Since COVID-19 hit job hunters across Fiji are getting used to rejection letters – so what to do? Mosese Kotobalavu could see the aviation industry was in trouble so he decided to ditch the job hunt and start his own business.
The 24-year-old graduate of the Pacific Flying School ventured into baking brownies to help support his widowed mother and five younger siblings.
“It was hard especially graduating as a pilot, the stakes were high. Everyone was telling me to get a job,” he said.
“So when I could not find employment, I thought of ways to help put food on the table.
But it was not easy. At first, he even faced ridicule but that did not stop him.
“Starting a business was in my heart and I asked God for direction and the strength to push through. Now all of a sudden everyone thinks I made the right decision.
“If you fail, so be it. Start again, failure is better because you learn something new.
Kotobalavu’s pastry business – which goes by the name BroBrownies – is a result of a promise made to his father when he passed away in 2014 from cancer, to always take care of his family.
The then 16-year-old pledged: “No matter the circumstances in life, I will always love my brothers the way our mother does.
“I believe my brownies would bring friends and families together and cherish moments over brownies.
Kotobalavu does most of the baking himself and has developed a range of mouth-watering varieties, including choco chips, pretzel, peanut butter, Hershey kisses, Nutella, toffee and the newest additions Cadbury, cream cheese, yogurt and M&M’s.
He shared one of the fun bits of running BroBrownies.
“Oh the baking! and seeing the smiles on my customers faces and sharing a laugh when I make deliveries.
In a day, BroBrownies has about seven to 10 orders with regular customers helping to keep the business running. By the end of the week the business can earn between $450 to $700.
“COVID made me realise plans are not always going to work out and it’s important to have something to fall back on and this is why I went into pastry.
“While this year may have been a disappointment, I took it as an opportunity to grow and become better.
Through it all, with the business running Kotobalavu is still optimistic that one day he will fly the skies again.
“I love flying and I will get there on God’s time.”
“I will fly one day, it’s just not this season but certainly in the next one. I cope everyday knowing that pride won’t pay the bills.”
Orders can be made on the BroBrownies Instagram page.