A while ago I chose to go back to Romania and start my own business. Well, actually to continue what my parents started more than 20 years ago, but run it independently.
Here’s the story.
I’m pretty sure that many of my friends in London didn’t quite believe I was actually quitting my perfect job to open a bakery in Romania. They probably thought I was crazy!But almost two years later, and my quirky bakery was starting to become reality. Yes, it was a little premature to talk about it before I’d even settled for a location, but I am a strong believer in talking about your dream as if it had already happened. That way there is a greater chance of it actually happening.
So, a year and a half and a corporate job later, I came up with the concept of Bake Studio – Creative home baking. This was not easy, nor did it come to me in a dream, or it struck me one day while I was doing the dishes. This was a long, creative and experience-gaining process during which I first started another (completely different) ‘brand’ called Buchete de Prajituri (Cupcake bouquets). Since October 2013 I started making cupcakes and cupcake bouquets – dealt with lots of chaos, learning experiences, failure, stress, panic, etc. – and evolved into making more elaborate sweets for events. Most of those sweets I made myself. I was the one buying the ingredients, taking orders, making them, delivering them, doing the admin. Those of you who know me already know that my parents have a bakery and you are probably wondering WHY I didn’t just teach the team there to make my cakes and I just went to pick them up.
Well, the truth is that the women working there have been with our family business for over 20 years and we do appreciate them greatly. BUT they have no energy, time or desire to deal with my control-freak needs. I want my sweets to be perfect, made from separate ingredients that I source myself, and following my recipes. And also, the cake shop is in a small town near Bucharest, and not in Bucharest, where I actually lived. Which made it hard to oversee production and deliveries at the same time. Some of the basic stuff I usually delegated, especially when I had many events happening at the same time, but I took care of the finishing touches, flavours and texture combinations. It was a great job, which I thought I wouldn’t trade for anything else, but it was intense, very stressful at times and very physical.
Bake Studio, in my vision, is a rustic, London-style bakery, with home made sweets, fresh juices, great coffee and a wonderful, relaxing atmosphere. This name only came to me this year (2015) in January. I honestly don’t remember how I came up with the name, but I know I first wanted to name it BAKE. But this wasn’t strong enough to reflect my vision and somehow I thought of a studio (perhaps because I dated an animator with an animation studio and a musician who used to always be in the studio…not at the same time! haha). So I combined the two words and magic happened.
I thought about my bakery every day and still do, I felt very happy to have had the chance to explore my creativity to this extent.
The journey had already begun. I had a brand identity which I was super proud of and a clear vision about what Bake Studio was going to be like. And that is the biggest step towards making it happen.
Next on the list were: trying to get funding outside my own savings, budgeting, finding the right location, renting, equip and set it up, put together the dream team, create the menu, open for business. And as you can tell, many things could have gone wrong at each step of the way.
And they did. However, things becoming more complicated had nothing to do with my decision to move back to London.
I started hearing this voice deep down telling me ‘Are you sure this is what you want to do?’ And it started getting louder and louder until I heard it very clearly. I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t the right time to open my bakery and I had a lot more to learn and explore. But that was going to be in London, the city that inspired me to ALWAYS follow me dreams and my gut instinct.
And here I am today. I’m not giving up on Bake Studio, I am simply being true to myself and brave enough to put it on hold until I can properly make it a success.