My name is Arisa, I was born in Bangkok with half of my family being German, so that’s how I became so interested in food and different cultures. I studied Design and Art throughout my life until I found baking, which I guess is another creative outlet. I also worked at Nobu in London for a couple of years and that’s where the basis of my baking knowledge was formed.
Before my studies, when I was around 16, I used to watch Joyofbaking on YouTube and she was such an inspiration. I always fantasised about different foods all over the world and having travelled a lot, she gave me an insight and the technique/knowledge to start baking. Plus, in Bangkok, desserts are a HUGE deal. We love cute looking treats.
So, like many other home businesses now, I started The Naughty Bakery during the pandemic. I always wanted to open a bakery or a breakfast café with pancakes and French toast (my favourite meal of the day, it’s so versatile) so I thought if I don’t start now, then when? I got laid off from my managerial job in a restaurant due to them being closed and needing less staff so it was now or never. I had the free time and equipment to do it.
This worked out very well for me as we didn’t have to rent professional premises. We are now registered, licensed and food hygiene inspected. So it all worked out great, I am able to bake day and night as well as get extra time to decorate. We started off baking cake truffles and cookies, but now we’ve started baking macarons which was our best decision. We still bake NYC style giant cookies! The amount of time and determination spent on perfecting macarons has been quite a journey, plus they look really cute and the creativity and flavours are endless.
Every morning, even when I’m not baking, I always check the temperature of the fridge and freezer out of habit (strange I know… I was even laughed at by my food inspector). I also pre-pack most of my ingredients in bags and weigh them out the night before, to avoid wasting time the next day. I sit with my phone for a while, replying to messages on Instagram and catching up on emails to get my schedule sorted for the week. It’s hard to juggle, marketing, social media content, replying, emailing, finances and admin at the same time.
Then, during the day, we check our schedule and make sure everything is on our to-do list. We calculate the number of ingredients and macaron batter we need for each set of design, make the batter, bake, rest and then we usually decorate if we have time. Sometimes, we’re so busy that we will have to carry on the next day. We also have to put aside time to revisit people’s orders, comments and specifics, making invoices and making sure that the order we’re making is what they had asked for. We may also have to go to the supermarket for basic ingredients except for the speciality ones that we order from a supplier. Check our inventory in terms of packaging, ingredients and shipping boxes. And LOTS of cleaning. I always say “we”, but it’s actually just me… for the most part.
My days can last anywhere from a couple of hours a day to 15-16 hour days. This can depend on the amount I have to bake, what I have to bake and how intricate the design is. Our macaron process has eight long and precise steps, not including making icing to create detail on the character macarons and the fillings. So I usually have to split the days, bake the macaron then use the next day for detailing and filling. Usually, for our character macarons, we spend around 30 minutes to 2 hours per ONE!
Although, I do take breaks. Usually, I’ll start watching a TV show like Catfish or a movie on Disney+ (huge Disney fan over here). Alternatively, I’ll play Play Station games (haha). Anything to take my mind off of the task and to relax a little for lunch or dinner. Apart from that, there is no time for breaks.
However, not all days run smoothly and I believe this isn’t talked about enough. As a lot of people who don’t bake may not know, macarons are one of the hardest things to bake. They are very finicky and temperamental. Anything from mixing the batter too much, to the weather, humidity, oil of the almond flour, resting time, oven temperature, colour that’s added to the batter can also destroy the formation of the macaron batter and cause breaks or no feet (ruffles at the bottom of a macaron). Even piping different shapes and sizes can affect the batter. Sometimes they won’t bake properly, crack or break completely.
So, that’s why, to those who wonder why macarons are sometimes expensive, it’s because of the skill, technique and speciality of making them. A lot of time is put into a bakers’ schedule, in the beginning, to learn the trial and error of baking macarons. Adding custom shapes and also colours, adds to the price, as adding this to the batter will increase the probability of cracking and not baking properly. (Yes, there are times where I have cried and said I wasn’t baking them any more haha).
Then, I end my day with a little bit of complaining, in all honesty, baking can be physically and mentally draining and as a perfectionist, my bakes can always be better. I try to end my day with some relaxing, laughing and being thankful to my amazing customers for how loyal they are. I still jump and scream for every order I make as taking any order for granted won’t get you anywhere. I taught myself to just smile and applaud for trying every day. It’s important to be mindful and thankful, and remember where you started and just keep going. I stay calm for the most part which allows me to create and also to love what I do.
Finally, my advice to anyone wanting to start a business is, JUST DO IT! Find the time to start, make a social media page, market your idea, tell your friends and family to order some items and just promote. Pick up your ingredients and bake! That’s the only way you’ll know. Trust me, I did this all alone, I went for it and it’s steadily paying off. Don’t expect thousands of followers in your first month or 20 orders in the first week. We started with a couple or one order a day, some none. It also all depends on the period, sales can drop or soar. But if you don’t continue to push or keep creating, nothing is going to happen. Create a unique or a family recipe idea and hit the road. Also, do some yoga or meditation to re-balance yourself…