Let us hear it from Rakhi Advani who is not only an entrepreneur but also someone who takes life as it comes, Rakhi Advani a Cake Artist and a Pastry Chef by profession and having graduated from the prestigious Institute of Hotel Management, Mumbai always had a passion for baking and confectionery and she did take it to the next level with Matisse Cakes. Read on to know more…
1. Tell us something about yourself. Your education, career and interests?
Rakhi Says…As a child, I would look at the gorgeous desserts displayed on the shelves of luxury hotels and knew that someday my cakes will be a part of someone’s most precious moments.”My first attempt at learning was a 1-year Bakery 101 class in 11th grade. Once I started learning, there was no looking back. That’s when I decided to apply at IHM Mumbai and ended up spending 3 wonderful years learning and realised that my first love will always be cakes and desserts. I then took up a job at Oberoi hotels for 6 months graduated from there and then fast forward a few years and I found myself a very supportive man who was a chef and turned in to a husband really very soon in Los Angeles, USA.Soon Rakhi decided to embrace motherhood and her daughter Mirra was born,
Rakhi says “I realized that there was no way I could leave home and go to work and thus I became a Mompreneur”
Thus her entrepreneurial baby, Matisse was born….Baby steps lead to strides…. and in a few years, Matisse was making beautiful wedding cakes for some really lovely brides.”
2. What has been the high point in your career?
On that one, I”ll definitely go with “Making Wedding cakes”.
Rakhi had lived in LA for really long and most cakes we made in LA were wedding cakes. These were gorgeous and multi-tiered wedding cakes looking beautiful.
“There is something about the energy and the positivity of a bride. It just rubs off on you”
3. Which has been your most challenging assignment so far?
Rakhi Says…That would have to be a 7 Tiered Jeweled wedding cake. Back in 2013, I think it was around March or April when we were still in LA. I still remember the couple, Vivian and Michael placed an order for a 5 Tier Jeweled wedding cake with 2 dummy tiers in the middle. So it ended up being a 7 Tier cake. It was gorgeous. Sparkling all over. Truly a visual delight!!!
4. Who is your greatest inspiration and why?
Rakhi says…I know its cliché but honestly ….both my Moms. My Mom and my Mom-In-Law are the 2 women that have truly and greatly inspired me. Both these women r stronger than anyone I’ve ever known.
My own SuperMOM- My mom has taught me how to stand up tall in adversity and believe. My dad passed away when I was little. Suddenly she was left with 4 daughters. She had no clue what she was gonna do next. Here she was, a young housewife whose life revolved around her home, her children and her husband.
“All of a sudden my mom was left alone to take care of 4 little girls, and no support system. She somehow got herself together, and put us thru school, college, got us married. It’s amazing, how resilient she is. I can only imagine how much conviction and persistence that takes.”
My SuperMOM in Law- My MIL is another superwoman I know. Initially, when I got married and moved in with my in-laws, she used to leave for work from 7 am till 10 pm. She’s a teacher. Later on I was made aware about the situation. Circumstances were such that my dad in law couldn’t work.
My MIL had 2 kids and a family to support, she would go to school at 7 am, and after the school ended, she would take tuitions for students, one after another and finally finish around 10 pm. And she did this each day every day for many many years till she put both her kids thru college.
I have immense respect for the wonderful lady that she is. She’s a fighter. I can only hope to be as strong and as tenacious as these 2 women through the ups and downs of life.
5. What is that one milestone in your life that makes you happy?
“Being a Mom….It completes me. I’ve always been a very restless ambitious person. Luckily, I found a career that I’m very passionate about.”
I can work on my cakes for hours on end, working every design, perfecting every detail. I get so involved in my work that I tend to forget everything around me. But my daughter, Mirra, keeps me grounded. Just being around her, playing with her, being silly with her is priceless.
6. “Women are the better halves”- Have we moved beyond this?
I’d say, we are close. Compared to the men in our previous generations, most husbands these days are more compassionate, understanding and supportive of their wives. Apart from being the primary bread earner, they play a more positive role in a marriage as opposed to being demanding like the earlier generation. Having said that, I think that Women, inherently are very nurturing, forgiving and tolerant by nature which is crucial to the survival of a marriage. And yet when we step out in the Dog Eat Dog world, we are willing to fight tooth and nail to achieve our goals. Which brings women closer to being the complete package than men. So I seriously doubt, us women stand the risk of losing the “Better Half” title any time soon. And my husband happens to agree with me ☺
7. What are your experiences with being a woman entrepreneur or the MOMPreneur of today.
I could write volumes on this one ☺ I m not sure when I turned into an entrepreneur from someone who loves to bake but I have to say, its been quite the ride thus far.
“The most important revelation I have had is that a Women entrepreneur is never alone. Let me elaborate….Women by nature r a very social species, we make friends, form bonds, relationships wherever v go. So subconsciously, we are always networking.”
So we have a complete network/support system ready to go when we need it. That’s how Matisse Came about. A friend decided to buy a cake from me for her office party and that’s it. From one friend to another, it took on a life of its own. It’s amazing how many referrals come pouring in from this invisible support system that we have. Women are very loyal that way. I have always maintained that on some level women have been entrepreneurs for the longest time. Its just recently that women have pushed the boundaries and have become fearless enough to claim their share of credit for being a crucial pillar of the economic growth model.
8. What were the Challenges that you had to overcome?
“The biggest challenge a lady encounters as an entrepreneur is not being taken seriously.”
Negotiating with business owners, corporate HR heads, Event coordinators becomes quite a challenge when u have to spend the first 10 mins trying to make it very clear that you are a no-nonsense person only there professionally and the next 10 mins trying to convince them that you are the business owner/authority figure on the top of the approval chain. That there is going to be no man walking in and taking over the meeting. Sometimes the reactions are hilarious. Having said that, we have developed some great relations over the years with them and its business as usual !!!
9. Did you face any setbacks? What were the lessons learnt?
Yes, I’ve had my fair share of setbacks. When I first started Sweettalk, I had a few cake disasters of my own. A few years back, I was in the ICU for about 10 -12 days, with orders pending, brides expecting their cakes. It did a number on my family, my business. But hey, stuff happens. But one thing that life teaches you, is to “Roll with the Punches”.
What seems like an uphill battle one day, is gone and forgotten in a week or two. I truly believe it builds character. So I’ve grown to the point where I just enjoy my work, my life and leave the rest to destiny.
I Hope you have loved every bit of this interview as much as we have loved crafting it.
Keep on Rocking