I interviewed Rafaella Michailidou, an aspiring young lady, who has recently founded ‘Peace of Cake‘ , an innovative Cupcake business, with a twist. Rafaella is 26 years old, she has a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences and Molecular Biology, which she gained at the University of Cyprus and she also has a Plant-Based Professional Certification.
Rafaella was kind enough to give me some of her valuable time, to meet up and talk about herself and her business. She even brought some sample cupcakes for me to taste, and they were delicious!!!
Q1: What inspired you to start-up your own business?
Well, the idea kind of came to me out of nowhere as one day I was craving cupcakes, but particularly wanted to find dairy-free ones, as I am a vegan. To my surprise, I realised that it was almost impossible to purchase an egg-free and dairy-free cupcake in Paphos and to be honest, I was quite disappointed. I then decided to go out, shop for some ingredients, and make an attempt to make my own cupcakes! I really enjoyed the baking process and the final results were really good. A couple of days later, I baked some more and took them to my friends to try. I specifically made a point of choosing friends who I knew would be brutally honest, as I wanted an honest opinion about whether there was a difference in the taste and texture of my own cupcakes. None of them noticed any difference and most said that they never would have known that they had eaten a dairy-free and egg-free cupcake. This was a ‘light-bulb’ moment for me as I realised there was an excellent opportunity to create a bespoke niche business in an emerging market.
Q2: What made you choose the name ‘Peace of Cake‘ for your business?
As a vegan, I was very keen that my business represents me and my beliefs in a subtle way. There is a famous quote by Greek philosopher Pythagoras, that starts with the sentence: “As long as Man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace... ”. Many have said that they feel more ‘at peace’ after they stopped consuming (and using) animal products. Personally, I couldn’t agree more, as for me ‘peace’ literally starts from your cake! Being able to eat foods that are completely plant-based without feeling deprived (especially when it comes to taste) is a blessing for me.
Making egg-free and dairy-free cakes has become a piece of cake for me now. And this is exactly the point that I am trying to make. You can have ‘peace of mind’ and still enjoy what you eat. Even though I do not actively promote this through my business, those who have this concern can rest at ease and enjoy!
Q3. Do you only make cupcakes, or can you also make other kinds of sweets?
I mainly make cupcakes, as these seem to be the most popular at the moment. The modern trend for cupcakes and their popular ‘Instagram’ image, is very much in demand these days. However, many of my clients have also enquired about celebration cakes for Birthdays and Anniversaries, which I can also make.
Q4. What flavours can your clients choose from, how many can they order and how can they order?
The current cupcake base flavours are: chocolate, vanilla and red velvet. The toppings/icing can be: Cookies and cream, Rose, Salted caramel, Strawberry Dream, N(o)tella Hazelnut, Red Velvet, Mint Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Lemon. All the ingredients are vegan.
For Weddings, Christenings, Private parties and Birthday parties, the maximum order we can take is 300 cupcakes. Normally I sell single cupcakes or boxes of four, six and twelve cupcakes. We also do daily cake deliveries in Paphos and we deliver to Nicosia every Wednesday.
Q5. Other than the baking, what else do you do for your business?
At the moment I have quite a lot on my plate. Other than the operational side of the business, I am fully involved with the Marketing and the Sales side. I manage all the ‘Peace of Cake‘ social media accounts and I try to post regularly by sharing new photographs and engaging content with my audience. My likes and followers are increasing day by day, so there is definitely interest in what I do. If you want your clients to return back to you and purchase your products on a regular basis, it is important to maintain good relationships with them. I am focused on the ways I communicate with my clients, I am open to receiving their feedback about my cupcakes, I encourage them to review my business online and I encourage them to tell me about the flavours they would like to try. Some of the suggestions can be quite unusual, but I am flexible and I enjoy the excitement that the new ideas and challenges can bring.
Q6. At the moment you bake from home, but could you ever imagine yourself starting up your own cake shop?
Actually yes, I would love that! Either a Cake Shop or a Café, or anything else that would allow me to be my own boss, manage a team and run a business, all without having to be in the corporate world. I have always been curious about what it takes to be an entrepreneur and I really enjoy learning new things about Business and exploring my options. I always knew that starting my own business was something I wanted to do. I have worked as a Health and Wellness Coach, where I helped people achieve their health goals and helped people to maintain a diet that promoted health and well-being. I still maintain my website www.plantpowercoaching.org, where people can read my blogs and find out more information about this lifestyle. I recently completed a Rouxbe Online Culinary School course, as I wanted to master my techniques in my ‘plant-based’ kitchen and learn how to cook varied healthy and tasty vegan food. The program was self-paced, meaning that I had to submit my assignments and learn the curriculum on my own schedule, something that required a lot of self-discipline. I have also worked with a Purpose & Alignment coach, who helped me figure out exactly what my passions are, motivated me to take the first steps towards career clarity and gave me the confidence to start something new (See more at www.roxanaghiassi.com)
Q7. What is your message towards young people who are also considering starting-up their own business?
I would say, just go for it! If you have an idea or a cause that you care about, then you definitely have more chances to succeed. I really love the quote by Wanda Sykes ‘If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it’. It just takes some work and the ingredients of persistence, consistency, and determination.
Q8. Lastly, where can we expect to find you in the upcoming weeks?
I am planning to participate in a few Christmas Fairs which I am really looking forward to. The ones I am definitely going to be at are the Peyia Village Market on November 25th, 2018 and the annual Traditional German Christmas Fayre at the Goethe-Institut in Nicosia, on December 2nd, 2018.
Follow ‘Peace of Cake’ on:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/peaceofcakecy/
Instagram – www.instagram.com/peaceofcakecy/