Maries Kitchen: Cakes for Every Occasion
BY JOY OFASIA
Baking is loved by many and is one of the most well-known hobby people passionate and have turn into moneymaking. Well here in Solomon Islands many talented bakers have turned their baking passion beautifully into own businesses and among these cake lovers is Marisa Pepa who owns her own Cake business called “Maries Kitchen” in Honiara.
When did you start baking?
I started baking in 2015.
What motivated you or who inspired you?
On my Son’s first birthday we ordered a cars theme cake from one of our local bakers who later became a dear friend of mine. The cake didn’t turn out good because I think the flour was bad. Being a first birthday, first child every mother can relate that the cake is actually a BIG deal! I was really disappointed as I wanted everything to be perfect. Right after our son’s birthday I vowed to myself that from now on I must teach myself how bake so that on each of his birthday I will make him the perfect cake. 7 years on I am still teaching myself, improving my baking skills and helping other women learn that skill too. My inspiration is my son and eldest child Andy.
When did you start Maries Kitchen?
I officially registered Marie’s Kitchen at the Company Haus in 2015. Back then I would not call it a business, but more a hobby baker. For the first 5 years I worked on my own, baking after hours and especially on weekends as I have a full-time job. In 2020 because of the demand, I trained two of my sisters and now we’re operating full time Mon-Sat.
What are your services?
Our slogan is “Cakes for every occasion”. We make birthday cakes, theme cakes, wedding cakes and cupcakes. Our cakes come in chocolate, vanilla, banana and lime flavours. With a standard cake sizes ranging from Small, medium and Large.
What are some challenges you face when starting off this business?
When I first started 7 years ago, time was my biggest challenge. Being a full time working mum, I bake when the kids go to bed around 8pm (depends) and before they wake up in the morning. I get 2-4 hours of sleep most weekends. I was literally sleep deprived! Secondly, managing my finances. I have no clue whatsoever on how to do proper bookkeeping, I spend every dollar I make just ensuring I have enough left to buy ingredients for my next set of cake orders. Thinking about it now it was such a huge loss! And finally getting the proper utensils, equipment’s, ingredients for cake making. Currently, bulk shop is the only one stop shop for cakers. Once certain ingredients run out we’re left to wait for weeks even months.
What do you love most about cake making? Why?
For me seeing the joy on a child’s face when they see their cakes or blows out their birthday candles that is the most satisfying feeling. Knowing that I was part of creating and being part of special occasions in a child’s life and family. When I see a child jumping up and down in the car or with the biggest smile on their face at the sight of their cake is the best feeling ever!
What advise you would give to encourage women and girls into baking?
Baking is a skill that you develop over time, if you’re a working mom you will need to make time for baking. As mothers we have our hands full most of the time. It takes some patience and sacrifice. With selling cakes you get to earn a little extra to support your family.
Over the years I have women asking me for recipes and cake tips which I freely share. Since last year I have been running trainings for women who would like to learn how to bake a cake. More than a hundred women have attended my classes to date. My belief is when I share my skills I get many more returns and so far I can testify to that. I would like to also state that I am a self-taught caker. I do not hold any qualification on cake making, what I share with women is my personal experience over the past 7 years. With technology you can basically teach yourself anything online. I learn a lot by watching cake videos on youtube and I’d encourage other new bakers to do so too. Cake making is a good business because every day is a birthday.