Nyina – A Millennial Business

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been told that as a woman, I cant have it all. I’ve heard on many occasions that if/when the time came, I would have to chose between a family or career.

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I remember hearing this for the first time as a young girl and I genuinely wondered who the hell had the right to tell me I couldn’t have it all and therefore, decided to prove them wrong. I’m lucky enough to have a dad that always reminded me that I am stronger and more capable than all the men around me, so I knew that the only way I could do it was potentially by working for myself and creating my own rules.

Not much has changed since I was younger, I’ve heard the same spiel for years, including a couple of months ago when a male business owner told me I couldn’t be passionate about baking and marketing, but that’s a story for another day!

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As most of you know, I have always loved food, especially cakes! A few years after I started Mostly Muffins, I was lucky enough work in the product development of gluten free baking mixes and cereals, which I got into supermarkets.

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Whilst pitching to the supermarkets, we would have to take the gluten free product we had been working on, e.g. a vanilla sponge, along side the ‘normal’ gluten filled, own branded vanilla sponge. I always remember thinking how rubbish the own brand, gluten versions were. My mum taught me how to bake and I believe that no matter what you buy, it should always have the smell, taste and texture of being home made!

I’ve always wanted my own dessert bar and I saw a gap in the market for a baking mix with a difference so when I moved to Belfast and still had my old customers asking for my cakes, I knew it was something I would eventually do, just not as soon as I thought!

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A couple of months ago, I was made redundant, which has been the biggest blessing in disguise because my slow burner, was fast tracked into my new business Nyina. Nyina, pronounced Nyee-na, means mother in my mother tongue, Bemba and is a homage to all the people in our lives (like my mum) that baked as we grew up and always had the house smelling amazing.

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As I’ve gotten older, certain things have become important to me. I want the things that encapsulate me to be the foundation of my business!

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Firstly, I believe we can all do our part to help each other and the environment so not only are my baking mixes super quick and easy to use, they are sustainable and better for the environment. The goal is to eventually have recyclable/compostable packaging, which I’m currently working on! As well as this, mental health is something I really care about so 10% of this years proceeds will go to Cake before Therapy, which focuses on breaking the stigma of mental health. A cuppa and a bit of cake can have a positive impact on someones mental health and help people open up so it’s about making it as simple as possible for people to open up without any pressure. I’m super excited to be working with Emma and such a brilliant charity!

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As I said above, I don’t see why women with families or anyone else not able to work 9-5 shouldn’t get the chance to work on their career. I’ve worked in enough jobs to see that someone given the chance and only able to work a few hours can work harder than a full time employee. I myself have also been in the position where I’ve worked 80-90 hours in a week and found that easier than working 9-5 because of the rigid structure. It’s currently 1:40am as I’m writing this blog so if I’m productive at this time, who’s to say no one else will be… I want to have a flexible company that works with its employees to utilise their skills, their way.

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I want to build a company with a culture of people that are empowered, people that care about the legacy they leave behind as well as people that love food and want to work together to build a business that is like a family! Far too often, companies fail because their culture isn’t right and they can’t adapt to changes so I will work with like minded people to make sure that no matter what may be going on in life, they are a part of something that they can thrive from on their own accord but will also support them when they need it. I’m already lucky enough to say that I have a small team of absolute gems that are helping my dream become reality and I already couldn’t be happier!

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I’m extremely proud of how far I have come as a person and a business woman. Each day brings new challenged but I am doing what I love. I am extremely excited to show you what I’ve been working on because this is just the start so keep an eye out!

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If you fancy trying one of my baking mixes, check them out via our website where you can currently get 25% off the mixes if you type in ‘Zambia’ at the checkout. Whilst you’re there, follow our Youtube, Instagram and Facebook pages too!

**All my photography is by Sharon Cosgrove who is one of the best photographers and nicest people I know! Check out her work via her website or Instagram**

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