Today we meet Janet, a home baker, ex-Naval regular and a mother of two adorable boys. From engineering to baking over the years, she’s picked up a variety of skills and experiences. Having been a part of the Navy for 15 years, and then graduating with an electrical engineering degree before going to culinary school, Janet has finally settled down to pursue her passion for baking. She aims to bring smiles to children’s faces with her home-made bakes of love.
We were greeted with a sweet scent of freshly baked fudge cakes when we entered Janet’s apartment. She was just done tending to her 8-month old, while her husband, who was also working from home, came out to say hi. Their 6 year old son was off at kindergarten.
We casually chatted as we prepared for the interview. Her friendly smile made us all feel at home. As we spoke, Janet’s eyes twinkle and her face broke into a warm smile as she recounted her experience baking one of the more unique cake requests. It was from a parent who wanted a cake to resemble her daughter’s 臭臭 chou chou (a personal soft toy or object which someone has a personal attachment to since young).
It was really difficult to carve a 3D cake and it was Janet’s first experience working on such a challenging order. Nevertheless, she managed to complete it and this challenge definitely allowed her to level up her skills.
Journey towards pursuing her passion
Janet’s journey towards pursuing her passion is indeed an interesting and unconventional one. Instead of directly pursuing her passion for baking, she made the decision to serve the Navy so that she could take up a sponsorship to further her studies in university. After she got her electrical engineering degree in university, she was financially stable and could finally pursue her passion for baking. Her perseverance in working hard indeed paid off!
Hence, she went to culinary school and got a diploma in pastry and baking. Then she did several internships in this industry before she ventured into home-based business where she started her own business: Joyy’s kitchen.
In being a home based business owner, she is able to plan her time such that she can allocate time for her family and her business.
Janet’s journey as a home baker
Janet’s journey in being a home baker dates back to 2017 where she first baked a D24 durian cake. After which she explored various other foods including sponge cakes, kuehs, and even cookies.
She then ventured into making customised butter cream cakes. Her passion for baking, together with her love for children can be seen in the vibrant colours of her painstakingly customised buttercream cakes.
More recently, she has transitioned into making chocolate fudge cakes, following the increase in demand for them. You can request for simple customisations on these fudge cakes and choose the fillings you’d like. She offers a variety of flavours including chocolate fudge, strawberry and even durian!
Here are a few pictures of the freshly made fudge cake with strawberry jam which Janet made that day. It was absolutely delicious! She can also make cakes in low-sugar, and gluten-free versions as well!
Juggling taking care of her children and managing a business
As Janet has two children, one turning 6 years old and the other 9 months old, she has to plan her time wisely. Although her 6 year old son goes to school, she can only start baking when her 9 month old son has gone to nap.
Her everyday routine involves having lunch with her sons, spending time with them, putting her younger son for a nap, before she can finally start baking. Janet shares that her supportive husband helps take care of her younger son if he wakes up early from a nap so she can bake.
Being a home baker, she is more in control of her schedule and can achieve a better balance between spending time with her family and her passion for baking.
Learning from the challenges of starting a business
Of course, being a business owner, Janet has definitely had her share of difficult customers. However, Janet’s positive mindset inspired us as she spoke about how she learnt and grew from her experiences with unreasonable customers.
She told us how she used these experience to better manage the expectations of future customers. It was extremely humbling to hear of her patience in dealing with such difficult situations, and she admitted that she has grown and learnt a lot as a business owner.
Difficulties that COVID-19 has brought to her business
The COVID-19 pandemic had affected her business as schools switched to home-based learning, celebrations were banned, and orders for her cakes stopped coming in. She explained that prior to the pandemic, most of the demand for her cakes came from parents whose children who were celebrating their birthdays in the childcare.
She also highlighted how at one point in time, the government also did not allow home based businesses to operate. Hence, the series of events had affected her business and momentum as well as her income.
How we can help home-based business owners like Janet
Janet explained that because home based business owners like herself “do not have a very high income” as it depends on “how many orders there are”, they do not want to “spend additional money to do additional marketing so they rely heavily on word of mouth.”
As such, Janet relies heavily on positive reviews and word of mouth advertising to reach out to more customers, much like the many home based business owners.
Looking forward, Janet hopes to continue to bring joy to children on their special day with her home-made cakes. She is also currently looking to bake cakes for children who are unable to celebrate their birthdays. Check out Joyy’s kitchen’s instagram to find out more about the different types of cakes you can order!
You can check out our other local business listings here.