Abimbola Oki: I’m teaching women how to turn their passion for cooking into business

There is a popular saying that the easiest way to a man’s heart is through food; a well prepared meal could make an African man give you a blank cheque some say.

While cooking shouldn’t define the worth of a woman, it is always an addition when a woman knows her way in the kitchen. Abimbola Oki is helping many women, not only navigate cooking tasty meals, but educating them on how to turn their passion to business.

The founder of D’Potters Catering Services, which started in 2014, is one of the most sought after caterers in Nigeria at the moment, catering for several top events, and using social media to also showcase the beauty of cooking.

Abimbola decided to turn her passion into a corporate business by aiming to provide healthy and delicious meals for busy people, thus satisfy their cravings at affordable prices with poise for prompt delivery. Her mission is to provide amazing food experience for everyone irrespective of their status, tribe, pocket and taste

The caterer whose passion started from supporting family members during festivities, share her Inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this interview.

Childhood Influence
My mum used to sell bread, even though I wasn’t involved as per last-born. My sister had a restaurant back then too and I helped to run it. I never thought of running a food business then, but I was able to learn one or two things from that experience.

Inspiration behind D’potters Catering
I love hosting people in my house, especially during festive seasons. I noticed my guests enjoyed my cooking a lot so much that they give me money. I was still job-hunting as at 2013. My husband and I had a discussion about starting a food business and that was how I started fully in 2014.

The Journey So Far
Oh, it’s been bitter and sweet with so many challenges, but absolutely worth it. God’s grace has brought us this far and everything is going just as I wanted it.

D’potters Catering Academy And It’s Impact
A lot of people know how to cook, but they don’t know about the food business. I started D’potters Catering School to educate women not just about learning how to cook, but also learning about the business aspect. It has been an amazing journey so far. The first set of students graduated last month and some of them already started their businesses and doing well.

Educational Background And Aspiration As A Woman
I attended Lagos Anglican Girls Secondary School and graduated from University of Lagos with a BSc in Estate management. My aspiration as a woman is to see my fellow women doing well for themselves.

Challenges Of Being A Food Vendor
Trust; getting customers to trust me, because we usually do payment before delivery. We have been able to build their trust.

Delivery; getting a trusted delivery company to deliver food on time. There are many cases of food getting sour by the time clients gets it. We have been able get our personal bikes.

Nuggets On How To Be A Sought After Food Vendor
We have been consistent with our principles, which is to give customers value for their money. We treat our customers fairly and we don’t hesitate to apologise when things go wrong. We try to exceed their expectations; this makes them happy to refer us to their friends and families

Helped Families With Food During Lockdown
I always love to put smiles on people’s faces whether I know them or not. I have been through the very hard times too, so I understand their situation, this is my inspiration.

Food Industry Favourable Enough To Entrepreneurs
Yes the food industry is favorable to entrepreneurs because many Nigerians are now looking for different ways to ease their stress. Nobody wants to get home from work by 8pm after a bad traffic and start cooking. They prefer to buy food.

Being A Woman of Rubies
I have been able to teach other women how to start their businesses (not necessarily food) and also sell on social media platforms.

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