Special occasions deserve special treats, especially personalised cakes and sweet treats, and that’s where one Mozambican woman entrepreneur comes to the rescue. Milena de Lurdes Valoi, founder of specialist catering company Anellim, creates beautiful, personalised cakes and confectionary for clients who want to celebrate.
LoA chatted to creative founder, Milena de Lurdes Valoi, this month to learn more about this specialist business.
What does your company do?
Anellim is a company specializing in the production of sweets, cakes and the provision of event catering services.
"With my specialist cakes, I want people to feel an explosion of feelings and flavors with every bite, and that’s what makes my company and products different in the marketplace."
What inspired you to start your company?
I always liked cooking and making cakes, and I learned the skills from my mother when I was a child. My grandfather was also a cook. So, today I want to share emotions and be present in the most important moments of people’s lives through my cakes. In business, people often say that I am very young to be an entrepreneur and that I cannot build a successful business, they say it will not work and that there are many competitors in the market. But with my company and my specialist cakes, I want people to feel an explosion of feelings and flavors with every bite, and that’s what makes my company and products different in the marketplace.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
At Anellim, our specialist products generate emotions and feelings that "feed" our needs and create happy consumers. Many people make cakes, sweet and salty, but our products carry a good dose of love, creating that feeling of satisfaction, fulfillment, joy amongst others. We put our products in the category of "comfort food" because they arouse emotions through the palate, represent comfort and well-being when consumed, and are a source of endless delights.
"We put our products in the category of 'comfort food' because they arouse emotions through the palate, represent comfort and well-being when consumed, and are a source of endless delights."
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I started making cakes at age 14 for friends and family, but at age 16 I discovered the word entrepreneurship and what it meant. When I was little, I made cakes as an amateur until I decided to take it more seriously, and it was when I reached the age of 16 years that I created Anellim. At first I had many challenges to overcome, and I have many of them right up until today. Many people said that I was too young to be an entrepreneur and that I could not make and sell visually beautiful cakes that were good enough for people to eat and enjoy. But I have always had the support of my parents and they are the people who most supported me most on this journey. Several times I wanted to give up and believed that I did not know how to make cakes professionally. But, I learned that talent is nothing without effort and that entrepreneurship is not about being a certain age, because age is just about numbers and they do not define us. What matters is having the right attitude and courage to undertake whatever is necessary in our businesses and lives, to do what we feel is right, and it is over time that the experience comes too.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I want Anellim to become a leader in the catering market and one day for the business to be recognized for its good service and products. I would like the business and the brand to become memorable in people's lives and to always be present in the best moments of their lives.
"With entrepreneurship I discovered a strength in me that even I did not think I had, and this helps me to explore and know my abilities and my level of creativity."
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Seeing my efforts turning into beautiful, tangible results is extremely rewarding. Receiving great feedback from my customers and being able to see their joy after having consumed our products is really rewarding. With entrepreneurship I discovered a strength in me that even I did not think I had, and this helps me to explore and know my abilities and my level of creativity.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Choose an idea. Make this idea your life. Think about it, dream about it, live thinking about it. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, all parts of your body be filled with that idea, that is the way to success.
Every morning we have two chances: to continue sleeping with our dreams or to wake up and pursue them - so insist, persist, but do not give up.
Contact or follow Anellim
Why LoA loves it….
The desire to become an entrepreneur can strike at any age, and for Milena de Lurdes Valoi, her entrepreneurial ‘light bulb moment’ came at the age of 16. Her business building journey may have started early, but today she is turning her passion and creative talent into a thriving company, creating products that her customers love. She is a great example to other women to follow that entrepreneurial calling, no matter when it happens in life. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa