Mahmood Janahi is undeniably a household name. Born and raised in Bahrain, Mahmood successfully turned his childhood passion for baking into a business venture. Today, he is a celebrity chef, baker, and social media personality on Snapchat and Instagram.
His mouth-watering creations are showcased on Instagram and have catapulted his namesake brand, Mahmood Janahi Cakes, to fame, admiration, and curiosity alike. We sat down with Mahmood to gather his insights and advice on how to transform your passion into an ever-expanding business venture. The cult personality sums up his strategies in seven key pillars:
- Keep up with trends, innovate, and experiment with what is available. The talented baker introduced the Mille Crepe Cake — layers of crepe with chocolate sauce in between and topped with berries — to Bahrain from New York and Japan. However, Mahmood asserted that he doesn’t copy trends, but rather creates them! “The need to innovate will surely differentiate your business from competitors. This will not set you apart, but make you an example to look up to,” Janahi asserts.
- Personalize the brand like he did. When Mahmood began selling baked goodies in 2008, it was under the name of The Cakery. Later, he has rebranded to ‘Mahmood Janahi, Cakes’. This allowed him to become the face of the brand metaphorically and symbolically and increase his public recognition. People came to knew Mahmood for more than just his cakes. Further, Mahmood regularly showcases his self-designed kitchen which features an eclectic collection of hand-painted plates, cake holders, and unique kitchen ornaments that really personalize his brand.
- Build and strengthen customer relations regularly. When he first began, Mahmood would deliver the baked goods himself to the surprise of his customers. This allowed him to strategically build relationships with his customers and expand his target audience. Combined with his savvy social media skills, Mahmood became more recognized because of his personal, customer-centered approach.
- Accept feedback and constructive criticism despite how challenging it may be, Mahmood recommends you take note and build on the critiques leveled against you or your brand. The feedback he gets from his clients has not only helped him improve but also grow as a baker.
- Stay accessible. Despite having a large following on social media and a hectic schedule, Mahmood is the main point of contact for his brand and is easily accessible through Snapchat and WhatsApp. When customers want to order or inquire about a specific topic, they deal with him directly and the cake is based on the specific needs and occasion.
- Collaborate and network with others. Janahi has previously supplied desserts to restaurants such as Grub Shack (located in Hamala) and Crave (located in Riffa) and collaborated with a date shop called Al Aseeb (located in Riffa) to create baked goods for Ramadan. Building a network also allows you to grow at a faster pace. Staying relevant is essential.
In a nutshell, Mahmood asserts, “You need to have passion. You need to be original. You need to have a product that you’ve invested everything in—because then it will show. You need to be willing to put in the hours, be patient, be passionate about what you’re doing and selling”
What advice does he have for eager bakers, aspiring chefs, and entrepreneurs generally speaking? “Always aim to improve and develop yourself through feedback and research. You need to constantly innovate. Treat people the way you like people to treat you. You need to give to get.”
We can’t help but feel inspired and motivated by Mahmood to get our own passions going in the Bahraini market– don’t you?