WATCH | Bake to the future: From retrenched cleaner to cake boss

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  • Davy Tsopo started his baking company Cakey by Davy after he lost his job as a cleaner at a Johannesburg restaurant when the nationwide lockdown started. 
  • The entrepreneur received a year's supply of South Bakels baking ingredients after the managing director heard his story in a radio interview. 
  • Tsopo is working toward opening his own bakery, as well as getting a car so he can deliver to his clients without having to rely on e-hailing services.

The notion that God works in mysterious ways has never been more true than for Davy Tsopo.

Last year, he lost his job as a cleaner at a Johannesburg restaurant shortly after South Africa went into its first lockdown.

His retrenchment couldn't have come at a worse time, as his wife was pregnant. 

FEEL GOOD | Woman starts baking business after surviving Covid-19 and losing her job

The start of something new

A generous neighbour gave Tsopo his wifi password - so he could surf the net and occupy his free time.

"He told me to watch some funny videos on YouTube, but instead I looked for baking videos because I had just gotten a brand new stove with an oven. I found the famous Cake Boss - Bartolo "Buddy" Valastro Jr's videos and that's where my love for baking began," Tsopo told News24. 

He had a few false starts, but Tsopo soon found his rhythm and established Cakey by Davy. 

"My good friend Charlotte asked me to bake her a cake. It was a challenge because I had never baked a cake before. I baked it and she posted it on her Instagram, telling people to buy my cakes because they are so good, and to support me as I had lost my job and had a newly born baby to feed.

"The support I started getting from that Instagram tag was just amazing. People started to following me and getting lots of orders. I gained confidence. Some of my customers donated baking equipment, ingredients, some even donated baby clothes," he said. 

Today, Tsopo has a fully-fledged baking business with a loyal clientele. His business' growth has exceeded his wildest dreams and, in hindsight, losing his job was a blessing in disguise. 

Onward and upward

The baking entrepreneur’s luck continues to overflow. After a radio interview, baking ingredients company South Bakels got in touch with Tsopo and gave him a year’s supply of ingredients. 

"This world is full of great people. People have been supporting me in different ways," he said. 

Tsopo runs his small business from the communal kitchen at his apartment block and is doing well enough to provide for his young family. 

"I am stress free. I am spending more time with my family. I used to work close to 15 hours a day at the restaurant. Now I get to work at my own pace. When I want to rest, I rest, when I want to work, I work," he said.

He said he has his community to thank for his success.

"In life, never undermine anyone because of their situation. You never know where they will be tomorrow, life just changes. I was a cleaner and now I’m a businessman. Anything in life is possible."

Tsopo is now working toward opening his own bakery and coffee shop, as well as getting a car so he can deliver to his clients without having to rely on e-hailing services. 

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