Penk Ching, owner of Pastry Bin, which supplies bespoke decorated cakes for special occasions, has been in business for thirty-four years.
She held a corporate job for more than a decade. Her baking and cake decorating was just a hobby she enjoyed but slowly, as more friends and officemates excitedly asked her to make cakes for them, she became serious. At a time when there were only a few cake makers in Manila with no advantage of bridal magazines or social media, word of mouth referrals caught on like wildfire and Penk moved on to become a famous, multi-awarded cake maker for the who’s who of Manila, and making a name for herself internationally as a culinary judge, spokesperson, and cake designer. She made the Olympic Bird’s nest cake for Coca-Cola China in 2008.
A short list among her many more awards and citations include Quezon City award for Turismo, Kulinarya, Talento, atbp; Ten Outstanding Maharlika Women given by Etiquette de Manille; Gourmet Master Entrechef given by Culinary Arts Foundation of the Philippines; Outstanding Alumni from the Philippine Institute of Quezon City Alumni Association, Inc. on its 50th Founding Anniversary; 2012 Women Starpreneur by Go Negosyo; The Outstanding Thomasian Alumni (TOTAL Award: Entrepreneurship) at University of Santo Tomas;
She received the Bronze Award Wedding Cake Category at the Food and Hotel Asia (FHA) Singapore; Silver Award (Freestyle Showpiece) at Asia’s 1st Culinary Cup ’09 (ACC), Thailand;
She coaches the Philippine team who join international competitions like Coupe du Monde Patisserie (World Pastry Cup) in Lyon, France, HOFEX, FHA, and others.
She was the only Asian among three judges for the Grand National Wedding Cake Competitions at the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show in the US last month. She was also (WACS) Certified Judge for World Association of Chef’s Societies.
In addition to her cake business, Penk produces small batches of artisanal potato chips which have been well-received by her elite clientele. On top of that, she is President of the Singaporean learning center, MindChamps International Preschool, which offers premium early childhood education programs developed by experts from Australia, UK, Singapore and USA.
Penk is also gifted in painting. It’s her time to feel nourished, refreshed, and de-stressed which calms and rejuvenates her to be more productive. She feels a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment to see the transformation of a white paper as she adds strokes and colors to it. This is one of her beautiful watercolor paintings:
These are Penk’s Entrepreneurship Tips:
What considerations would be important for women before going into business?
- Be financially stable because going into a new business has its own birth pains. Check if you can sustain yourself. The first few months of operations are very crucial. You should have the support of family or least friends or relatives.
- Have a fall back plan that you can go back to if things don’t work out.
- Be willing to go an extra mile if needed.
- If you have partners, know them well.
How they can equip/prepare themselves?
- Do research on the business you want to enter: products , suppliers, clients, locations , competitors
- Decide what niche in the industry do you want to be in?
- Learn the background of what the business is like. Know what to expect. Make a feasibility study. Know the basics
- Know your product well: production , skills of employees needed; know your market
What mistakes to avoid?
- Everything should be in black and white to avoid misunderstanding and problems.
- Plan well. Avoid spur of the moment decisions
- Money should be handled with care amongst partners
Most important lessons you’ve learned?
- There is always such a thing called “Birth Pains.”[disorder and distress incident especially to a major social change]
- Sacrifices are part of growth.
- Money needs to be earned but saving of earnings is always a must because you will never know what can happen.
- Expenses is part of the game but “Better to save rather than trying to save the business.”
- Knowing who your target market is very important.
- Stay focused until the business can run on its own.
What do you look for in staff?
- Willing to learn
- Can accept mistakes and learn from them
- Willing to work the extra mile
- Not a complainer
- Very diligent
- Hardly absent from work
What inspires you to do what you do?
- I love what I do.
- I love to see that what I did makes people happy .
- I love being challenged.
- I love setting trends.
- I love meeting people.
What are your success secrets?
- I think out of the box.
- I meet people personally ( I am a people person).
- I cater to people from all walks of life.
- I challenge myself to do things differently.
- I reinvent myself.