Our “So you want to be…” weekly series aims to help you in the process of choosing a career. We will be speaking to a practicing professional to tell us about their field of work. This week, we speak to Dessy Di Mar who’s a cake designer.
Dessy Di Mar is a bubbly 35-year-old Bulgarian baker and cake decorator based in Cape Town. She prefers to be called a cake designer (she says her cakes can justify this, and we agree). Dessi moved to Cape Town from Bulgaria in 2012. She opened her cake business, Cake My Day, which specialises in wedding and party cakes, in February 2013. Dessy also teaches cake decorating at La Petite Pâtisserie Cake Decorating and Patisserie Academy in Centurion Park, Cape Town.
Live SA: What did you study and where?
Dessy Di Mar: I studied at Sofia University in Bulgaria, where I graduated in economics.I didn’t study anything that had to do with art or baking, but I have always loved baking and I have always been very good at it.
LiveS A: When did you start your business?
Dessy: I started baking professionally when a friend of my husband’s who owns a restaurant asked me to make desserts for his restaurant. After some time, another friend of ours suggested that I get into cake decorating. I then went to La Petite Pâtisserie which is a cake decorating and pâtisserie academy, where I took a total of four classes over six days ranging in kind. Thereafter, I started taking Youtube tutorials and experimenting until I was ready to start my business.
Live SA: What does your job entail?
Dessy: I design, bake and decorate wedding and party cakes. I deliver and set them up at the venues. My projects can vary from one cake to catering a number of baked goods for parties.
Live SA: What is a typical week like for you?
Dessy: On Mondays, I look at emails and orders for the week and plan based on how long they are going to take. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are for baking. On Thursdays and Fridays, I decorate the cakes. On Saturdays I deliver the cakes at the venues and set them up. Once I am done, I can take my weekend rest.
Live SA: Have your studies in Economics been helpful in the business?
Dessy :Yes. I understand what it means to brand my business and position it in the market. I want to appeal to a certain class level, so my brand has to be attractive to them. Economics taught me that this is done through marketing and pricing and paying attention to the quality of my products. Placing my cakes at a higher price-point and refining my skills makes my brand exclusive.
LiveSA: What has been you biggest challenge?
Dessy: My biggest challenge was making a cake replica of the Empire State building in New York. The task was enormous because of the cake’s architectural detail and size (it was 90cm high). But in the end it was a success.
Live SA: And your highlight?
Dessy: One of my cakes is going to be featured on an American wedding magazine called DIY. The issue comes out at the end of January 2015. This is a big compliment and I am excited because it is going to get me recognition.
Live SA: What do you love most about your work?
Dessy: The warm reaction I get from people when I present their finished cakes to them. I also love that I can be a part of people’s fondest life memories.
Live SA: What could possibly be off putting about this business?
Dessy: I wouldn’t recommend my work to someone who does not like to work with people and is looking to make a lot of money, because people are your business and it doesn’t pay very well.
Live SA: What misconceptions do people have about Cake Designing?
Dessy: Reality television shows about baking or cake shops perpetuate the idea that it’s easy and quick. A cake can take a whole week to make and it requires intricate work.
Live SA: What are your goals?
Dessy: I want to develop my skills and my brand. I would like to move to a more professional and elegant space where customers can view and taste my cakes – have a pâtisserie. I also want to add more complex techniques to my design as well as my teaching programme.
Visit the Cake My Day Facebook page and Twitter page @CakeMyDaySA.
Follow me on Twitter: @ayandacharlie