Lockdown Economy Philippines in a Dessert Shop with Nicole Cledera

The interview was transcribed and adapted into an article by Deepti Sharma

Lockdown Economy: Interviews by think tank AlterContacts.org with real entrepreneurs sharing insights, challenges and successes during the COVID19 global pandemic to inspire, motivate and encourage other entrepreneurs around the world.

In this interview, we meet Nicole Cledera, the co-owner of Baddie Bakes, a dessert shop in Antipolo. Nicole and her brother John Paul established Baddie Bakes amidst the pandemic in August. At first, Nicole just copied minimalist cakes she saw on the internet and baked a cake for her brother. Then, to celebrate the success of “folklore,” the siblings made a cake inspired by the album that singer Taylor Swift herself acknowledged on Twitter. After this, the two kept on baking and decided to make it a business. Often, the business struggled with logistics because they do not have their own courier. They opted for third-party couriers and so far, things are going well with Baddie Bakes. Still a student, guided by her mother and brother, Nicole mentioned that she needs help with balancing her time between her studies and the business. She also aims to increase its three-man team in order to accommodate more customers.

Watch the video version of the interview.

Nicole, please introduce us to Baddie Bakes.

Nicole: Baddie Bakes is a company that I and my brother have founded in this pandemic. I think what helped us the most is when Taylor Swift actually noticed the cake we made and that has really helped make Baddie Bakes into what it’s today. I think it’s really nice because with Baddie Bakes we get to create minimalist cakes which are more affordable than fondant cakes on the birthdays or special events. Yeah, so that’s what I feel is nice about Baddie cakes.

I saw your creations on your Instagram page. You actually put art on your cakes, is that a concept of Baddie Bakes?

Nicole: It’s actually what made us start Baddie Bakes because we wanted to draw Taylor Swift on the cake and my brother did. We wanted to celebrate her success, it’s unbelievable as it also became a success for us.

Before putting art on cakes did you actually do traditional artwork?

Nicole: I and my brother — especially my brother, who’s an amazing artist — wanted to incorporate it with my hobby which’s baking and everything just fell into place together.

It’s like a fusion of arts and baking. Tell us about what Baddie Bakes is doing on the business front during the lockdown.

Nicole: We actually started Baddie Bakes in August 2020. At first, I just tried to copy the minimalist cakes that I’ve seen all over the internet. I made them for my brother’s birthday and then the second one was Taylor’s cake. After that we just kept ongoing. We just kept on growing Baddie Bakes and now we have over 900 followers.

What are the challenges that you faced? Did you ever experience an artistic block or did you face any problems with logistics for e.g. sending cakes without them getting ruined before reaching your clients?

Nicole: Not really. We have clients who are really creative with what they want. And we just really work well together with them, creating new concepts for the cakes that we want.

Sometimes it’s difficult to send cakes because as of now we don’t have our own carriers so we use third party carriers. Sometimes they aren’t as careful, but so far so good. Our customers are satisfied.

What are the strategies you actually utilised to stimulate your business and attract new customers?

Nicole: With Baddie Bakes we tried to include different artists. We created this line where we put different artists and singers on the cake. So, we shared their art through our art in cakes. Then we also shared it with the K-Pop community and the K-dramas, those kinds of stuff people are really into.

Do you know how your customers and your competition are doing right now?

Nicole: I think it’s really good because the competition right now in the minimalist cakes in our country is really healthy. We get to reach customers that the other shops can’t reach. I feel nice about growing this as a way of being able to have a more special celebration by personalising it to customers.

About clients, it’s good that we get to make their birthdays more personal. They get to have cakes which are really dear to them and that these cakes aren’t as expensive as the ones for really huge events like fondant cakes. With the minimalist cakes, it’s more affordable and we get to celebrate birthdays in a more artistic and creative way.

Aside from being affordable, why did you choose to make minimalist cakes?

Nicole: It really just started out as a hobby and we enjoyed what we were doing. We just kept going on with it and here we are now.

Nicole let me quote this “ Wow! This is incredible. Thank you so much for making this. I also saw your Instagram and your art is phenomenal”. Do you remember this?

Nicole: Yeah! I was actually asleep when my brother told me. I thought there was a fire in our house because everyone was freaking out. I was just so happy that Taylor actually noticed the cake that we made and the artworks that my brother has made. It’s been a really cool experience for us.

It might sound silly. But I want to hear a yes or no. Are you a fan of Miss Taylor Swift?

Nicole: A superfan. I’ve been a fan since what was like grade one.

In that case, complete these lyrics, “ Betty I won’t make assumptions about why you switched your homeroom but…..”.

Nicole: “ I think it’s the cause of me…”.

Correct. Being noticed by 2019’s artist and woman of the year Ms Taylor Swift herself. I think that’s actually an achievement already. How do you plan on continuing the success of Baddie Bakes in the coming months?

Nicole: We’re really trying to prepare on making more creative ideas so that our customers would actually have more connection with us and love our products more. We’re really excited about this upcoming year. Hopefully, it’s a better year for everyone and then we just have a lot more to come. And we’re hoping that our customers would love it.

Can you name 3 things you need help with in managing Baddie Bakes?

Nicole: For me, I think I’ve to manage it more with my school and the business. I’m doing well but could do better. I think we could expand Baddie Bakes staff more so that we could accompany more customers.

How many employees or staff members does Baddie Bakes have?

Nicole: As of now it’s just really I and my brother. Sometimes my mother also helps out.

Nicole let’s say you’re conversing with a potential customer. Tell him or her why he should choose Baddie Bakes.

Nicole: One should choose Baddie Bakes because Baddie Bakes aims to bring more happiness to your homes and events. We just want to make your experience more personal and more creative; happier. Baddie Bakes brings joys to everyone.

A local business that showcases art through cakes. This is Baddie Bakes.

About the Guest

Baddie Bakes is a Cake shop based in Antipolo. It is a hobby turned business that has been established during the pandemic by siblings John Paul Cledera and Nicole Cledera they aim to share their passion and love for the arts through their minimalist cakes.

Instagram: https://instagram.com/baddiebakesph/

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/baddiebakesph/

The UN-registered nonprofit social initiative that helps small businesses and self-employed professionals to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.