Pomme, Pui & Paggie Hoontrakul

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Bake Ministry has been making delicious treats in Bangkok since 2008. Born as a hobby out of Pui’s love for baking, it quickly turned into a successful business that brought the 3 sisters together as one ever-growing baking powerhouse.

“When you work with people, you need to be a leader more than a boss”

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“How did you start Bake Ministry?” “It started as a hobby for Pui (the middle sister). She has always loved baking and after graduating she started baking quite a bit for friends and family. One day, we (Older sister Pomme and little sister Paggie) decided to decorate some of those cakes just for fun. People really liked it and asked for more. When orders kept coming in, we decided to join Pui. We borrowed from our parents and rented a space in this building from our cousins. All three of us studied political sciences but none got a job in politics so we called our store Bake Ministry.”

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“How did you learn how to run your business?” “We tried to learn as much as possible on our own. We didn’t ask for much advice. Pui did research on recipes and we did the same about decorating and running a business. Plus, I (older sister) had experience in marketing, pricing, and some business management from my previous job. Mostly, we did things slowly and waited to add new products or services until we felt fully ready. A friend of ours opened a school and she brought cake experts to give workshops and lessons, so that was very helpful when we ran into issues.”

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“What was the most difficult thing of setting up your business?” “Time management. Making novelty cakes involves so many details. People think you just whip the cake in a few minutes but it’s not the case. Some figurines need to be prepared a few days before and left to dry prior to putting them on the cake. Also, Thailand’s hot and humid climate is an extra challenge. The temperature affects the structure of the cake and certain cakes should not go in the fridge so we have to adjust to that. There are always mishaps. The bigger the cake, the more risks we face.  If the temperature goes up a bit, the cake can melt and we have to do everything again. So we need to be realistic about our limits and what we can do. If it’s too much, we turn down orders.”
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  • “We started with one staff and now we have 16 employees. We might expand to other business lines in the future so we’d have to hire more people. We think of our staff as friends and family. We have rules but we try to be understanding. When you work with people, you need to be a leader more than a boss.” 
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“If you could go back, what would you do differently?” “Not much really. We see everything as a learning process. Sometimes you make mistakes but you learn from that, so we wouldn’t change anything. Once we made a cake for an outdoor wedding and we thought it would be okay because it was winter. But then it turned out to be too hot anyways, so the cake ended up slanting to one side. From that moment on, we stopped making cakes for outdoor events. If we hadn’t messed up that cake, we wouldn’t know that cakes made out of eggs and dairy shouldn’t be exposed to the heat for too long.”
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“What piece of advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?” “People always ask advice on setting up a business and we tell them, that’s easy. The difficult part is how to keep it up. As an entrepreneur, you have to work really hard and keep working. There are no real breaks or holidays. You always think about your business – even when you sleep.  But if your business is your passion, then that’s not so bad.”

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