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Anna Veloz and her ‘cake business dream’

Meet Anna Veloz, owner of Little Avery Cakes, which was started roughly three years ago only as a “side business”. “When things don’t go the way you expected them to be, the one thing that will keep you going is knowing that this work, this business, is something you really love doing, that you’re here for the long haul.”

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Meet Anna Veloz, owner of Little Avery Cakes, which was started roughly three years ago only as a “side business”.

“I’ve always loved baking, and I’ve always admired decorated cakes. I would always be browsing online for cake photos and then saving them on my computer just because I find them really pretty,” Anna recalled.

And so “it was just a matter of time for me to transition from baking simple pastries to cake decorating, because it was something I was really interested in for years.”

Note that Anna did not immediately start to pursue this line of business; she was, mainly, a hobbyist.

But then “I saw an advertisement online for a two-day cake decorating workshop. I realized I had this ‘cake business dream’ for years and that I had been procrastinating for a long time. So I decided to just go for it, sign up for the class, learn the basics and go from there.”

She was already baking for years, so she already have most of the tools and equipment (like the oven) needed for this line of business. But when she actually started treating this as a business, she had to spend approximately P10,000 to P15,000 initial capital for ingredients and additional tools.

That was how Little Avery Cakes came into business.

“I’ve long admired the works of Peggy Porschen. I was also following so many cake blogs (in the past), and would be ogling on their works for hours on end. There are so many amazing cake artists now more than ever, and they all inspire me. Looking at their work, how flawless it looks, the level of craftsmanship – they inspire me to want to be better. There are still so many areas I can improve on, and I wanted to be at that level where my work can be of inspiration to others too,” Anna said.

Looking back, did she ever imagine she would be going into this field?

“Yes!” Anna beamed. “It was something I’ve been interested in for years, that I just put off so many times.”

It helps, of course, that “I finished a degree in Business Management. It is aligned in a way… not specifically to cake decorating, but it still gave me an edge to have a general understanding of what it would take to enter into business.”

And for people who may want to also open their business, what tips can she give?

“Follow your passion. Do something that you’re really interested in, something that you’re good at, or something that you think you can be good at. You can’t just copy the latest trend. When things don’t go the way you expected them to be, the one thing that will keep you going is knowing that this work, this business, is something you really love doing, that you’re here for the long haul. If it’s something that you think you can do for free for the rest of your life, if time and money were not a factor, then you’ve found your calling!” Anna ended.

Visit Little Avery Cakes for more information, call 0908-488-2574, or email littleaverycakes@gmail.com.

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‘Don’t be afraid to take risks’ – Diana Abne

For Diana Abne, owner of Sugar Mommah PH – established in 2020 with a startup capital of only P5,000 – people should find their passion. “It is never too late to find new passions and goals in life. Find what your strengths are and what are your weaknesses … build your business from there.”

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To help ease the anxiety brought by COVID-19 (while augmenting income at that), Diana Abne established Sugar Mommah PH in June 2020 with a start-up capital of only around P5,000.

“It started as a passion project,” said the single mom, though “I have always loved cooking for my family (even if) I haven’t tried baking. But during the pandemic, I wanted to learn something new and add new skills, (so I started baking).”

It helped that people around her were supportive.

The oven she uses, for instance, “was a gift from my parents,” Diana said. And other family members and friends “became my first customers.”

These are also the very people who “inspire me to make good food.”

Looking back, it never occurred to Diana he’d go into this line of business.

“I always thought I do not have the patience nor the discipline to bake,” she said. “In cooking, I have always trusted my instincts in mixing spices and flavors. But in baking, everything has to be exact. I graduated Communication Arts in UST and is currently working as a Social Media Manager for a digital company. It is not aligned with my current business although it helps me in handling my social media pages.”

But yes, the decision to open Sugar Mommah PH was a good one.

“It is already profitable,” Diana smiled. “I was able to get my ROI within three months.”

Obviously, there are still challenges; as is normal for any business.

“The biggest challenge and struggle for me is handling my business, my work and being a mom. I live alone with my kid with no hired help so I am very much hands-on in everything – from cleaning the house to homestudy with my 7-year-old,” she said. “I get to adapt by following a very strict routine and schedule. I wake up at 5:00AM so I can have my me time and start cleaning and cooking. Baking time is scheduled every weekend since I only accept weekend orders, as of now.”

Business-wise, a challenge is “making sure that I have something unique and new in my shop. With the pandemic ongoing, food business quadrupled, and my competitors have years of experience in baking and decorating. I used to envy them and feel bad about myself but I realized that like most in life, we are on different levels.”

“I always remind myself that I will be able to achieve their successes in time. I don’t need to rush things and I need to take it slowly. As long as someone still believes in me and as long as I don’t give up, I can achieve their successes too in my own time.”

DIANA ABNE
Owner, Sugar MommaH PH

Diana also eyes to succeed for her son. “I am a single mom and he inspires to do everything, so I can help him make his dream come true.”

