“When you do what you really love, you put so much passion into it that things come out perfect”

At the beginning of this year, Nancy Jo joined the 3Love Inc. family as a teacher of the baking workshop at the Yesenia Saenz Soup Kitchen, located in Huaycán, in Lima, Peru, for the mothers who live there. In this interview, we talk about the main lessons learned and challenges of these first months of operation of the workshop. Nancy also shares some valuable advice for other women and mothers who have the dream of launching their own business.


How do you evaluate the first months of operation of the baking workshop at the Yesenia Saenz Soup Kitchen?


They have been fruitful. The moms are really eager to learn, they are very detailed, they are very attentive to everything, including the cost class, because every time we finish a recipe they are there taking out their calculator and looking at the cost in order to sell the product.


What new skills have the workshop students learned?


We have made cakes and cupcakes with frosting, which is a buttercream that is shaped with a piping bag and a nozzle that has different shapes. They have been practicing a lot. They are very good students, they learn very fast. They have been practicing how to shape the roses and petals. They have a lot of manual and detail skills, which is very important in baking.


What are the main difficulties faced by the mothers in the workshop?


What I have noticed so far is the issue of time. As they are moms, they have young children and their children go to school, some of them have workshops on Saturdays and they have to take them. Sometimes they don’t make it to class on time, but when they arrive we welcome them, because we understand that as moms they have to invest that time in their children so that their children can play sports and be in math workshops and so on.


How do you think this workshop gives the students the opportunity to develop themselves and improve their quality of life and that of their families?


It definitely gives them knowledge that they didn’t have. They can implement it at home as well, besides having the benefit of the workshop they can make delicious cakes for their children on their birthdays, for their husbands and for the family in general, they can make desserts for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Christmas. It also allows them to get organized and put everything in order. That’s a plus for moms.


What has been the reaction of the students when they see the finished products, such as ice cream, cupcakes and cakes, which they prepared themselves?


They are super excited because they didn’t believe they could make something so beautiful and so tasty. When we made the ice cream they said, “Wow, it tastes so good, but that’s not the color of the strawberry,” because we don’t use baking dyes. So when you make ice cream the strawberry becomes a very pale color, but they were amazed every time they tasted the ice cream. When we made the cupcakes, they couldn’t believe they had made a little rose on the cupcake, they were super excited. They feel so good to know that they can make something so beautiful and so delicate.


Apart from being a teacher, you also have a baking business. How did your interest in baking start?


I have had my business for 11 years. The interest was born since I was a child because my grandmother at home used to prepare pudding, roasted milk, whipped cream, she made vanilla cakes and I was always helping her because I liked measuring, weighing, stirring and baking. Then I grew up, studied, got married, had children and now that my children are a little older, I have taken up baking again. I am empirical, I am self-taught, I have not taken a baking course as such.


What kind of personal satisfaction does it give you to be able to dedicate yourself to baking and have an income doing what you love?


They say that when you work at what you love, you don’t really work. And if that comes with an economic income it is the greatest happiness in the world. I feel great, I think that when people do what they really like, they put so much passion into it that things turn out perfectly.


What advice would you give to other women who want to start a business but are still hesitant to take that first step?


It is hard at the beginning, but if you are really passionate about it, I would advise you to do it. I jumped into the pool without knowing how to swim and today I feel proud of what I have achieved so far and proud to be able to share my knowledge with other people. I am totally self-taught. I have learned everything at home. There are also free courses on YouTube and I have many chef friends who have given me wonderful recipes. As long as you do what you are really passionate about, you will feel like you are not working and on top of that you get the pleasure of pleasing other people.


What would you say to women who are mothers and say: “I would like to contribute with an economic income to my home, but taking care of my children, I don’t have time”? How can you achieve that balance between being a mother and at the same time having a small business or dedicating yourself to something you like to do?


When I studied management, a professor told me: “If you don’t have enough time during the day, you have enough time at night”. I use the night a lot. Although it is true that I sleep very little, when I am very focused on my baking work, I don’t feel like I’m staying up all night. I am a mom who takes her kids to school and is in the kitchen all day. Since my kids have always seen me doing this, they understand too. It’s very satisfying when moms see that their little kids look up to them and want to help them, the kids adapt to the situation. So I recommend moms to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, if they think they don’t have time for anything, they really do, they just have to organize themselves well. Now, the beauty of baking is that you don’t always have to finish the recipe on the spot. You can make it a little at a time, putting it in the refrigerator, freezing it and so on.


By: Juan Carlos Ugarelli

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