Mom’s designer cakes find Cebu market niche
It was just a small business to satisfy her passion for baking and designing cakes until her husband passed away in 1990 leaving her with five kids. The eldest was then only 11 years old and her youngest three years old.
To date, Designer Cakes by Chedz has become one of the most sought-after brands when it comes to quality personalized cakes for every occasion such as weddings and birthdays at reasonable prices.
Ever since she was a child, Chedette Zantipha Corazo have always loved baking because of her grandmother, Pureza, who founded the Lola Pureza’s brand of baked pasalubong items sold in supermarkets today.
“Right after graduating in 1973 and finishing a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, I decided to venture into home baking offering cakes for orders in our home back in Green Hills in Mandaue City.”
Corazo said she started small with the business and continued it even after she got married, and moved to Parian in 1979, where she made her home as her bakeshop.
“It was not a serious business back then because my husband was making enough for the family so my earnings from my baking is just our extra income until he died in 1990 and I was forced to be serious with the business to earn enough for the family.”
Coincidentally, a space in Myra’s Pension House along Escario Street, Cebu City opened and was offered to her by the owner who had tasted and loved her cakes.
“I invested around P100,000 to set up the place and hired a baker, an ovener, a cake decorator and two sales staff to help me with the business.”
According to Corazo the outlet was operated like a bakeshop selling slices of cakes which people patronized.
“We also accept cake orders for special occasions then.”
In 1994, another opportunity knocked on Corazo’s doors as she was offered a space in Ayala Center Cebu which just opened that year.
“I thought why not and it could be a good place for my brand. So we opened in Ayala that year and had to close our Escario outlet.”
Their new Ayala outlet was still operated as a retail outlet for cakes and later on became a cafe where people could dine with friends as well as hold meetings while enjoying her products.
Corazo also opened their new production area in Salinas Drive Extension in Lahug, Cebu City where they bake their cakes and all the commissaries for their other family business Lola Pureza’s.
“I also do our business meetings with clients there for cake orders which really did good for the business because my clients find it convenient to visit us.”
The mall however did some rezoning in 2004 and Corazo’s cafe was moved to the Food Court which did not offer as much space as the old space and was too noisy to have a good and comfortable business meeting. So Corazo decided to find another place outside the mall.
“This place here in Gorordo was open and we moved in 2005 as Lifetime Events Depot together with other wedding supplier partners such as wedding coordinators, photographers, florists and more to create a one-stop-shop outlet for the couples-to-be.”
Chedz clients can also make orders and pick them up in the outlet.
From a “one-woman-show” Corazo’s business has grown now with 15 people employed to help in the bakeshop’s operations.
“Since 2007, my daughter Cecille Anne is now running the business as I have also already retired. I’m already based in the United States and only come here for vacations.”
The key to the growth of the business, according to Corazo, is her willingness to keep up with the latest trends and adapt to them especially in new cake designs and processes.
“Before the trend was just meringue icing cakes, now we have fondant cakes in many different designs and forms not only limited to the usual rounded, square or rectangular shapes.”
Corazo said that she and her daughter keep themselves updated by taking crash courses on cake designing as well as reading magazines on food trends specifically in cakes.
“Both Cecille and I are graduates from the Wilton School of Cake Decorating in the U.S.”
Corazo said that she trusts that her daughter will make the business grow more with her fresh new innovations added to make the business more popular.
They have their website www.chedzcakes.com, which gives customers all the information about their products and they can order online, too.
In the United States, Corazo still bakes and accepts orders there.
She said she couldn’t stop baking because it’s what she really loved to do.
“Maybe I could also bring the brand there in time but for now I’m doing it again. It’s another one-man-show for me in there and I think it’s a good start,” Corazo said.
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