Today’s update is not about todays contribution to Cake Palace, but one of the recent activities. As the title states, it is about the increase of working space. To make it comprehendible, let’s start with a two year history behind increase of space.
In 2016, cake Palace was forced to get in town because of increase in demand. In addition, the increasing costs due to to and fro transports between town and our previous location, Nsungwi, became unbearable. Strongly encouraged by my mother, Cake Palace finally moved to town in September, 2016, into a rent building. My family too moved to an area, called Falls, close to town. Unlike the distance between Nsungwi and town, which took us an hour or more on a public minibus, Falls is just 10 minutes from town.
On the other hand, moving to town increased cost of rent from one building to two relatively expensive houses. One is my family’s home, while the other is Cake Palace’s production and wholesaling site. Our home costs MK60,0000 ($67 USD) per month, while our first Cake Palace site (built like a shop with selling room, store room, and a toilet) cost MK150000 ($166 USD) per month. Surprisingly, these major changes brought us no where close to a Cake Palace that can satisfy our demand consistently.
Cake Palace had to increase human labor and machinery, which led to another need to increase space. Not very different from the previous site, the new site was double the space and double the price. Then we partitioned the two-room building (using ply woods) into four rooms. The rooms included a production room, selling room, raw materials store room, and a changing room (where workers change their attires). Months later, we felt confident enough to process a certificate from Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS).
MBS is an organization that provides national mandatory certificates to businesses based on hygiene.
Surprisingly, MBS sent us back with no certificates, claiming that the space was still too small. As such, Cake Palace had to extended the building into the next shop.
Fast forward to four days ago, the mission of increasing space has finally been completed. We combined our site with the next shop. That made our rent cost shoot to MK450000 ($500 USD) per month. Thanks to the move, Cake Palace currently has well distinguished production site, an office, and a selling room.
Very soon, we will start fight for that MBS certificate!
Below is Piliran, one of Cake Palace workers, in a selling room before the final extension.