I knew Sonam when she was a kid working at our family Dairy Queen store about 10 years ago. Recently, I learned of her new business on Facebook through a friend and decided to stop by her bakery one rainy afternoon to pick up some treats for my kids. It’s called Chocal8Kiss and it’s a brand new bakery/cafe located in Manalapan, NJ. She opened in March and is busting her back and making it work…and loving every minute of it!
“I don’t really believe in business plans”, she said as I asked her about opening up a new business in this tough economy. “I know that there is a demand for all kinds of cakes in this town – for weddings & birthdays. Especially unique and specialty cakes. And that’s what I love to do – to make cakes!”
What I find remarkable about Sonam’s story is that she’s 23 years old, has an infectious and positive personality and has just about enough energy to power a 747. She saw an open store in a strip mall in a fairly growing upper middle class town, called the landlord, got the lease and two days later, signed it! “If you over think it, you’ll never do it”, she said as she went about making a wedding cake due on the weekend.
While many of her peers who recently graduated from college are scared about the economy and trying to find a job – she goes out and opens a business! Amazing! Trained as a pastry chef at the Culinary Institute of America, Sonam worked at the Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ as a pastry chef and when she left that job, she did something not many young people do so willingly. She stayed home with her parents to save money and started the business in her mom’s kitchen! “Making cakes while living at home was not easy. The kitchen was always a mess and I couldn’t fully do what I was trying to do. After a while I couldn’t keep up with the demand so I had to make a choice. I had to either quit this freelance cake business and get a full-time normal job or go all in and just do it.”
She doesn’t mind living at home with her parents even now because she spends most of her waking hours in the bakery. And saving rent money allows her to re-invest back in her business to hire people and bring in new customers. “I never stepped foot inside a bakery before I opened my own. But I didn’t have to. I know that I’m going to make this work.” My final question to Sonam was about her friends. She exclaimed with a big smile, “I try to surrounded myself with positive people who are doers. We just do it”.
I love it! Don’t over-think it. Trust in Yourself. Just do it. Congratulations Sonam and all the best of luck!