As a child, you don’t put any thought behind doing what you love. It’s when you become an adult that what you do becomes serious business. As a child, I would always gravitate to playing with the miniature stove at kindergarten.
I loved baking from an early age and nothing made me happier than seeing the expressions on the faces of my friends when they tasted my chocolate-chip cookies.
You can’t make money doing that!
Baking remained a passion through my school years but I virtually abandoned it during my university years. I had decided to do a B.Sc. because I didn’t even think about cooking as a possible career choice and nobody else that it was possible either. ‘
Evidently, when Oprah was asked as a child what she thought of doing as an adult, she mentioned that she liked talking to people. She was told that she couldn’t make money doing that! I would never have imagined while I was studying that one day, I would be successfully selling products at pop-up shops.
Marriage and children intervenes
After university, I married my soul mate and quickly became a mother. The second child followed in quick succession and my hands were full. I hardly had time to make meals, let alone bake.
As my kids grew out of nappies and became more independent, I began to rediscover my love for baking. I started experimenting with new recipes and my kids were always begging me to bake. At birthday parties, the other mothers would always tell me I should sell my cakes and cookies but I never took their comments seriously.
A series of unfulfilling jobs
As my three kids reached school-going age and money was tight, I decided I would have to find a job. Once again, I didn’t think of baking as a skill I could use to make money. I went through a series of jobs – graphic designer, lab assistant and office manager. I didn’t absolutely hate my jobs but they were simply a necessity and didn’t give me any real feeling of accomplishment.
Returning to my first love
It was only when my kids became more independent that I started some serious introspection. When I thought about what I really loved doing, I realized that baking was my passion. It started moving from the back of my mind to the forefront. I started reading about how other women had successfully transitioned from baking as a hobby to doing it as a business.
I did some research on cost-effective ways to start selling my baked goods. This led to a decision to ask a few companies whether they would be interested in having a pop-up store in their space. I thought the worst thing they could say was ‘no.’
Once I received a resounding “yes,” I panicked a little. Opening my first pop-up store was quite a steep learning curve. I realized the importance of letting people know when and where I would be popping up. I already had social media accounts, but I had to learn how to use them to promote my business.
When people ask me what I do for a living, I can now proudly say that I sell my own baked goods at pop-up stores. I am happy, successful and doing what I love at last, even if I have to get up at midnight to bake cupcakes at times. There is nothing like the glow that comes from the accomplishment and the fact that the power is in my hands to make it happen.