It is said that people who truly enjoy and are interested in their work gain more success than others. G.Uyanga is one of many who successfully turned their hobbies into a job. She makes art through the making of pastries, desserts, breads, and other baked goods.
Last week, she announced a contest on Facebook and gave away a collection of the finest bakeries she ever made to the winners. She shared details of the contest and her career in the following interview.
Why did you announce a contest on Facebook? In total, how many people took part?
It’s been three years since I started making customized cakes and delicacies. During this period, I received so much support from strangers who shower me with compliments and say I’m an inspiration to them. One day I thought, “Why shouldn’t I make them happy?”
Since the start of the contest, around 870 people left comments on Facebook, 1,200 to 1,300 people liked the contest, and similar amount of people wrote comments on Instagram. I didn’t expect so many people to participate when I first planned out the contest. I originally planned to choose two people from Facebook and another two from Instagram, but I selected eight people.
You personally delivered the delicacies. How did the winners react?
They were very happy. They had been waiting for me since morning and even prepared gifts especially for me. That encourage me so much. How did you feel getting compliments and comments from over 870 people?
I actually planned on using random.org application to choose winners at random but I couldn’t figure it out so instead, I copied each and every comment by hand, cut them into strips and picked them out randomly. I knew that people around me knew about me to some extent but I never imagined that so many people saw me as an inspiration, looked up to me, and were encouraged by what I do. I was overwhelmed reading the comments. Among them was a person who wrote that she found the true meaning of happiness while doing what she loves after seeing me. She also said that she opened a small buuz and dumpling restaurant.
It’s obvious that there will be numerous obstacles and difficulty ahead of you when trying to reach a goal or dream.You should overcome them each and every time.
You studied a completely different field at university. When did you start baking cakes?
I earned my master’sin marketing from the National University of Mongolia. I had a lot of free time during my university years because I didn’t get opportunities to work. I enjoyed cooking as a child. I used to always try out new recipes and imitate others’ cooking. While I studied in university, a [Facebook] group named “Sweet Kitchen” opened and I got to experiment with new recipes after joining the group. It could be said that my desire to make cakes grew stronger since then.
The gift collection for the winners included seven types of delicacies. What were they?
Winners got a cupcake, a fruit tart, a mousse cake, a cheese cake, a spartak cake, an éclair, and a macaroon cake.
Is it true that you run your Facebook page with your mother? In general, how much did your mother influence you in cake baking?
My mother’s influence would probably reach 200 percent. My mother is an excellent cook. Every meal she cooks tastes delicious because she puts her heart into them. She always reminds me to cook whole-heartedly for the person who will eat it afterwards as it will become a medicine for them. Even now, my parents take care of me. I probably reached this far thanks to their help and support.
While there are many who successfully combined their hobby with their profession, there are plenty of others who aren’t able to do so. What would you like to tell those people?
From my observation, it seems that Mongolian young people easily get discouraged. A few days ago, a girl wrote to me that she wanted to live like me, doing what she loved and find contentment in it. She is interested in make-up but says that not many people pursue this career in Mongolia and that it made her uncertain whether she could be different from others, like me. She told me that she gets easily discouraged and asked me to give her advice. I’ve been baking customized cake for three years now. People are just starting to become aware of me. Yet, Mongolians want to reach success immediately in just a month or a year. They lose hope and give up midway if they aren’t able to do so. The secret to success is in not feeling discouraged and not giving up.
I felt discouraged countless times before. Some people criticized that I stayed in the kitchen alone all the time when I’m supposed to be an economist. However, I regained my strength and motivation from the warm and encouraging support of customers. I advise those who desire a quick success to give up that idea. It’s obvious that there will be numerous obstacles and difficulty ahead of you when trying to reach a goal or dream.You should overcome them each and every time. Like many women, I decided last August to lose weight as well. So far, I lost 16 kg in total. This is also the result of my patience and persistence.
Can you share your experience in losing weight with every other person trying to lose a couple of pounds?
