A Taste of Sweet Success
For many, the dream to turn a hobby into a small business remains just that, a dream. However, those who do take the bold step to transform that desire into reality can find much pleasure and satisfaction. Wimonwan Santicharoenlert is one such woman. She currently works as a legal officer for a property and asset management company in the city, but in her spare time learns how to bake cakes to perfection.
Around ten years ago she decided to expand her pleasure for baking to venture into a cake-making business she called “The Friendship Bakery.”
“The main reason I use this name is because friends are my inspiration, whether they be teachers, colleagues, or anyone who supports and encourages me in what I do,” says Wimonwan.
Even in this cynical, fast paced, hi-tech commercial world where companies will spend tens of millions in any currency to promote, market and hype their products and services, the most powerful form of advertising – word of mouth – helped Wimonwan grew her business.
“I was surprised, but very happy to discover that whoever ate my cakes asked me to bake for them again and again, so I thought why not develop what I was doing further and share my pastime with more people,” she explains.
For many modestly-sized enterprises there can be problems in trying to establish a customer base and penetrating a crowded or new market. This was not the case with Wimonwan. She feels she was fortunate as friends sampled her cakes, enjoyed them and passed on the comments to others, and orders came in without her having to do much active marketing herself.
As a wife and a working mother of two children, Wimonwan manages her time in a methodical fashion as you might expect from a lawyer. “I define baking as a hobby, so I have to do my duties as a full-time mom, wife and focus my work first, as those are the priorities. Only then do I go into the kitchen and start to think about my baking.”
Wimonwan makes a wide range of cakes and cup cakes in a variety of styles and flavors, including chocolate, coconut, blueberry, and strawberry. Some of her best-selling items are Orange and Thai Milk Tea cakes. Using online or cookbook recipes, she also adds her own twist to the cakes with extra ingredients. Preparation time is around two hours and all the products are delivered personally by Wimonwan to ensure they arrive safely.
Her passion for what she does is clear. “I love every single moment of what I do with the cakes, and when thinking about how my customers will enjoy them. I don’t have a particular target market, I just make them for everyone,” she
With the valuable experience of some ten years in baking and trading behind her, the advice Wimonwan has for those budding entrepreneurs who might be contemplating setting up their own small business is this: “It might sound strange after such a long time, but I still don’t regard what I do as a business. It’s my hobby that has made me some money. So, I would advise anyone who would like to grow their hobby that they should start from love. To share the thing that you enjoy with others.”
As for the future, Wimonwan hopes that after retirement she will open a small shop to sell her wares. She is generous as well as modest. “I will give anyone who doesn’t have money a cake for free. To me a customer’s happiness is priceless, not the profit you make.”
The Friendship Bakery
Tel. 086 354 9836