Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I come from a close knit family with four other siblings. I migrated to Australia 17 years ago. In my past life I was a Senior Financial Adviser for 12 years before I decided to become a full time mom so I can be wiith my three children aged 14, 9 and 6. At present I work in the public sector and during my “me time” dabble in Cake Decorating.
Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?
I am a very frustrated artist at heart – I love creating things with my hands on paper, playdough and now with Fondant! My love for art and the ability to connect with my feelings, emotions and ideas through a medium is what inspires me to keep going. But what really drove me to start this business is my wanting to provide good quality (preservative and artificial free) hard to find cakes and cupcakes. Most cakes in the market are out of reach for the average household and I wanted to be able to provide that.
Hand Painted Anime Cake
Where do you get your inspiration from when you cake decorating?
I’ve always believed everyone deserves to have a cake made specially for them. Whenever I am commissioned to make a cake, I try to find out as much as I can about the person receiving the cake. I try to get a feel of their personality and project that into the cake decoration, colours, taste and texture. I dont want to deliver just a great tasting cake but my aim is to ensure I build a relationship with the client as well.
What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?
I’ve actually asked my friends this question, people who have known me through various stages of my life. The resounding descriptions are: “Neurotic, creative, passionate, spiritual, simple yet complex”…. Hmmmm….Definitely Neurotic!!!!
Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
My very first job was an On the Job Training (OJT) as part of my university degree requirement – I was a sales rep for Tupperware!!!! I did that for three terms and that was tough!!! We were also required to set up our own business and designed (along with other group members) a series of stuffed animals cum carry pouch and voila the Angel Pig was born! We sold hand made fabric photo albums and various other knick knacks as well.
After graduating I landed a role as Customer Service for a local bank (in the Philippines), then when I transferred to Australia within 10 months my branch manager recommended me to be trained as a Personal Adviser/Financial Planner. Twelve years later and then four years ago when I experienced a major change within my family, I decided to leave everything behind and start fresh – a baking business was not the intention but exactly 12 months ago my children and I for want of something exciting to do decided to make cake pops to sell to the kids in our street – we wanted to make it real so we created a Facebook page with the intention of closing it down after a week. We were greatly surprised when someone ordered and thought, this is a one off and will close it down after this order…. but this order turned into another and another until my sister bought me a fridge and thereby making it now impossible to stop.
Describe a typical day in your Kitchen /baking space?
I dont actually have a separate day for baking….because I work during the day and look after my kids, I usually insert any baking time in between work and mom time. So, a typical baking session would usually start with my browsing in the internet for a few hours to a few days usually during the night. Once I get the design I want I will then decide on the type of cake, filling, height of cake. Then I would plan out the design and medium for the design -fondant, modelling chocolate or buttercream/ganache. I then schedule everything by working backwards from the date of delivery to baking to decoration making. A typical cake can take me -from idea to the end product- a week to two weeks to make.
As a cake decorator, what is your biggest frustration?
My biggest frustration would probably be not being able to get enough challenging cake design orders-Ha, ha, ha! Cake decorating as in most art based work is still very much under appreciated and some people do not wish to pay for quality or creativity. There is also so much wastage created in baking —something that I totally dislike.
Tell us about how you prioritise your work.
With making a cake I put a lot of priority (and time) in research —- keep researching until you know that your design is the most suitable, the process as streamlined as possible, the recipe you use will be perfect and the chosen medium to cover and make the decorations with are the right ones. It is also very important to have a set time frame (when to bake, when to cover the cake, when to make the decorations, when to put things together) and to actually know what step in your cake process require the most time. Once you know this, you can then schedule your workload appropriately.
Loubotin Shoe Cake
Tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?
I mostly rely on word of mouth. I believe building a good relationship with your clients are the best and most effective advertising you will ever have. I am also very blessed to have very good friends and family who are very supportive and actively market my products – even if there is no cake in it for them! Facebook and Instagram is what I also use. Most orders and inquiries though go through our Facebook page.
What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?
Be brave and flexible!!!! Sometimes, you have to stop mulling things over and over and just dive in! There is a tendency to over think things. If you have the talent, the time and the perseverance then there is nothing else you need….except of course some form of starting capital ( for me it was money for basic ingredients, a bowl, a mixing spoon and a bread knife!!) AND bucket loads of patience! Finally, I have said this earlier – SPEND TIME ON RESEARCH!!! “Knowledge is POWER!!
What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?
That’s a very tough question, maybe lets confine this to cake decorating — I would love to do a giant wedding cake, a realistic Tree Cake (preferably a leafless tree), more artistic real life looking cakes as opposed to fantasy cakes. Oh and expand my alcohol based cupcakes!
Alcohol based cupcakes
What is your proudest moment so far?
I believe I am still living that proud moment you see I went to India last year and a fortune teller told me that I have everything that I NEED. Realising that what I need – my family, children and friends – is more important than what I want, that is a proud moment.
Who do you most want to meet and why?
The man of my dreams??? Hahahaha! Seriously, Stephen King or Robin Williams, David Jon Kassan or Heston Blumenthal! I’d love to pick their brains on their thought process!!
What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?
You have to hang on to your FAITH. You need to be able to believe that there is something bigger than yourself and every single thing you do is part of something much much bigger. You are not an accident, there is a reason why you were born, why you are here and there is a reason as to why you go through things in life, the people you meet , the choices you make, the experiences you have, they all have a reason for being.
What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?
Ah, I must apologise I am in the middle of three books depending on what mood I am in – The Artist, the Philosopher and the Warrior – a book about the intersecting lives of Da Vinci, Machiavelli and Borgia, Eat Pray Love – just because of the movie and Level 26 Dark Origins – because I want to train myself to understand uncomfortable things…. I read a lot of reference and autobiographical books like the Professor and the Mad Man – a book about how the dictionary was made. I cant recommend A BOOK but what I do recommend is to read ALL TYPE OF BOOKS specially historical books as opposed to sticking to just a popular writer or to just one genre.
Where do we find you and your products? (list stores & links, websites )
Cups ‘n Cakes with Yazie can be found in Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CupsnCakesWithYazie
and in Instagram @CupsnCakeswithYazie
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