Empowering Dreams: Migrant Woman’s Journey from Backpacker to Café Owner

Amidst the vibrant tapestry of Melbourne’s St Kilda lies a sanctuary of warmth and flavour, where the aroma of freshly brewed coffee mingles with the sizzle of gourmet toasties.

Welcome to Sam’s Cafe, a haven born from the indomitable spirit of Mary Akindele, a trailblazing entrepreneur whose journey echoes tales of resilience and triumph.

With roots tracing back to Nigeria and upbringing steeped in the bustling streets of England, Akindele’s odyssey led her to the sun-kissed shores of Melbourne.

“Initially I came to Australia as a backpacker, after travelling through Asia. I stayed because I enjoyed the lifestyle and the weather,” Akindele said.

In January 2021, she unfurled the doors to Sam’s Cafe, a testament to her unwavering dedication to crafting experiences that transcend the ordinary.

Mary Akindele owns Sam's Cafe in Melbourne. Credit: Instagram.
Mary Akindele owns Sam’s Cafe in Melbourne. Credit: Instagram.

Sam’s Cafe swiftly became a beacon of culinary delight, its reputation built on the foundation of premium ingredients and unparalleled hospitality.

Each sip of coffee and bite of toastie bears the imprint of Akindele’s commitment to excellence, a testament to her unwavering pursuit of culinary perfection.

Yet, Akindele’s ascent to success was far from smooth. As a woman of colour navigating the labyrinth of entrepreneurship, she encountered barriers and doubts at every turn.

From the arduous task of securing a venue lease to the subtle challenges of asserting her authority, Akindele confronted adversity with unwavering resolve and unyielding determination.

“I have faced some challenges when it came to finding a venue to rent, as being young, black and a woman is challenging in a space where not many other people look like you, people question your ability,” she said.

“People not believing that I am the boss, this has been challenging in everyday moments at the shop. Even finding employees can sometimes be difficult if they are trying to undermine your ability to lead.”

Akindele recalled moments where she was ready to throw in the towel.

“There have been many times, but sheer perseverance, resilience and reminding myself why I started [helped],” she said.

“The highs always outweigh the low moments in business. So this is something I always remind myself. Surrounding myself with other women in business and recognising we all face similar struggles.

“Looking at women that have been successful and asking them for guidance always helps. Concentrating on the long term goal and recognising that short term problems can be solved.”

In January 2021, she unfurled the doors to Sam's Cafe, a testament to her unwavering dedication to crafting experiences that transcend the ordinary. Credit: Instagram.
In January 2021, she unfurled the doors to Sam’s Cafe, a testament to her unwavering dedication to crafting experiences that transcend the ordinary. Credit: Instagram.

Amidst the trials and tribulations, Akindele found solace in the embrace of her fellow women entrepreneurs, a sisterhood forged in the fires of shared experience and mutual encouragement.

Together, they navigated the tumultuous waters of entrepreneurship, drawing strength from each other’s resilience and fortitude.

For aspiring women of colour embarking on their own entrepreneurial odyssey, Akindele’s wisdom shines as a beacon of guidance. Trust in oneself, she advises, is the cornerstone of success in a world that often seeks to silence their voices.

Surrounding oneself with allies and embracing change as a catalyst for growth are the tools of empowerment that pave the path to greatness.

“My biggest piece of advice is trust yourself, as women of colour we have not been afforded the opportunities that others may have, nor does society give us the confidence to believe in our own decision-making process,” she said.

“I believe in surrounding yourself with people that believe in you as well as trusting your own decision making, these are key to knowing you can achieve your goals.

“I also think being malleable and having the ability to change and adjust with your market and clients, to be able to see what the needs are and adjust your business to meet those needs, being able to adapt to change is what I believe makes businesses successful.”

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, Akindele’s story serves as a testament to the power of resilience, determination, and self-belief in the face of adversity.

Through her journey, she embodies the spirit of empowerment and possibility, inspiring women of colour to seize their dreams with unwavering courage and unyielding resolve.”

This article is featured as part of Back Cover News’ Migrant Women in Business Series, coinciding with International Women’s Day 2024.

Mibenge Nsenduluka

Next Post

Exclusive: Actor Suzan Mutesi Dishes on Viral Tom Cruise Encounter in Debut of Back Cover News Talk Show

Wed Mar 13 , 2024
Back Cover News, a subsidiary of Back Cover Media PTY […]
Back Cover Media founder Mibenge Nsenduluka sits down with Actor Suzan Mutesi on the Back Cover News YouTube show. Credit: supplied.

You May Like