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Hobby Turns Into Alternative Income For Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Graduate

When the aviation industry came to a standstill, aircraft maintenance engineer graduate Jermaine Elaisa turned to his love for baking. Mr Elaisa said he was forced to find an alternative
06 Sep 2021 12:25
Hobby Turns Into Alternative Income For Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Graduate
Aircraft maintenance engineer graduate Jermaine Elaisa turned to his love for baking.

When the aviation industry came to a standstill, aircraft maintenance engineer graduate Jermaine Elaisa turned to his love for baking.

Mr Elaisa said he was forced to find an alternative source of income, at a time of mass layoffs in the aviation industry caused by this global pandemic.

“I started my baking business because there’s this sudden reflection on where our food comes from and I needed to open myself up to the idea of doing things differently and being creative with my baking to generate income.”

Mr Elaisa runs his registered baking business B8kedatJay on Instagram since the first wave of COVID-19 hit Fiji.

“I grew up watching my mum bake homemade treats and cakes from scratch, fine tuning recipes until she found the perfect balance of flavours and texture.

“I found myself intrigued in the amount of focus, science and skill it takes to bake.

“At B8kedatJay’s, we aspire to be the home bakery your mum trusts.

“We offer a variety of sweet and savory treats to be enjoyed at any time of the day and ensure to use Fijian Mum’s certified ingredients.”

He said emotions were an integral factor which affected his business.

“Because I started B8kedatJay’s post COVID-19 my customer base is usually those looking for something a little different and a little “closer to home” when it comes to celebrating special occasions.

“Just like any new business starting out, I had to build rapport and trust with my customers to reign in orders. COVID-19 has played a big part in that.

“We can’t help how our customers may feel in this pandemic.”

He said everyone coped differently with uncertainty and fear.

“I’ve had customers that have asked how I prepare my baking station or where I buy my ingredients from and that’s okay.

“I feel the shift every time we have a COVID-19 update on the news and that is outside of my control.

“The faster I make peace with that; I am able to work on the things I have control over and that’s using the extra time to grow and better promote my business on social media platforms,” he said.

Production outcome

Mr Elaisa said the business production outcome had been good despite the global pandemic.

“People still need to eat and celebrate milestones so we’re always happy to be a part of a celebration whether it’s something as simple as our staple custard tarts or extravagant as a three-tier wedding cake.

“There are weeks we’re completely booked out and at times.

“I am tempted to take on every single order thrown at me but I’ve got to stop and think about how it would affect my other orders and what kind of strain it may put on me.

“My brand and work quality are really important to me especially when running a baking business.”

He said he was grateful to the customers supporting his business.

Plans for expansion

Mr Elaisa said his short-term goal was to work in partnership with a local café.

“B8kedatJay’s started out by force of circumstance but seeing how much joy and happiness my home baked goods bring customers it certainly does change my perspective of things.

“My short-term goals in terms of future expansion would be to work in partnership with a local café to bring home baked goods to people in my hometown.

“To be able to share in the joy and to see people’s faces light up as they indulge in a sweet treat from B8kedatJays,” he said.

He has encouraged those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to be kind to themselves.

“I felt a shift in my life that had me craving structure and routine to my day again and the need to generate income so I transitioned into something new and different.

“If you are feeling that shift in your life too, then there is a reason for it.

“Choose to evolve and build on that,” he said.

Feedback: shreya.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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