Here’s a quick trivia. In the very first Pursuit Manila gathering, when we had to work with a very small budget and weren’t sure yet if anyone was going to show up at all, Playtime Cakeshop sent us some of their specialty krinkles without expecting or asking for anything in return.
And well, if you’ve joined our gatherings or followed my blog recaps, you know that since then, yummy (and pretty!) pastries are always part of our gatherings (and flatlays!) ;)
What I’m really trying to say is, Playtime Cakeshop has played a special role in the early beginnings of Pursuit Manila, and I’ll always be grateful to Thessam, founder and chef, for her generosity. One can expect that someone who’s got a heart as generous as her must have a really humbling and inspiring story to begin with. And so today in our Dream Chaser series, Thessa shares the story about how she pursued her calling as a pastry chef and successfully built a brand out of her passion.
Read on and learn from her!
Playtime Cakeshop was first known for its custom-made fondant Celebration Cakes and Pastries. Eventually, and eventually started offering sugar cookies, cupcakes, and gourmet desserts.
Share a little bit about how your business started or why you started it.
Five years ago, I made a cake for my mother’s fiftieth birthday. It was no ordinary cake, as it was made with love, but importantly, it was something I enjoyed doing. Then the idea hit me. Why not turn it into a business where I can make many people happy, by providing them a celebration staple, through something I enjoy doing.
To me, baking and decorating cakes is an activity comparable to that of a kid’s play time – it provides me stress relief, an avenue for my creativity, and an excuse to broaden my horizons. From just a hobby, it became a small online business which I originally named “Playtime by Thessam Maranan.”
Eventually my market grew thanks to social media and word of mouth. From there I thought “why stop there? Why not have my own physical shop where it would make it more convenient for both my clients and for me to distribute “happiness” in the form of cakes and desserts. So I strived harder to accumulate funds to open up my physical cake shop. Finally, on February 15, 2015, my shop was finally opened.
Which part of the creative / business process that you enjoy?
Having a business centered on making cakes and pastries definitely involves cleanliness and sanitation, proper planning and scheduling of tasks and orders, and careful organization of ingredients, tools, and equipment used. I start the day by checking orders and inquiries on Facebook or via SMS or Viber, and plotting on the calendar when the orders are due.
In terms of job delegations, I require my staff to properly and thoroughly ensure cleanliness inside the shop. They are to wear proper and clean attire suitable and comfortable enough for them to work inside the establishment. The establishment itself must be clean, so there is a daily regular clean up.
The creative process should start with order, therefore we make sure every bit and ounce of ingredients, and ever single tool or equipment used are in its proper place and container. We also check our stock of supply and products through daily inventory before opening and before closing the shop. Next is to do research based on the motif, pegged design, or descriptions on how the customer wants his or her customized product should look like. After the research is we conceptualize how to put the ideas into actions, then we put all our efforts into it.
What else is in store for your customers and supporters moving forward?
The dream that is yet to be fulfilled is that of expanding even further. I want to branch out my Playtime Cakeshop to as many locations in the NCR, next is to branch out nationwide. I want to provide edible happiness in the form of creatively made cakes and pastries to everyone as much as possible. I want to expand not only in the number of stores but also in the product variety. Hopefully soon it would not only be a cake shop with just cakes and pastries where customers could only drop by and pick up their orders, but a wide space where customers can buy drinks with their order of cakes and other dessert, and take their time to chill and relax. I want to let the customers experience their own form of “play time” through the result of my “play time”
On Pursuing Passions
There is a quotation that really caught my eye to which I can relate to, “do what you love, and love what you do.” Doing what you truly love and enjoy doing makes the work load much easier. It will no longer appear as you working, instead, it will be you getting paid for a hobby or whatever it is you fancy doing. If you are good at something, and if you love and enjoy what you do then pursue that path and let others experience the joy and fulfillment your product or service can bring.
Our takeaways into building a passionate and meaningful business—
Build a business based on something you love and enjoy doing.
Note that it’s not always the case that pursuing something you love actually turns into a sustainable business. There are many other factors to a success of a business, like market demand, timing, scalability, capital, among others. There are risks involved, and you have to be willing to take them. But just like Thessam, she dared to find out if it’s something that will work, and it did.
Standardize your creative process.
Don’t take your creative process for granted. Document it if you must, so that you can easily scale it to meet a bigger market and eventually delegate repetitive parts of the process to your staff. Just like Thessam who was able to establish a process and a daily routine that lets her delegate to her staff and accommodate orders efficiently.
What makes you happy can make others happy too.
Thessam finds joy in baking for her family; eventually, her passion has become a source of joy for other people’s celebrations. In short, her happiness has become part of other people’s happiness too, and that, in a nutshell, is a meaningful work.
Check out Playtime Cakeshop!
Dream Chasers Blog Series
This post is part of a special blog series where I feature passionate creatives, travelers and dreamers who have made a choice to chase their dreams and pursue what makes their hearts soar.
I believe in learning and finding inspiration from other people’s stories, which is what this series is all about. I hope that as we get to know these dream chasers’ lives and visions and challenges, we find valuable lessons and inspiration that will help us in our own journey. Read more from this series HERE.