Winifred Onyemaechi is a farmer and the CEO Nature’s Kitchen Limited. She has a background in Business Administration and Management from the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu. Winifred has also earned a certificate in Entrepreneurship Management from the Enterprise Development center of Pan Atlantic University, Lagos.
With 8 years working experience in customer service and operations in the banking sector. Winifred recalls that when she was in banking, she barely had time for herself. This lack of time affected her food choices negatively. Often not having time to go source fresh meat to be slaughtered and cooked.
This dilemma gave Winifred some insight into a gap in the market; fresh meat/ poultry which is easily accessible to families and people in the hospitality industry. This is how Nature’s Kitchen was born.
She cites her major strength as her tenacity. “I don’t take no for an answer” in addition that she believes her other strengths include her ability to multitask and plan ahead.
[bctt tweet=”when making decisions, I choose the option that scares me the most” username=”SheLeadsAfrica”]
Who is Winifred Onyemaechi?
Winifred Onyemaechi is a wife, farmer, agricultural entrepreneur and the CEO of Nature’s Kitchen Ltd. I worked in the banking industry for 8 years and then resigned to focus on Nature’s Kitchen.
What is Nature’s Kitchen?
Nature’s Kitchen is an agricultural business that produces and distributes meat/poultry to families people in the hospitality industry. We are dedicated to ensuring that our meat is processed under very hygienic conditions, compared to what is usually obtained in the local market/abattoirs.
How did you find a gap in the market for this business?
Nature’s Kitchen was born out of a desire to ensure that people /families buy and consume fresh agricultural products and bi- products, conveniently.
When I was in the banking sector, I barely had time for myself. I would always prefer to make my meals with fresh chicken. However, it used to take me about 3 to 4 hours to select the chicken and have it slaughtered at the local market. When I chose to go to the meat shops the chickens they sold were either stale imported chickens or locally grown chickens that have been stored for more than 2 months- therefore losing its freshness.
I saw this as a problem and started making enquiries about how people got fresh chicken and I realized that a lot of people faced the same problem as I did. So, when it was time to resign from the bank I decided I would in my own little way provide fresh chicken to families and individuals. We have since evolved from poultry to goat and snail meat as well.
How do you make sure that your meat/poultry is of the highest standards?
There are a number of things we do. We mainly conduct continuous staff training, because we aim to ensure that the highest hygiene standards are followed; from rearing to packaging of products. We have checklists that guide our processes.
What are the three key business lessons you have learned since running Nature’s Kitchen?
Patience: this is an important virtue in business. I allow my business to grow organically; business is like life- it has a natural flow to it. I have learned to have patience with staff, customers and suppliers, and even with the business holistically.
Being involved: an agricultural entrepreneur has to be hands -on. One does not just invest money, delegate and supervise remotely. Learn and know the nitty gritty of it all. Our business requires our time.
Courage: face whatever it is that seems like the hardest decision to make. For instance, when making decisions, I choose the option that scares me the most. That works for me.
What are two main business challenges you have overcome while running Nature’s Kitchen?
Debts from family and friends: in typical African, society, family and friends have an entitlement mentality; hence being able to get payments for services rendered is normally a challenge. I used to face this challenge as well among my extended family and friends. However this has been overcome as I have learnt to keep business and family separate.
Handling pressure: I have learnt how not to be overwhelmed with the myriad of obstacles which emanate from both internal and external factors that impinge on the business daily.
What is your three year growth plan for Nature’s Kitchen?
Primarily, we want to quadruple production and distribution, both in terms of number and variants offered.
In addition, we want to be a household name/brand in meat (especially poultry) production in the whole of Nigeria.
What inspires you each day to keep running your business?
In spite of the daily challenges we face, the daily feedback from satisfied customers on how our services help impact their lives positively keeps us going.
In one sentence, how would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as the lady who changed the face of farming in Africa.
Facebook: @nature‘s kitchen limited
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