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In 2020, after successive lockdowns at the start of the pandemic, David Tsopo lost his job as a cleaner at a popular Johannesburg restaurant that could no longer afford to keep all of its employees on the payroll.


Instead of complaining, Davy opened his own baking business, Cakey by Davy. Mark Sham interviewed him on the first season of the Small Business Showcase, and Davy’s life changed.


Media exposure tends to grow exponentially, and soon Davy was dubbed South Africa’s Cake Boss, appearing on morning shows and news channels, until eventually the MD of South Bakels heard him on Bruce Whitfield’s show. He instructed his marketing team to find Davy, and today, South Bakels sponsors Cakey by Davy.


Here are just a few of the lessons we have learnt from Davy:


Keep learning and growing


One year into his business and Davy is embarrassed about the cakes he made when he launched, which is exactly what should happen in start-ups. Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, famously said that if you aren’t embarrassed by the first version of your product, you launched too late. Get into the market, start selling and earning. Figure out what your customers want (and will pay for), and most of all, keep learning and upskilling. It’s not about putting in 10 000 hours – it’s about putting 10 000 hours into the right things. Davy started with Youtube videos and progressed to baking lessons, and today spends every day honing his craft.


Just do it


Originally, people gravitated towards Davy’s story because instead of complaining about the pandemic, he made a plan. He was a new father and all he wanted was to support his family.


And so he sat down, figured out what resources and skills he had, and got busy. He sold a bag of muffins for R20, which triggered a friend asking if he could bake a cake for her? She posted his stunning cake on social media, and orders started coming in. Eventually, Davy even entered a pitching competition with Acer and won R40 000 worth of IT equipment, and he started promoting himself. The key is to just do it. Don’t wait for a solution to come – start small and build on it.


Have a dream


When you’re growing, there should always be another milestone, one that is achievable and moves your business forward. For Davy, this is taking a professional cake course and becoming a wedding cake specialist. This isn’t the end goal, it is simply the next goal. Keep moving forward. It keeps things interesting, and lets you find new ways to feed your passions and entrepreneurial spirit.


It takes a community


Running a business is not a solo artform, it takes a team, not just of employees, but partners, suppliers, communities and family. Building a business takes hard work, dedication and long hours, which can be both tough and lonely without the right support.


Davy’s gratitude for everything he has and for what he’s achieved is also humbling, and proof that with the right mindset, anything is possible. He also points out that we never know what’s around the corner, so don’t take anything for granted. Each success is a gift.


Here’s how you can support Cakey by Davy:


Watch, comment and share this video

Support Davy’s Facebook page

Support Davy’s Instagram page

And of course – order a cake!


Watch the full video here:

About the Author

Elisheva Gilbert
Chief Marketing Officer, Sasfin Holdings Limited

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