A SLICE OF LIFE WITH YANCHTENZING
Ms. Tenzing Yangchean Tamang, as @yanchtenzing on Instagram, defines her cakes in two words: order and chaos. “If my life has chaos in it, my cakes bring out the order, the discipline, and that’s how my cakes represent my state of mind.” She has set out to fine tune our sweet tooth by making us realize that “home baked” doesn’t always have to be clumsy. We sat down to have a little talk and here’s how it went.
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND? WHAT GOT YOU INTO BAKING?
My background is that of Development Studies and I even worked in the said sector for about five years. I always felt that my skill-sets didn’t match my work area, like I didn’t belong there. So, to tell about how it all started and what got me into baking is about what I did in my free time. I grew up watching my mum bake cakes. It was a fascinating sight but always a single recipe. There was no variety in her cakes.
So, whenever I got a spare moment in my hands, on weekdays and other holidays, I explored my baking experience. I was curious about other cake recipes and that was my initial inner drive.
It went on like that for approximately three years; I’d go to office, come home and try out recipes, at times let my colleagues taste my cakes. “Why don’t you start something of your own” were my best friend’s exact words and I felt the same since my contract at work was coming to an end too. Family and friends would order cakes; that’s completely a comfort zone. So, my first leap came in when I got involved in the Saturday Brunch one of my colleagues used to organize as an Airbnb host. That was the small step to go commercial with it.
After that, as an answer to “what next?” I started posting pictures of my cakes on social media. And that’s how I increased my client base.
AS YOU SAID, YOU HAVE NO FORMAL WORKPLACE, RATHER YOU WORK FROM HOME. HOW DO YOU GO MANAGE THIS WHOLE “WORK FROM HOME” CONCEPT?
Getting a work space –in my case a “bake space” is a next step investment, the one I didn’t take. I took this this decision because I am really comfortable working from my home itself. Initially, I started as a home baker and not a professional baker. I haven’t taken any certified course, everything I have accomplished so far is from my own knowledge and consciousness. Maybe because I have always gone in a flow, I never felt the need to get an official workplace. I have always loved baking and it even suits my character so never gave much thought into second level investing i.e. workplace.
At times, comfort zone of a home and formalities of a workplace do get a bit blurry, things get mixed up but it’s about setting boundaries. I have been working on that. Sometimes, I get distracted while I’m at work. But I’m acting upon it too, setting my priorities and all. This is how I get around with “work from home”.
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER AS A HOME BAKER?
Every cake I have ever baked, every cake I have ever sold, each one of them –all are important to me. I put equal amount effort, dedication, and energy in all of them. I don’t think there is any one such particular cake that has brought different fruition to me. But I do make a point of reaching out to my clients for feedbacks. After the delivery is made, I call them up asking about the delivery, about the cake and all. Whether positive or negative review, I take it in and I believe that’s the highlight of my career as a home baker.
“If you know where your passion lies, get an inspiration for yourself that’s bigger than your challenge.”
WHAT’S THE CHALLENGING PART OF YOUR JOB?
The challenge I’d say is striking balance between the creative side and the practical side of this work line. The research I do before I bake any cake and the process of baking, both come under creativity. The other part that is gathering the raw materials, managing the capital, etc. is the practical side. Right now, it’s me –I do have help but it’s for part time. Right now, equalizing these two parts is bigger a challenge for me. But I’m pretty sure I’ll get over it.
The other challenge is again, along the lines of balancing. My cakes represent me, I represent my cakes. Therefore, there are things to think about like my negotiation tactics, my improvement as a baker, my communication skills – all of these need to be considered.
HOW DO YOU EXPAND YOUR NETWORK AND MARKET YOUR PRODUCT?
On marketing, it’s completely word of mouth and social media. Photographs too play a vital role for the expansion and so does continual communication with my clients. I contact my clients, ask for their feedbacks and what they want in my cakes and what I represent in my cakes – all matter so, that’s my strategy with the expansion of network and marketing of my cakes. I’m also associated with few cafes like Everfresh in LeSherpa’s premises, Utopia Restaurant, Bhok Lagyo, and Karma Coffee for their Coffee, Wine, and Cakes events that takes place once a month.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ASPIRING TO SET UP A HOME BUSINESS LIKE YOURS?
One should be absolutely clear about one’s motivation and intentions about what they’re doing, understanding deeply why they are doing this. If you know where your passion lies, get an inspiration for yourself that’s bigger than your challenge. Find your niche and work on it and most importantly, get other’s perspective. Go for the trusted perspective. At times, you might be taking a wrong step, a little too fast or little sideways, you need to be on the right track and for that it’s good to have a fresh, third perceptive. This is all I can say to the aspirers.