To others who are looking at opening a business, Diana suggested facing their fears.

“Don’t be afraid to take risks. I firmly believe that if it scares you, it means that you are one step away in changing your life. It is in that moment of fear that you should jump and go for it,” she said.

Another advice would be to “find your passion. We are trained to believe that we can only have one passion in life but I learned that your passion can change in every stage in your life. It is never too late to find new passions and goals in life. Find what your strengths are and what are your weaknesses … build your business from there,” Diana ended.

Wanna try the savory offerings of Sugar Mommah PH? Head to Facebook or Instagram: @sugarmommahph; or send a message to Viber/WhatsApp 09177537804.

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Some people won’t understand your product, but they’d recognize quality – Chris Bezuidenhout

Chris Bezuidenhout started Braai Brothers Philippines in 2016 with a startup capital of only P10,000. That was a good move, since Braai Brothers Philippines made a mark.

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Braai Brothers Philippines was started in 2016 with a startup capital of only P10,000.

“My family has been in the food industry for many generations, and the love for quality South African food is a family tradition,” said Chris Bezuidenhout, adding that his late grandfather was a butcher in South Africa for many decades, and “his recipes are what I use for my products today. My father, Arnold; and my aunt, Marlene, are responsible for keeping the recipes safe all these years.”

In 2016, “I was making the(se) products for personal consumption and for occasions with friends. After a few people said that it was good enough that they would pay for it, I decided to turn my passion into a business.”

That was a good move, since Braai Brothers Philippines made a mark.

Looking back, and because of his family’s history, “anyone (who) pushes innovation while acknowledging and respecting the lessons of the past is who inspires me,” Chris said.

Chris actually came to the Philippines because of the BPO industry.

“I started my career in the catering industry and spent a decade learning the trade including training as a chef before switching to the BPO industry,” he said. But having worked with the BPO industry, he also learned “managing a successful business. Even though they are vastly different businesses, the BPO industry taught me how to manage the financial aspect as well as what world class customer service is.”

There are still challenges in running Braai Brothers Philippines.

“The biggest challenge I have (is) balancing my BPO career, the business and family life,” he said. “I am all about a balanced approach to life and always aim to ensure that each get their quality time to ensure all are successful.”

Braai Brothers Philippines already reached ROI; in fact, this was reached “within the first few months,” he said. This may be because “I had a low initial investment and have pushed profits back into the business in order to improve equipment and quality. It is profitable and continues to grow slowly but surely.”

For people who may want to also open their business, what tips can Chris give?

“Follow your passion. People may not understand your product at first but they will recognize your drive. If your market is limited in size then stand out by your quality, your customer service and your business values. By doing this, your market will grow organically,” Chris ended.

If you want to get in touch with Braai Brothers Philippines, visit their Facebook page @Braai Brothers Philippines (https://www.facebook.com/braaibrothersph), check out their website (https://braaibrothers.one/), or send them a message via mobile phone/WhatsApp/Viber at 09272588688.

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‘Don’t be scared to work hard’ – Paul Theunissen

Covid-19 pushed the establishment of The Bushveld Kitchen by husband and wife Paul and Mary Jane Theunissen in July 2020 with around PhP30,000 capital. “Don’t be scared to work hard,” Paul said. “A lot of time and effort will reap the benefits.”

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The Bushveld Kitchen was established by husband and wife Paul and Mary Jane Theunissen in July 2020 with around PhP30,000 capital. Covid-19 pushed them to start the business, actually, since Paul is a foreigner and relied on contracts abroad to earn income while here; and all contracts came to a stop due to Covid-19. They also had to make a living for their two sons, Joe Carlos and Paul Jr.

The business, said Paul, is “something that is unique that you don’t (commonly) find in the Philippines (since it offers) authentic South African delicacies.”

Looking back, Paul said they didn’t think they’d become business people. Yeah, they loved eating the dishes; but it never occurred to them “I’ll make it for an income,” he smiled.

There is continuous learning.

For instance, “getting the right meat for the product. Specific cuts are needed for each product. If you don’t get the right cut, it will not come out as the same product you find in South Africa. It will either be chewy when it comes to the Biltong and Droewors, or too dry and no taste when it comes to the wors.”

But they learned “to demand the right cuts from the butcher.”

Has the business reached ROI?

“If it was not for daily expenses to pay for the bills and buy food, it will be a profitable company. I’m sure in another year’s time I’ll reach my goal to have enough customers,” Paul said. But “slowly the company is growing… with new customers wanting to try the products. I have a lot of customers that return weekly to buy again. Some come back monthly.”

But yeah, this is a profitable venture, he smiled.

And for people who may want to also open their business, what tips can Paul give?

“Don’t be scared to work hard,” Paul said. “A lot of time and effort will reap the benefits.”

If you want to get in touch with The Bushveld Kitchen, contact them through WhatsApp or Viber 09062252996; Facebook account @thebushveldkitchen; or email thebushveldkitchen@gmail.com.

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