Like I said before, you need to see the end without giving up. It occurred to me that women try to lose a lot of weight and become glamorous in an instant. For example, maybe lose seven kg in just a week. Rapid weight loss is extremely harmful to health. In my case, I love sweet things but sugar tightens fat instead of breaking it down. That’s why I erased all types of candy and soda from my diet. It was really hard for the first few months. I would instantly search out for candy with my eyes and crave to eat sweet things. By overcoming that desire, I became closer to my goal and what I truly wanted.
What do you enjoy the most about baking cakes?
Baking a cake isn’t as simple as imitating something while looking at a photograph. It requires many types of skills. First, I will discuss with my client. I will add my own opinion to comments from the client. I like to bake meaningful cakes with tiny touches that hold significance. I would ponder what kind of cake would suit the birthday party of a 12-months-old baby, birthday party of a two-year-old, a wedding, or a traditional hair-cutting ceremony of children. I try to connect it to the occasion and put as much significance and meaning into the cake as possible.
What is the significance of a cake in your perspective?
Most people eat cakes when they crave something sweet. It’s the same for me. A cake is meant to look and taste delicious. Cake is the essence of a feast table. Precisely because of that, a cake is very significant.
Is it true that you decorate birthday party tables for children?
That’s right. Lately, parents have been giving a lot of importance in celebrating their children’s first birthday party and hair-cutting ceremonies. That’s why I’ve been decorating tables of these types of celebrations.
Recently, what kind of cakes have you been baking the most?
I bake all kinds of cakes. I mostly make cakes covered with fondant icing, but lately, I’ve been frequently making cheesecakes. The number of clients increase as soon as I upload a new photograph of a cheesecake.
Can you share about the first cake order you received?
My friend was my first customer. She asked me to bake a cake for her boyfriend’s birthday. I wanted to decorate the cake with a memorable moment of theirs. Now that I think about it, the decoration was horrendous. Still, it’s a good memory.
Your decorations are very unique. How do you come up with them?
Baking a cake doesn’t require much time. Most of the time is spent on the decoration. People get their first impressions from the decoration of a cake. In other words, decorations are closely linked to people’s appetite. As for decoration ideas, I mainly get inspirations from the internet. While talking to clients, I ask them if they could share their story and then, we come up with ideas based on it. Some people bring images of the cake they want.
Was there any client who asked you to make an impossible cake to bake?
Yes, but I never promise to do something that I’m incapable of. I would be wasting valuable material and time, give false hope to clients, and make them wait uselessly.
Some people are cautious about buying cakes from individuals as they can’t guarantee the quality. What do you think about this?
People who tasted my cakes never ask me that sort of question. People who come for the first time to order a cake sometimes ask if I have inspection papers. Getting inspection papers requires baking two of each kind of cake. However, we don’t have a standard cake design because every cake we make is one-of-a-kind. Moreover, I have regular customers who haven’t had any problems or negative effects from consuming the cakes I bake.
How much does a customized cake cost?
The price changes depending on the size and design. A normal-sized cake costs 65,000 to 76,000 MNT. I used to think that I charge quite high but compared to cake factories, it is really cheap. Jur-Ur Bakery makes two-tier cakes for 390,000 MNT, but I make it for around 100,000 to 120,000 MNT.
How many days in advance should customers order cakes?
Clients are required to order 14 days prior, but our customers order it a month in advance as we receive many orders. The schedule for June had already became packed with orders by June 3. There seems to be many people who try baking the same cakes as you for their family and close friends on their own.
What would you advise those people?
People often ask if I will organize cake baking classes. I don’t get opportunities to organize open classes because I’m packed with orders. Instead, I published two calendars for housewives. One of them includes food recipes and the other contains recipes for cakes and delicacies.
Photographs, ingredients, and instruction for baking a certain cake, pastry or delicacy are all included in the calendar.
How did you come up with that idea?
My parents publish children’s storybooks. They came up with the idea of a recipe calendar.
What are your dreams and hopes for the future?
There are tons of people who bake cakes. The main difference between them and I is that I handle my own marketing because I majored in finance and economy. I don’t think there’s any other person who decorates birthday tables like me. My dream is to establish a children’s complex decorated for birthday parties. It will have a playground for children to play and an area for parents to sit and chat.
I am doing fairly well thanks to children and their positive energy. I’ve never been short of orders.There are people who accept their job as if it’s a sentence. Working with that kind of mind will get you nowhere.