Thursday, April 23, 2009

free greeting cards

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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.

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