big plans. One out of the many is to get to a point when “Cakes a’la Parties” will be a house hold name; maybe even bake for Mr. President! [laughs]
KA: For you, the best part of being a Cake-maker is …
Ify: The huge smile I see on a clients face. Also getting a positive feedback from a client is priceless.
KA: How does the world get to know about your Cakes? How do you promote what you do?
Ify: I post my works on social media like Facebook; people I have worked for do recommend me.
KA: Do you run training programs on Cake-making? What really happens in that space?
Ify: I do run training programs where people are availed the opportunity to learn cake baking extensively.
KA: Life for Ify Simpa is ….
Ify: Life for Ify Simpa of Cakes a’la Parties is super fun and fulfilling. I look forward to each day worth utmost excitement. I am most thankful to God on how far I have come.
KA: If Ify Simpa was not making cakes, what would she be doing?
Ify: If I wasn’t making cakes. I would have been an actress. But honestly, I can’t imagine doing any other thing except what am doing right now.
KA: Inspire a young African in one sentence.
Ify: Find out what you love most and are gifted at, then make a career out of it.