Mi Tía Antonia: the story of an entrepreneurial dream come true!
Starting Mi Tía Antonia was not easy, considering that the idea of being a baker and of having a cafe open to the public had been developing in my mind for several years. I have always loved birthday celebrations and that’s how I got interested in the most essential element of such event: the cake.
I think every person who celebrates their birthday has their own version of the perfect cake and I love that… chocolate, vanilla, with fruit, pies, spongy and moist tres leches cakes… all of them gave a uniqueness to every event and gave me a lot of information about the person being celebrated.
Maybe that’s how my passion for psychology was born, which then became my career. But the interest in cakes followed me through the years, more than just as another food, like a piece of joyful candy. It followed me through college, through my professional life as a psychologist and through all the trips I took.
My love for baking goods expanded to include cookies, breads, desserts; and in every place I visited I would try more and more things, more combinations of flavors and different ways to display those sweets that make little moments so special.
One of the destinations I remember the most was Ushuaia, a city located in the Argentinian Patagonia (exactly at the end of the world) where I visited a cafe just in front of the Glacier Martial.
La Cabaña Casa de Té was the materialization of all I always wanted from a place of this nature. Every detail, the color scheme, the scents…the homey feeling marked me and my family forever. In that place I tried for the first time the red velvet cake, which was difficult to find at the time in my own country. I fell in love. I remember telling my sister as soon as we walked in: “this is how our cafe will be… you’ll see”.
Women in my family have been a strong influence for my entrepreneurial efforts. Let me explain. This memory in Argentina was the last trip I took before I got married and I experienced it with my parents and sister; nonetheless, many things had to happen, like for my son to be born, to make this dream come true. This happened thanks to my sister, with whom we had talked a lot about baking goods and the joy they generate in people. She was who gave me the perfect push to finally welcome Mi Tía Antonia.
My maternal grandmother baked for many years the cakes for her children’s birthdays and although I didn’t get to enjoy that privilege, this is one of the most precious memories my mom has. One day she told me she never found anybody who could bake the same cake her mom did. But I, without having the recipe or having received any detailed instructions, got pretty close.
When I became a mom 2 years ago, I decided to create in Marcelo those invaluable memories of his birthday celebrations and the flavors of those days which will have my mark forever.
For me, to be a full time mom, while continuing fulfilling my obligations with the family business and while following my dream of becoming a baker has been a complete rebirth that has brought many challenges but also incredible personal growth.
For Marcelo’s first birthday, I teamed up with my sister to experiment in the most amateur way my first approach to baking. Without internet, with a box of orange cake mix and the directions from a baker friend, we started trying to make cupcakes. The cupcakes weren’t that pretty but the satisfaction of making them from scratch to celebrate my son’s first birthday, felt great.
For that Christmas, my sister gave me as a gift, a baking course. It was good for one module. On that moment and like magic, all the conditions were there to start developing a process. I started with just one module but I ended up doing the whole baking course. I did not stop for a second because I started feeling an incredible passion for the things I was learning.
I found myself talking to my teachers all the time of how happy I felt to be able to prepare so many different things for Macelo’s birthday, because now I could also make cookies, cakepops, desserts and much more.
My teacher Lia Bolaños, always encouraged me to turn my dream into a business because she saw talent, dedication and passion, the three key ingredients for anything you want to do. Talent, because without it you won’t attract those looking at your products, dedication because without it you cannot instill confidence into those who are interested in your work and passion because without it, you cannot stand tall after experiencing rejection, or after baking all night long and feeling exhausted or simply, in the daily race of an entrepreneur.
I always told Lía that I would do it later, when my sister had time, when Marcelo was older, when I had more time… a thousand excuses that appear when you’re about to embark on a trip to the new and unknown. Nonetheless, I continued learning and feeling more passionate about sweets.
One day I had the idea of baking the baptism cake for one of my friend’s baby and give it as a gift. That day I understood everything. I spent so many hours working and I generated so much happiness with the end result that I understood it was time to dive in. I wanted to start doing this many times, doing it by myself and doing it better. But for that I needed to surround myself with people who would motivate me to look for new things and to commit to the task. And if they paid me for it… even better!
With a lot of fear, I had the controlable idea of offering a weekly product among my circle of influence (family and close friends on Facebook) for them to get to know my kitchen, my space, my oven and my ability as a baker. This way I would develop the discipline to bake and to always have the ingredients at hand.
That’s how #viernesdemitiaantonia was born, which little by little got me closer to my dream of becoming a real baker. Every Monday I present the récipe of the week (butter cookies, lemon cake, rice puddin, carrot or banana cupcakes, apple pie, among others) and I anxiously wait for the people I care for most to place their orders. The people that already know my work ask for more specific and bigger things and that’s how I realized that organizing a baptism celebration for 50 people only needs organization and attention to detail.
I have learned that you don’t need a big investment to start up a business like this one. I’ve know many people who feel overwhelmed just thinking about what they would need: logo, packaging, the store, machinery and a lot of money but in reality, what helped me overcome the excuses like space, time and money was the passion to create extraordinary things to celebrate the special moments of those around me and the idea of being able to show my son that it is never too late to do what makes you happy… and with Mi Tía Antonia I’ve received many rewards, not only in money but also in the happiness I feel doing what I love.
Obviously it has not been easy but it is just as delicious as everything that comes out of the oven every Thursday!!
If you want to see more of what I bake, follow me on Instagram @mittiaantonia
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