Delivering Happiness welcomes guest blogger, Agnes Hsu.
Can happiness be embodied in a pink buttercream swirled cupcake? For me, the answer is a resounding, "yes!" But it took me 30 years to fully understand why. My first five years of life were in Paris where I grew up tempted by the most decadent desserts: silky éclairs, buttery croissants, flaky pain au chocolat, to name a few. My family would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up and my answer was always to open a boulangerie.
My mother called me a “gourmand," or “a person who takes great pleasure in food.” I remember my parents using me as entertainment for their guests – asking me to open and close my chubby hands to get everyone laughing.
Flash forward to my teenage years where I became obsessively interested in health and nutrition. I joined my high school cross-country team and devoured nutrition books. This is when my first interest in baking developed. I was still madly in love with desserts, except now I started learning how to bake so I could make them fat-free and sugar-free shadows of their decadent selves.
I was so fascinated by nutrition that I pursued a Bachelor's and Master’s degree in the field. But after graduate school, I knew being a nutritionist was not something my heart was capable of embracing as a full-time career. My passion for food was growing – not just healthy foods, but all kinds of foods – as I realized how much they connected people. I remember at the time throwing decadent parties where I cooked and baked from scratch for all my friends, and loving how warm and happy I would feel afterwards.
Not knowing what to do next, I applied the analytic skills earned through my graduate schooling toward a market research position at a product company. After five years, however, I was developing an itch to do something on my own – but the only thing I truly loved was food, most of all desserts, my lifelong love.
I took a leap and opened up the Teacake Bake Shop, filled with the most decadent cookies and cupcakes, all baked from scratch and made 100% from sugar and fat. Six years later, I have four of those bake shops plus a facility that ships around the country. But I’ve only been able to excel at my business due to my understanding of food science (applied to baking) and work experience in how to successfully market a company’s brand image.
Our mission at Teacake Bake Shop is to “sweeten your day," to present you with a small slice of heaven and add bliss to your everyday life. Although the medium is through desserts, I’ve found that making other people happy is intrinsically what makes me happy.
I encourage everyone to understand their life’s motivations through the opportunities that present themselves. Sometimes things don’t make sense, but if there’s a burning desire to move and act upon something, it’s usually the right call. Things will fall in place at the least expected time.