Who we are! Where we came from! & Where we're at!
Updated: Dec 14, 2019
Well, Khalids Kakes is a husband and wife family owned business that delivers the best in handmade and bespoke cakes for individuals looking for jaw dropping, eye catching cakes keeping the pallet wanting for more. We’re based in Birmingham, deliver nationwide and provide personalised cakes and bakes for all celebrations and occasions.
Life before Khalids Kakes
A little over 7 years ago I was pregnant with my first born, qualifying as a general adult nurse whilst securing a job in a prison setting. I was earning a lot less than the amount of work that was required of me, but I had a passion for my job as I loved what I did. Money came in at the end of the month and went out just as quick as it came in, being spent on bills leaving nothing left for my everyday life.
My partner Khalid on the other hand, lived a completely different life to me. Before we got together he lived on the other side of the law, heavily involved in violence, gang and gun crime. He was a well-known gang member and simple things like shopping, was a stressful task as we never knew who or what would jump out of the shadows. It was so bad that there was actually one incident when we were standing outside the job centre and someone driving past, jumped out the car and actually attempted to throw acid on him, failing this he attempted to get me whilst heavily pregnant! Thankfully we both escaped the attack but it was a horrific realisation of the life he belonged to.
He knew this was not the life he wanted to live. Eventually, he was able to slowly pull away from that life while getting closer and learning more about the religion we had both embraced. Although this was a step in the right direction, it wasn’t putting food on the table or paying the bills. With the added pressure of an extra mouth to feed, we were struggling!
Fast forward a couple months Khalid was constantly in and out of work unable to hold down a job, as he was diabetic and following his faith ardently. He was being forced to choose between eating on breaks or being able to pray, both of which were of equal priority for him. Praying is compulsory to our faith and as he was a newly diagnosed diabetic, eating was essential in order for his blood sugar to stay stable. As it was agency work, he was being called 15mins before the shift was due to start, then getting into trouble for being late. It was increasingly adding pressure to our life as a young family. This was pushing him back towards the very lifestyle he had now come to hate. If it wasn’t for Islam, I really do believe our situation could be very different now.
I remember very clearly one day when our life was at boiling point, with bills stacking up, we went to the pizza shop with our last £10 and spent it on our favourite curry mutton with jerk chicken pizza. As Khalid handed over the money a tear came to his eyes, he welled up and started to cry, silently. I had never seen Khalid cry before this day, at this point I knew we had hit rock bottom.
Khalids Kakes The Come Up
We sat down brainstorming trying to think of what we could do to support ourselves, while eating some of my homemade cookies a friend said, they were truly amazing and that they would buy them from a shop. This was the moment Khalids Kakes was born!
We devised a simplistic plan to setup a table on the street after our Friday prayers, we aimed to sell cakes at the same time trying not to get caught by the police. We had a broken painters table that we covered with a cloth, in which our 3-month-old baby sat on whilst we sold cakes, cupcakes, cookies etc to anyone that glanced at us. It was just as fun as it was scary. We didn't have a street licence or insurance so we knew this wasn’t allowed, but we loved the rush and thrived off it. At the same time we were very aware of the importance of making this work for the sake of our family. We met so many amazing people and the feedback was overwhelming! We did this for a couple weeks noticing that we started to get regulars and once when we missed a week, as we walked down the road people stopped us asking “where’s the cakes today?”. There was a sense that some people expected us to fail, here today and gone tomorrow but this gave us more drive and determination to succeed!
We quickly realised that we could potentially turn this into something big, something we would enjoy and something that would help with our financial worries. So, we thought of a name, designed a logo and started to brand ourselves as a professional cake company and skilled bakers.
We branded on Facebook and was doing quite well, receiving many orders through our social media platform and word of mouth. Through this we were able to extend our reach and come across a lot more custom. We eventually turned to Instagram as another source of clientele, from here we became considerably more known within the scene.
Fast forward a year or two and we are doing great, consistently getting messages and phone calls through our social media platforms and returning customers. Completing our tax forms at the end of the year felt great as we got to see how far we had come financially. Whilst in talks with “The National Wedding Show” known as the biggest wedding exhibition in the UK, along with the amount of love we were experiencing, we decided to exhibit and be a part of the 3-day programme which was a major eye opener. We will save our experience of ‘The National Wedding Show’ for another time as we have a lot to say good and bad lol.
Since then we have worked with a few known commercial companies, opened a cake boutique in Birmingham Bullring and Grand Central. We have also been commissioned to produce bespoke cakes for companies such as Christian Dior and been offered a place on a prime time tv programme (in which we refused) – This story we will also save for another blog as it’s a long story lol.
We was also awarded 'Luxury Handmade Cake Shop of 2019 by Prestige Awards, that looked at local talent and small businesses. This was a great achievement for us as we were hand selected to apply and came first out of many other businesses within the same niche.
The Round Up
By the grace of Allah (swt) we have come along way from crying in the pizza shop to opening a bespoke cake boutique parlour. It has been a very hard journey and serious learning curve with mistakes and accomplishments. We have loved every minute of it and can now look back at the hard times and appreciate them, as it makes us who we are today! This being said, we still have so much more to learn and discover about ourselves. Its been fun and I hope we’re able to keep writing down our daily experiences and producing the best possible cakes we can.