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Did you know a cake maker in Enugu refused to make Bianca Ojukwu’s wedding cake because she thought Bianca was poor and of lower class?

Bianca stated that the rather amusing but depressing history of her wedding cake comes to mind whenever she sees a picture of it. During the planning of her wedding, she did learn from a dependable friend that a woman in Enugu made excellent wedding cakes.

She actually offered to take Bianca to the woman’s home even though her friend didn’t have a personal relationship with the cake lady. Bianca made the choice to abandon her Mercedes and commute with her friend in her adorable yet modest Volkswagen (a Beetle back then).The well-known cake maker, whose identity is being kept a secret for obvious reasons, was completely unaware of Bianca when they arrived, and she gave the car they were riding in a mocking glance.When Bianca asked her to make her wedding cake, she immediately started making excuses of every synopsis. She first told Bianca that her cakes were very expensive and that she would not be able to afford them (at 25,000 naira back then).

She offered to point Bianca in the direction of a less expensive cake shop. She also stressed that she only makes cakes for important people (even going so far as to name drop one Union bank manager, one boutique owner, etc. who in her opinion were “dignitaries”). Bianca assured her that I would be able to afford it. Then, when she inquired as to the location of the wedding, Bianca replied that Abuja was where it was happening.

The cake lady said Bianca would be responsible for covering her travel expenses to Abuja to mount the cake  and that since she only travels by air, not road, that an added cost would be difficult for Bianca to carry, to which Bianca replied that she would pay.
She brought up the question of hotel accommodations, which Bianca assured her would be handled. Bianca’s friend kept whispering in her ear and nudging Bianca to tell the cake lady who she was so the mocking melodrama could end, but Bianca refused.

Bianca despite being confused at the time, was secretly amused by human nature and social climbers, of which the woman was obviously one at the time based on her attitude. The lady was definitely not wealthy; her own car was an old Corolla; her surroundings were not luxurious; & she was simply one of those “I must belong by all means” individuals. Notwithstanding, she had the temerity to look down on others she considered to be less fortunate. Because she was still unsure that Bianca could afford her services (judging by her casual attire and the modest ride, which was not even Bianca’s), the cake lady quickly discharged both of them, telling her to drop her phone number and that she would call her later.
They  parted ways after Bianca gave her, her phone number but wrote down her Igbo name which was Odinaka. The cake lady vanished without a trace.

A massive multi-tiered wedding cake was made for free as PR to market and advertise the hotel’s services after Bianca simply accepted a kind offer from the Canadian chef at the Nicon Hilton Abuja at the time, who was a master baker. A week before the wedding, the Enugu cake maker started to notice coverage of the upcoming wedding on television and recognized Bianca as the person who had come to her home for a wedding cake. The Nicon Noga Hilton (now known as the Transcorp Hilton) in Abuja hosted the very first event ever on a lovely, breezy day in November 1994, which was  Bianca’s wedding.

The life-size multi-step cake that can be seen in the photo below was donated by the Hilton’s management. It is significantly larger and more opulent than any cake that the Enugu cake maker could have possibly offered. The fact that the event was broadcast nationwide meant that the Enugu cake maker missed a brilliant opportunity to show off her abilities and her goods. This magnificent use of advertising helped facilitate innumerable more weddings at the same Congress Hall at Hilton.

This significantly increased the hosting business for Hilton Events. The Cakemaker’s business, which had some issues years ago, has indeed closed, according to the most recent information Bianca got.

What marketing and life lessons have you learnt?