Entrepreneurs grew rapidly in Nigeria last year when the country struggled with leadership crisis and recession, For some, it was due to the recession and for people like Badriyah, it was passion and love for entrepreneurship. I followed Badriyah on Instagram last year and was amazed at the fact that she turned what a lot of people will look down on and will regularly see as a business for the poor into a successful running business. I felt Badriyah will inspire a lot of people/young entrepreneurs out there, so I asked her for an Interview and she warmly me granted me one.
Tell us a little about you.
My name is Badriyah Bashir, I am from kano, I went to crescent International school in kano for primary education and Gateway international school for my secondary education, had my BSc in science and technical education and my Post graduate in biological sciences at Bayero university kano and I am happily married.
You have a BSc, what made you decide to go into entrepreneurship?
I worked for some time but I didn’t really find joy in it, I enjoyed cooking and the kitchen was a happy place for me and as a married woman I had more time to cater for my family,I guess the cooperate world isn’t really for me and Alhamdulillah the journey has been wonderful and we are growing strong.
Tell us about Northern treats.
My flare for cooking gave rise to ‘Northern Treats’ because friends and family enjoyed my northern snacks and meals which motivated me to start northern treats.
What does northern treat offer?
We have a wide selection of northern treats as the name implies such as Awara (tofu) which happens to be what we are well known for, Tuwon madara (milk candy), Gulllisuwa (fried milk balls) Illoka, Tsami Gaye, Wainan flour (northern pancake). We also do Gara packages which consist of traditional snacks which are part of food items gifted to a bride and groom by the bride’s family which consist of Alkaki,Nakiya, Greba, and baklava. We do home deliveries and offer catering services for events. We do dishes like Dambu,Bandashe,Kunun aya, zobo,Kunun Zaaki, lemonade. e.t.c
How did you finance your business?
It is not a business that is capital intensive, It is a business that is labor intensive.
How do you juggle both business and family lives?
That’s a hard one to answer because most of the times it’s either the family suffers or the business does but I try to work from morning till 5 pm and anything after 5 pm is family time so I can give both worlds needed attention.
What are your major challenges?
Some of the challenges I face are limited human resources as I make most treat myself and then managing my customers, some people place orders and won’t show up.I also have delivery issues, sometimes I send deliveries and customer don’t pick their calls which most times leaves me at a loss because whether you get it or you don’t get it, I am charged for it.
Do you have a ‘no kitchen day’?
We use to work 7 days a week but it started taking a toll on me both physically and mentally, so we decided Sunday is a ‘no kitchen day’
Your most exciting moment so far
It was a family funfair extravaganza at kfk events, It was the first time we were public I almost had a panic attack because I thought we wouldn’t sell out, but Alhamdulillah we did and we even won a price.
Your epic kitchen failure
My Epic kitchen failure was when we added our coagulant to soya milk before cooking thinking it was water, that really cost us a lot because we lost 3 batches of Awara which was about 18 packs of Awara.
Have you had people say negative things to you as regards your business?
yea, some time back, a customer bought a pack of Gulllisuwa and complained it tasted as if it was stale and gone bad, it got me to me knowing I make my treats fresh every day.
Where do you see northern treats in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years, I see northern treats becoming a household name with different branches all over the country and hopefully start exporting our products In shaa allah.
3 women you look up to and why?
My mother Hajia Zainab Bako, I know it sounds cliché and everyone says it but I sincerely look up to my mother, she was a single mother and raised me alone, she has been through a lot and has motivated and made me stronger that sometimes I do things I never believe I could do. She is my number hero, I love her so much and she means the world to me.
Then my grandmother Haj. Ladi Bako, I acquired most of my cooking skills from her, she is a wonderful soul, very strong and cheerful woman and she also raised her kids alone after the death of my grandfather. So I have been blessed with strong women and I am grateful for that.
And finally Hajia Suwaiba Nababa, she has always given me both moral and spiritual support, she has been my counselor and has always given me a shoulder to cry on and a piece of advice that always gets me going. So that sums up the three miraculous and tremendous women I look up to.
There is this perception that northern women are uneducated and are meant to be full housewives, Do you agree?
I find that idea incorrect because I believe we have a lot of Nigerian women that are making impact around the world, Dr. Hadiza Galadanci who is a renown gyneacologist, Dr. Fatima Mukhtar who is the vice chancellor of federal university dutse, we have professor Rukayya Ahmad Rufa’i who was a former minister of education, Hajia Amina J Mohammad who is the current UN deputy secretary just to mention a few amogst others, so I feel we have a lot of educated nothern women, it’s just that northern women are shy and reserved so we don’t really put ourselves out there so people don’t get to see us which makes them feel we are uneducated but when you come down to the north, you will see that we are doing wonders.
what is your favorite treat and your not so favorite treat?
Tuwon madara is my favorite while Illoka is the opposite.Tuwon Madara is easier and less time consuming while Illoka needs all the attention you can give it because it gets burnt easily.
If I am to have one of your treat which should it be?
I will suggest the Iloka if you have a sweet tooth and if not Awara, It’s just the best.
3 things you can’t leave home without?
My glasses. I think I am as blind as a bat (laughs), my phone which keeps me in touch with the outside world and then Junks, I just like food.
Say something to a girl child.
Be productive, try and be independent, don’t let anyone kill your dreams and try and acquire skills if education is far fetched because only you have the key to make something out of nothing.
What adventure will you love to go on?
I am not really an adventurous person but I would love to travel around the world, not just to see places but to try different food and learn new recipes. I think I can call myself a foodie
3 things you love about your husband?
He is supportive, he is my greatest critic, always try to make me better, he is amazing, very Understanding, The love he has for me ehn!, he just makes my life easy generally, I could go on and on. I love him so much
Finally,wWhat’s a normal day like for you?
My day Start around 8:30 to 9 am, I start prepping for Awara which is time-consuming and the sweets depending on the order of the day, I package and send orders most times depending on how many orders I get, by 6 pm I am done sending out orders and I start preparing for dinner and that’s it
Thank you very much Badriyah for taking the time to grant this interview.
Nigerians are Intelligent and smart we can survive any weather and make things out of nothing. Badriyah has clearly proven that. I definitely enjoyed interviewing her, as a matter of fact, I giggled all through, I do hope you enjoyed reading and you are inspired.
kindly share your thoughts in the comment section.
You can follow Badriyah on Instagram @northern.treats