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Friday, December 8, 2023

Passion-turned-profession: Esther Fagbesan’s journey to Fife’s Kitchen

In the bustling world of entrepreneurship, there are stories that stand out; stories of individuals who turn their passion into a thriving business.

Meet Esther Fagbesan, a 23-year-old entrepreneur and the proud owner of Fife’s Kitchen. In this article, we delve into Esther’s journey, from her school days, to the beginning of her culinary business and dreams for the future. We also explore her experiences and the invaluable lessons she’s learned as well as the advice she offers to those seeking their own path to success.

In Esther Fagbesan’s bustling neighborhood in the middle of Ibadan, her name is synonymous with mouthwatering food. Her business, Fife’s Kitchen, specializes in quality home-made foods, aiming to satisfy the discerning palates of its many customers.

Being a business owner in Nigeria’s largest city is no mean feat for a 23-year-old. And a woman. Fife’s Kitchen came to life in May 2022, and since then, it has been on a remarkable journey. The inspiration behind this venture is rooted in Esther’s deep love for quality food.

“I love quality food, and I want people to have a taste of the same,” she reveals. This passion for excellence laid the foundation for her food business.

While at the prestigious University of Ibadan where she studied Microbiology, Esther knew early on that there might be no job awaiting her after graduation.

“I started to reason that my passion for cooking could be turned to a business; a job. I always derive joy in experimenting with new recipes. And I started dreaming of owning a flourishing restaurant”

When she graduated in 2021, Esther soon realized that the easy part was to dream. Her entrepreneurial leap started from a small kiosk from where she started selling stir fried noodles and eggs.

I started to reason that my passion for cooking could be turned to a business, a job

“Nothing I studied in school prepared me for the initial difficulties. It was a tough beginning,” she enthused.

For her start-up capital, Esther had less than N50,000, saved mainly from her allowances. But she wasn’t deterred by this. “I was confident that people would come if I made delicious meals,” she intoned. And, indeed, they came, but Esther’s meals were grossly underpriced.

“I couldn’t believe what adults were offering for meals I worked so hard and spent so much to make. I kept wondering if these people patronised the same market i did,” Esther said, laughing.

When asked if she ever considered quitting, Esther’s response was resolute: “Mmmm, no, actually; I’ve just always expanded my imagination.” She added quickly that capital isn’t the only ingredient needed for entrepreneurial success. Support from loved ones can make all the difference.

“I got support from family and friends through patronage, prayers and referrals. When any member of my immediate family wants to place an order, they always pay because they realize it’s a business.”

This familial support provided not just financial backing but also a network of loyal customers.

So, does Fife’s Kitchen have a particular niche? Esther succinctly states, “Quality home-made foods and customer satisfaction. That’s our niche.”

capital isn’t the only ingredient needed for entrepreneurial success. Support from loved ones can make all the difference

She says that in an era where fast food dominates, Fife’s Kitchen stands out by prioritizing the art of home-cooked meals and ensuring that every customer leaves with a smile.

The first major break for Esther came with a contract for a convention. “This contract marked a significant milestone. I made huge sales and gained new customers,” she proudly recalls. For her, it was a moment that validated her passion and hard work. And there has been no looking back since then.

One well executed contract led to another, and today, Fife’s kitchen has come to stay.
Esther describes a typical day as a whirlwind of activity, juggling multiple orders from different destinations, all with customers eagerly awaiting their meals.

Has Fife’s kitchen made her rich?
“I don’t know about being rich” Esther laughed. “But I am sure I am busy,” she added modestly.

Esther’s future plans and goals for Fife’s Kitchen are ambitious and inspiring. She envisions owning multiple restaurants in different states of the federation, with a goal of creating a culinary empire.

I understand the importance of relaxation. I relax by taking in movies and spending time with my loved ones

A tall dream, you may say, but you need to encounter Esther to know how determined she is. This is because, while Fife’s Kitchen is a startup business, it is steadily growing and evolving.

Does this busy entrepreneur find time to relax? “Of course,” Esther says with a smile. “I understand the importance of relaxation. I relax by taking in movies and spending time with my loved ones. These little periods of rest help me to refuel and face my work-related issues with renewed strength.”

When asked about advice for those looking to start a business in Nigeria, Esther counsels: “Don’t get tired of improving and advertising your business. And if you are in the food business, never compromise with hygiene. I should know. Remember, I am a microbiologist,” she laughed.

These words echo the essence of entrepreneurship – a relentless pursuit of excellence and continuous growth. For Esther Fagbesan, it has been a culinary dream come true. And there’s no looking back.

Claire Ezeokeke
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