Thursday, April 23, 2009

sitting down with... ZEELICIOUS Confectionary Delights

Photo Credit: Zainab Saleem

I found Zainab of ZEELICIOUS Confectionary Delights through an ad she had posted on kijiji. I visited her Facebook page and browsed through her photos and suddenly I was seeing stars! I had to message her right away and ask her about her business. As a planner, I like to hear perspective from other people in the industry and I was so interested in ZEELICIOUS that Zainab and I began to message back and forth, learning about each other. I asked her the other day if she would give us a little glimpse into what goes into her cake and confectionery business.

How did you start your business?
Frankly, to tell you the truth, a friend was the one who inspired me to get into this. I have no formal training as a pastry chef, [but] I do have a Bachelors Degree in Design. I ordered my sons first birthday cake from my friend who has been in the business for about five years now. I looked at the cake and I thought 'I can do this. It's a little bit of sculpture, a little bit of design with some painting, a little architecture and boom , you have a piece of art.'
As far as baking itself was concerned, I started that really young, inspired by my mom's love of fresh loaves of bread and decadent desserts. A lot of the recipes she had were actually created by my grandmother and my mom together, so you could say they are a bit of a family secret :).

How would you describe your work?
The best way to describe my work would be 'art' I would like to think of myself as an artist rather than a pastry chef or baker. That is how I see every cake project: a piece of art. I put a lot of heart and love into [each cake] so that every single cake is its very own masterpiece; not just great to look at, but equally great to taste.

Who are your main customers?
I cant really say my work caters to one particular kind of customer . Lately I have been doing a lot of children's cakes, but I have wedding orders lined up for the summer. For me, each and every customer is important, be it a large order or small.

What information from your customers helps you best envision what they are looking for?
In terms of design, if it's a child's cake I would ask what the child's favourite cartoon character is? Favourite toy? Is there a theme to the party that the customer would like me to work with?
For weddings, again the theme is important. Colour scheme is another consideration and for brides that like it very customized, I like to incorporate the design or bead work on their dresses into the cake [design].

Describe your typical day.
I’m a stay at home mom, so my typical day revolves around my four-year-old daughter and my very energetic two-year-old son. And, during the somewhat chaotic day-to-day life that any stay at home mom has, I manage to attend a few phone calls and jot down a few emails to my clients.

What is the most difficult part of running your business?
The challenging part of running a business from home is trying to juggle your day-to-day life with all the little extras of running a business. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful support system of family, especially my husband, around me who look after my little darlings when mommy is "working". And, since my cakes are almost always due on weekends, it helps me to be a regular stay at home mom with a weekend job.

What is the most rewarding part of running your business?
The most rewarding part of my business would be when the clients actually see their cakes. I remember there was one time when a mom came to pick up her 2-year-old daughter's cake and stood there in front of the cake, just staring at it. I was very unsure as to what she thought because she just stood there for what seemed to me was a long time, until I finally asked her what she thought. She gave me the biggest smile and a big hug, [and] needless to say she loved her cake. But its always rewarding when a client really appreciates the time and effort and all the hard work you have put into their order.

Zainab donates a percentage of profit from every ZEELICIOUS order to SickKids Foundation.
Visit the ZEELICIOUS Confectionary Delights Facebook page for more information.


ruheen,  April 23, 2009 at 11:17 PM  

Zainab is amazing at what she does. Not only does she take care of her customers, she goes one step further!

Shehneela April 24, 2009 at 2:02 AM  

Zainab is super talented. I so want to order her cakes here back in Pakistan :)
Maybe one day we can do that! ;)

Anonymous,  April 24, 2009 at 6:25 AM  

aeee! i know a celebrity! hehehe! I'm so proud of you Jema...and i was just telling anam your more an artist then a chef anyday because you treat each cake like your own personal sculpture and shes like whatever apey! and i went like go ASK her..Cuz NCA or Indus does that to a person..and now You've just said it ALL! ps. I am ALSO your biggest fan!!
and please fb me your email addy..i have a picture of this cake that papa told me to send you ..hehe i think you'll find it Verrry interesting!

Anonymous,  April 24, 2009 at 6:26 AM  

oops and this is Ashoo btw lol

Anonymous,  April 24, 2009 at 1:27 PM  

Zainab, Whenever I did the flowers at the Bracknell RAF Mess, everyone said "surely youre as good as Ruby" and I thot "u wish!" Never could I replicate Ruby's touch with the flowers. I doubt if anyone will be able to replicate yours w/ pastry art. God Bless and may you prosper. Seemi Auntie

Anonymous,  April 24, 2009 at 3:29 PM  

Wow!!! I'm so proud of you Zainab. They say that hard work and love always shows in what a person does. I can definitely say the same for your work. Your creativity, imagination and most of all inspiration is always admired. Wishing you all the best in everything you do !!! xoxox Hena

Anonymous,  April 24, 2009 at 4:53 PM  

Ruheen, Shehnilla, Semi Aunty and Hena,
i am greatly humbled by all your lovely comments and well wishes. thankyou once again for your great support and love.

Anam,  April 25, 2009 at 5:39 AM  

ZAINAB BAJI IS THE COOLEST. I'm your biggest fan. You're the besttttttt.

nabeeha,  May 2, 2009 at 3:09 PM  

zanib appa u are just tooooo good..amazing

Anonymous,  May 28, 2009 at 1:25 PM  

I am very pleased to have read htis....I have my first one ordered for June for my 25 yr old daughter's birthday....a Tiffany's Box, I am sure it is going to be just fab!!! Lots more to celebrate in my life so more cakes will be in order....and on order! ;)

Anonymous,  February 6, 2010 at 5:30 PM  

Zanib is very telented I was speechless when I saw the pics of her cakes they were more then perfect so much detail & even those things or details were there which anybody can ever imagen just amazing & above all she has no proper training with two young kids around it's really very very super woman effort by her hats off to u Zanib you rock dear May Allah always bless u with the very best of everything takecare Asmi

Cameron Scott August 12, 2011 at 10:39 AM  

Exquisite art in such a sweet cake - how awesome! Turning a cake into an awesome masterpiece and a palatable delight at the same time is indeed an art form in its own. Her business is really poised to take off to greater heights, and she can really be an inspiration to those who'd like to start incorporating art into their business. What's needed really is some capital, inspiration, and motivation!

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