When did you first decide to become an Entrepreneur? And what study or skills you gained to become one?
I came from a family where girls did not work. And I did not know how to even cook an egg prior to my marriage. And it was made clear to my in-laws but thankfully my husband had no issues as he learned to cook himself living abroad. I was only 22 years old, newly married, and homesick in Australia. It was my son’s first birthday and I decided to make a cake myself for my son. When my friends saw the cake, they liked it and thus began my journey as a baker.
I did not have any experience in baking, and I paid $250 for a one-hour class but found it unhelpful especially for a mother with a baby. Also no one ever shared a cake recipe with me even though I shared my recipes with others. I self-learned from Google and Youtube so what I would do is watch over ten or more videos and grab the relevant content and experiment with my cakes until I reach perfection. My husband was very supportive and even though I studied Masters in Commerce with a major in Accounting which gave me some financial skills yet I learnt baking skills on my own.
In 2014, I decided to launch Cakes Décor by Fiza and advertised on Gumtree. I posted an ad in the morning and got a client by afternoon I sold my first cake for $60 and I was so proud because I earned money on my own. I now own a property in Pakistan and my husband never asked me to contribute financially contrary to what many people assume.
What kind of services/products your business provides?
- At Cakes Décor by Fiza, we take cake orders and can make all kinds of cakes including anniversary cakes, birthday cakes, baby shower, bridal shower cakes, Eid cakes, Graduation cakes Ramzan cakes and wedding cakes. Even made an Aqeeqa Cakes!
- I also deliver other desserts such as Brownies, Cake Pops, Cookies, Cupcakes, Macarons, Muffins and Pastries. And recent trend in Pakistan is of Cake Slice which is a cake on an ice cream stick.
- I also provide training classes to other Pakistani women where I teach them how to make cake basic cakes and taught them at my house in Melbourne and hope to continue teaching baking in my house in Gujranwala.
What was the most difficult challenge of being an Entrepreneur?
I had two challenges; firstly, pressure from client for customised cakes and secondly not being aware of the accurate value price of the cake and therefore not getting paid the right amount for due hard work. For example, when I made a Versace (Ver-sa-chee) Cake, I only charged $50 and the market price was $400 plus. Sometimes I get customers bargaining over the price which I had already reduced compared to market value. In such circumstances, you should only promise what you can deliver and stick to the price for your product because customers will not argue at a bakery yet they think they can win bargaining with a housewife!
What are the 3 successful highlights of your career and business? Is there any philanthropic work you are part of in Pakistan?
The First Wedding Cake was a main success because I had never made a wedding cake and clients asked for pictures and I did not have any pictures to show. Thus, getting my first wedding cake was an achievement.
I won the Award of Sweetest Excellence- Designer of the World’s Super Captivating Cake in 2017 held in Melbourne, Australia.
I do charity work at a local level in my network and do not like to advertise it. I have helped pay for weddings of orphaned girls or girls from poor families. Moreover, I also helped a family do umrah and I will continue to help people in this way. I encourage Pakistani youth to continue to help others starting from home as you should help your mothers in the kitchen!
What messages would you like to give to Pakistani youth and other aspiring Entrepreneurs?
Every person has been given a gift from God which you can polish and share with the world. Do not get stuck with an inferiority complex or think that you can not do anything because you are a housewife. Every person has a gift and you should share it with the world. I have three children and one of them is a 6-month old baby. Yet I manage my home and business. My family is my priority and there were no maids or servants helping me in Australia. My son shared cupcakes at his school in Australia and proudly told everyone that his “mum makes yummy cakes!” Him being proud of me, makes me happy and everyone should aspire to such happiness. Lastly, “my work is not my majboori. Stop assuming that women who work do it out of helplessness. Many of us work out of passion!”
Author: Rida Aleem Khan
About the Author: Rida Aleem Khan is an Australia-based Multicultural & Youth Advocate. She believes that sharing success stories of Overseas Pakistani entrepreneurs will encourage and inspire other Pakistani youth and guide them towards global enterprising trends.