Tiffany cakes for the sweet-toothed
Baking has always been her passion.
Tiffany Hunte, of Vineyard, St Philip, has started to live her dream, having operated her Visions Of Sugar home-based business for the past five years.
She bakes a range of items, including doughnuts, novelty cakes, cookies and cupcakes.
In any given month, Hunte prides herself on getting over 100 orders for her tasty treats for special occasions.
“I do sometimes have to turn down orders. Being that it is just me right now, I can’t do too many things at once; then the quality would not be as high, and I don’t want to put out a product that I wouldn’t like for myself. So if I get too many orders I have to turn down some, although I don’t like to do that,” explained Hunte.
However, acknowledging that the market was “flooded” with other bakers and cake decorators, Hunte admitted it could sometimes be a challenge to compete for customers.
She said besides by word of mouth, she would get a lot of work through her @visionsofsugar Instagram account. And Hunte occasionally gets help in the kitchen and with the delivery of the products from her sister and cousin, especially on weekends.
The former Deighton Griffith Secondary student said her products stood out from the rest of the competition because her treats were “not the basic”, and she did what her customers with the sweet tooth asked for.
“You come and get your customized items. Whatever you want, I can do it for you,” she said, highlighting some of her more memorable cakes, which included a deejay soundboard.
She said she would get most orders during the summer periods when children were on vacation from school.
However, despite her passion, Hunte confessed it had not always been an easy road. The entrepreneur told Barbados TODAY that when she started her home-based business five years ago it was “a little rocky”.
“It wasn’t as good as it is now. I am now starting to get a lot of exposure. I wasn’t getting as many sales as I am now,” she explained.
And she is especially pleased that the economic downturn did not affect her operations as she thought it would.
“I find that people do not really skimp when it comes to birthdays. They like to make sure they have their cake, even if it is something small but fancy,” she said, pointing out that she catered mostly for that occasion.
“I do weddings too. That is now starting to pick up for me,” the baker pointed out.
Adding that she also did much themed baking, Hunte said the most popular request right now was for Minnie Mouse.
“I do a lot of handbags too,” she let it be known.
“I love working with my hands,” the baker says. “So just being creative and making things look pretty” is what she enjoys most about her job.
But her biggest challenge, Hunte said, was dealing with her doubt from time to time.
“Sometimes people will send me their design and I would say, ‘Oh dear, I can’t get this done’. But I do it. The most challenging thing for me is my doubting myself a little bit.” However, the 27-year-old pointed out that her motivation was her four-year-old son Kaden, since she was constantly thinking about providing “the best” for him.
After leaving the Deighton Griffith Secondary School, Hunte went on to do culinary studies, including at the PomMarine Hospitality Institute.
Asked if she had done baking for any famous people over the years, Hunte said she had baked a cake for “one of Rihanna’s friends”, and “I did a cake for Young Blood; his girlfriend had ordered a cake for him”.
The young entrepreneur said a part of her dream was to own a store of her own one day. But until then, Hunte is hoping she will be able to rent an affordable central location so she could get more customers.
She said her plan was to also offer a number of related party products so customers could have a one-stop shop. But she revealed that the rent in areas she wanted to set up shop was just too high.
“. . . Obviously I would want to go somewhere like The City, but the rent is too high,” she lamented.
“I am still working on that,” she added though.
Hunte said she had begun her research to find the best financing option to help her in her expansion plans.
Just last month, she lost her boyfriend of five years Sean Jordan to murder at Waverley, Christ Church.
She said while she was still trying to come to grips with his untimely passing, she had been doing her best not to make it impact her business.
“I haven’t stopped working. The way I feel on the inside, I feel like I don’t want to do anything at all, and I can’t let that happen because I have to think about my son. I have to make sure and stay there for him. I have to keep myself sane. So I haven’t stopped working. So it hasn’t impacted my business. I will not let that happen,” Hunte promised.