Meet the driving force behind La Petite Patisserie
Interview with Nicolette van Niekerk
Interview with Nicolette van Niekerk
I am originally from Pretoria, South Africa and ten years ago, had my first “emigration” with my husband, Josef, to Cape Town :). We had our beautiful son, Josua there and I started my own Training Academy, La Petite Pâtisserie. We moved to the Netherlands two years ago and are now settled in Zwijndrecht, South Holland. My passion is summed up in teaching, photography, and creating beautiful food but besides that, I also love painting, playing piano, and spending time with my family.
I am a qualified Foodservice Manager and Nutritionist that believes in thorough training and understanding of food. I realised after working for 15 years in corporate, that my biggest love really is to teach and coach. To assist others with a business journey and to make everything possible to help them to start their own business.
At one stage I myself was without work and therefore opened my own company. I realized that others might also have a problem of being “under-qualified” or “lacked self-confidence” so I created four courses within the Patisserie field that I would teach and got them accredited with SETA.
After a consulting session with my client, we identify training needs and what “gaps” there are on their road to success. If it is food production-related, I would teach them the food science behind the production of food as well as the technical skills they would need to make different recipes. To be able to become an entrepreneur, I also set them up with food costing, recipe calculations, kitchen layout, and marketing sessions.
As an additional service, I take food photos of their products so they have a portfolio on hand.
When I founded my company in 2010, I only baked Wedding Cakes. I had R400 (about Eur40.00 at the time) in my pocket to start something new, so I advertised on free websites, used Facebook as a marketplace, and bought most of my equipment at secondhand shops.
I would say that though you are dreaming big, you cannot afford to spend big.
Make use of free resources, help from a family member, students that still work at lower rates, and buy second-hand equipment in the beginning.
My dad once told me that if you can find the gap in the market, you will always be in business. Whether it is to sell socks or bake cakes…
As companies begin to realize where their customers are really spending their time, they will begin to reallocate resources away from traditional media to social platforms, with Facebook and Instagram leading the pack. I firmly believe in taking your brand with you wherever you go, whether you advertise on a social platform, or sit at a market stall on Saturdays. Your logo should be displayed on packaging, clothing, and posters.
To me, a brand image shows the true identity of your company and should be associated with fairness, quality, and being trustworthy.
In the Patisserie field, we usually build networks by selling our products at local markets or on a social media page. Keep in touch with your following and build a relationship with them. Gather feedback about your product from your network and ensure that you implement those changes to your product lines.
It really can open doors for you! My brand concept is education and creativity behind the food. Whether it is in teaching or taking photos of it. I hope to have more work in the future with photography.
I hope to publish in 2021 but it won’t be a recipe book is all I can say for now 🙂
I’m inspired by people with conviction and integrity, people whose resilience means they don’t give up when things get tough. That can be people who work towards similar goals as me or those who do something completely different but whose values and attitudes echo mine somehow.
With over 1,000 sales and over 220 raving reviews in her Etsy shop Pure Prana Label, designer Cindy has accumulated lots of experience ánd knowledge about what it means to be a creative entrepreneur. Today she shares her tips on what works for her, and advice on what you can do to grow and expand your creative business.
I first started selling my crochet locally at craft fairs and school fairs. Before I knew it, I was getting custom requests from the local community and from people who had seen my creations out and about the local area. It was then I gained the confidence and self belief to start selling online and I haven’t looked back since. It brings me so much joy to see someone wearing one of my creations or buying an item as a gift for a loved one.