Children, as we know it, can be very picky eaters. Sophia Loy, a stay-at-home mum of 4, discovered that all her children had quite the sweet tooth. So she utilised this knowledge and learnt baking. Eventually, her kids were not the only ones who loved her desserts and the idea to open up Petite Bakehouse came about.

Today, Sophia caters to thousands of customers every day, through her website as well as the physical shop located in Sengkang, Singapore.

The New Savvy: How have your past experiences led you to become who you are today?

Sophia: I was exposed to the wonders of entrepreneurship at a young age.

Growing up, I was humbled by the fact that my paternal grandparents ran a coffee stall to support their 8 children. Since it was located in Lau Pa Sat, I would typically help out whenever I need to earn extra pocket money or just have the free time away from studying.

Eventually, during my tertiary education, my schoolmates and I handmade jewellery. We would then sell it along Orchard Road that funded our school trips.

These influences inspired me to lean towards entrepreneurship. Many people think that a baking business is easy. However, what keeps me going every day is knowing that I create uniquely decorated goodies not only for my family but those who support my passion and entrepreneurship endeavours.

The New Savvy: Tell us more about your business. How did you get started in this business?

Sophia: At first, I only learnt baking for my children. However, I received many compliments from my family and friends who have tried my baking delicacies. So I decided to pursue it and learn baking professionally.

After I finished my baking examinations, I chanced upon a newspaper article about kitchen rental. With the encouragement from my husband, I met with the owner and started my bakeshop.

Petite means small in French. At Petite Bakehouse, you will find small but scrumptious delicacies such as bread, cakes and colourful pastries that are suitable to young and old.

Since we specialise in personalised orders, all our baked goodies from scratch, most of which contain less sugar and less oil. Our bread is even made with 100% sourdough, which is rather uncommon in bakeshops around Singapore!

The New Savvy: What do you love about your job?

Sophia: Having the liberty to create my own baking delicacies, adjusting the recipes to my own liking and selling them to people who love it.

The New Savvy: How do you keep in touch with your customer base?

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Sophia: Thankfully, we live in a generation where everybody is tech-savvy and well-connected through the internet. I keep in touch with my customer base via social media websites and apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.

I also update and check Petite Bakehouse’s website and email for any enquiries from potential and existing customers. Additionally, I blast out an online newsletter to my subscribers weekly to make sure that they are up-to-date with our latest offers!

The New Savvy: What is an interesting story about a customer interaction you had?

Sophia: One of the joys of baking is being able to make food that will become a part of my customers’ best memories.

Recently, a male customer came in, requesting for a set of cupcakes that will aid him in his wedding proposal. He wanted the engagement ring to be inside in one of the cupcakes. After much deliberation and discussion, we managed to create a simple cupcake arrangement with colours that he chose himself.

She said yes!

Afterwards, He shared with us their engagement photo. It was heartwarming to know that Petite Bakehouse was part of such a loving memory for the beautiful couple. I’m looking forward to creating something even more special for their wedding day!

The New Savvy: What was your most difficult decision you have made in your life?

Sophia: Although being an entrepreneur gives me the ability to plan my own schedule. Business is ever expanding which results sacrificing my time with my children.

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I was a stay-at-home-mom for 10 years. And even though I wish I could have spent 10 more years with each child, I started my business.

Luckily with the help of my husband, we manage to handle the kids well. Now they are all grown up and are able to help me at my bakeshop too.

The New Savvy: What was the best piece of advice you ever got? The worst?

Sophia: The best piece of advice was not an advice per se but a famous quote by John Lennon. “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” Words that I have lived by, whenever I am faced with any struggle whatsoever.

The worst advice I got was “Don’t risk your money in business. Go buy insurance.” If I actually listened to this, I would not be where I am today.

The New Savvy: How to balance your children and business?

Sophia: My kids are growing up. This year, they are 12, 14, 16 and 18 years old respectively. Over the years, I’ve gotten them involved with my business. When they are not studying or at home, I let them help me out in baking and other shop responsibilities. So that we can spend quality time even during my working hours.

Additionally, my bakeshop is closed on weekends and public holidays; this is to ensure that I spend ample time with my entire family every chance I get.

The New Savvy: What do you love most about being a mother?

Sophia: Being pampered by all of them when I get back from work, especially when I’m not feeling well. I guess it’s true when they say that “what goes around comes around”. It is definitely the greatest feeling to come home after a long hard day of baking to the comfort of being surrounded by your children.

The New Savvy: Before you considered baking as your full-time job, what did you do?

Sophia:  I graduated with a diploma in graphic design at Temasek Polytechnic. So by profession, I’m a graphic designer. Back then, I worked in publishing firms like Music Plaza, CLEO, Citta Bella, Home & Decor, and HerWorld. This was all before I decided to become a stay-at-home mom which eventually led to my baking enterprise.

The New Savvy: Do you think that there are any transferable skills between being a mother and an entrepreneur?

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Sophia: Three skills that I think are crucial for both moms and entrepreneurs are: multi-tasking, time management and budgeting.

The New Savvy: How do you manage Petite Bakehouse’s accounts and finances?

Sophia: Budgeting all expenses and works within as much as possible. We use external accounting servicing yearly.

The New Savvy: What financial planning have you done for the future (for yourself and/or your children)?

Sophia: My husband handles all the financial planning for all of us. For that, I am truly grateful as it gives me more time to focus on my children as well as my business.

The New Savvy: Which people do you admire most in your life?

Sophia: My paternal grandparents. Like I said before, they run a humble coffee stall that was able to support a family of 10.

To this day, my grandparents’ business is still going strong even after 70 years. I really admire them because they worked tirelessly and never faltered in making sure that they were able to support all their children. From selling simple breakfast such as coffee, tea, eggs and kaya toast, my grandparents showed me the fruits of joy that stemmed from family, determination and hard work.

The New Savvy: If you were 80 years old, what would you tell your children?

Sophia: Won’t be waiting till I’m 80. I already told them to “Live Simply. Dream Big!”

The New Savvy: Give us a parting quote! 

Sophia: You never try, you never know

 

 

 

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Editorial Executive @ The New Savvy
Anika is currently a student at RMIT University acquiring a Bachelor's Degree in Professional Communication. She also graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) with a Diploma in Mass Communication. She was a writer for npTribune, section editor for HYPE magazine and also the captain of the Touch Football women’s team. She has gained transferable skills from various industries through her extensive exposure in renowned companies such as Shell, Marina Bay Sands, and Red Bull. Through her passion for literature, Anika participated in Singapore Writers’ Festival 2017 and regularly attends spoken word events. During her free time, Anika likes to do Crossfit, watch Netflix and document everything her Pomeranian puppy Leio does. In the near future, She is looking to further her education and hopefully, one day, become a lawyer.

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