Writing about other people is always quite a scary thing. Most times you feel you may not be doing justice to just how great a person is. Your ability to give a fitting story is the crux of it all. If you fail then your attempt at promoting someone or something may feel pointless. However, there are times when you'll come across certain individuals, whose words are so precise and so significant, that you feel adding to it would somehow make it lose its essence. This is something I wholeheartedly encourage as I often feel that to understand the substance of a business, a story or a life means to hear it from the source. Encouraging people to tell their own stories in their own words results in some beautiful take aways. This has been true of my latest stories and this one is no different.
Sainimili Nasilasila, Sai or Millie is originally from Namuka, Nakelo, Tailevu. A woman of many words. A woman who comes across as being so unapologetically herself. Sai is married to Eseroma from Yasawa and together they have 4 children. She comes from an array of backgrounds and experience namely in Teaching, Customer Service and Health-care.
Below Sai talks about her cake business. A venture that was birthed out of a favour for a friend, and has grown through a lot of patience and hard work, enabling Sai to hone this skill of cake making. A skill that may look easy to many but involves so much trial and error. Having the patience of a saint is a staple in cake making.
"I initially came to the UK to enlist but that didn’t work out quite as planned so I went on my travels to join my husband, who was, at that time, still in the forces. Many “millions of years” later, we are still here. No longer in the forces. Taking each day as it comes and loving life.
As mentioned, I currently work on cakes and cake decorating. I also like to think that I make a mean refrigerated cheesecake (lol) and scrumptious lamingtons as well. Back home I probably wouldn’t have given this a second thought but then a few years ago, a friend of mine was getting married and asked if we could make their wedding cake. Much to my surprise, it turned out way better than I had imagined. That particular wedding saw us making a wedding cake and setting up a "Cakes and Sweets" table. That was my starting point and I have been receiving requests for cakes ever since.
I believe this passion came out of my love for art and my beloved mother. Milly Rasovo (nee Chute) is an artist. Growing up, we were always surrounded by her works of art in our home. She always used to get me to create things. I guess I’ve never ever tried to be the type of artist she was and is, but she inspired me to be creative in my own way. This has finally developed into my passion for art and creativity as seen in my cakes. My cake decorating may not be perfect but I always end up surprising myself and the people who request for the cakes.
Some of the challenges I have faced in this include, last minute cake orders which lead to the challenges of getting ingredients together fairly quick. Also, the availability of equipment and ingredients, especially if there’s a special request for things like passion fruit or edible bespoke prints. At the moment, I am having to order my edible prints in which sometimes doesn’t work if the requests are last minute. There are also unforeseen circumstances such as damage to equipment. I have had to drive around to a 24hr mega store to get a replacement electric mixer so I could complete a cake request. Then there's transportation availability - sometimes I turn people down especially if they request for a delivery. Lastly the issue of cancellations after I have already started working on a cake request. This leads to a major loss for me.
This business has reached some really unimaginable places. There was a request for a reunion cake that was transported all the way to Scotland ( my heart was in my throat until I heard back from them that it had arrived there safely lol). My cakes have also travelled as far as Catterick, Ipswich, Colchester, Southampton, Portsmouth, Chippenham, Aldershot, Stoke, Warminster, Swindon, Shrivenham and some parts of Gloucestershire. I currently have an active secret page on facebook but mostly I have requests from people who have seen my cakes at different venues or on my personal Facebook Page.
The best thing I've found from this is the sense of satisfaction via positive feedback about the cakes people receive. And also the satisfaction it gives me after creating a beautiful piece from a plain cake canvas. Cake decorating is also very therapeutic. Best of all, I am self taught and am learning more and more as I go along.
My long term plans include further developing myself and improving the level of cake decorating I am currently on. I also intend to continue to take each day as it comes and see where the road ahead leads us. This cake business has given me the opportunity to bring out the creativity in me. It has become something that brings me great pleasure and self-calm. It has also allowed me to meet and get to know more people.
I'll leave you with this. If you feel so passionate about something, never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to pursue it. Always reflect on your journey. Try to be better than the person you were yesterday AND know that failure is part of the process of growing. If you fail at first, allow yourself to cry, get yourself back together, pick yourself up and move forward. Never stop learning. To sum it all up, “From the sadness, learn something; from the happiness, learn something. From the setbacks, learn something and even from the success learn something. Never stop learning from any situation in life, for that is where wisdom lies."
Follow Katie2Sweet on Facebook to see Sais work.
(Originally posted on Women's Talanoa group on Facebook on 2 June, 2019 by Suli Tuiteci Lotawa)