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We love a good side-hustle-turned-career story, and this one ticks all the boxes. Faaiza Omar is a trained skincare therapist with a passion for… patisserie.

Yes, she’s got 20 solid years of baking in the bag. But it was Faaiza’s infatuation with perfecting the art of macaron-making got her hooked on French pastries. The “Stylish Baker” began experimenting with different flavours and techniques, posting the sweet treats and recipes on her Instagram account. Fast-forward and she’s successfully managed to turn this passion into a flourishing part-time profession. She tells GH writer Ondela Mlandu how she did it…

The beginning – not without its share of wobbles…

“When I started sharing my patisserie recipes with my followers, the pastry scene in South Africa was emerging,” explains Faaiza. “The ingredients and equipment I required were not available locally. I would cart all my equipment back home in my suitcase when I travelled. This became cumbersome and impractical.”

READ MORE: “We Are Food” Frozen Meal Business Creators: How They Built Their Biz, Plus Advice For Food Industry Newbies

Enter The Stylish Baker online store (and pastry school, for good measure)

Clearly there was a gap in the market. “My sister and I started The Stylish Baker online store. We began procuring and still continue to import ingredients and equipment from all across the globe. We supply hotels, restaurants, and avid bakers,” says Faaiza.

But they didn’t stop there. “The Stylish Baker Pastry School empowers small businesses to improve and grow to new heights, introducing sophisticated French pastry to their menus and techniques that aren’t taught in SA chefs schools.”

What if you love baking but don’t have any experience?

“There are many internships available with hotels and bakeries,” explainsFaaiza. “This is the best way to get hands-on experience. With pastry it’s all about perfecting the technique. There are many international online platforms that offer annual memberships for pastry chefs and many award-winning chefs share recipes, ingredients, equipment and the latest techniques there.”


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I keep pressing the space bar, but I’m still on Earth. ?? Writing a recipebook is no easy feat, baking them 3 times and then once more to shoot them ??‍? whoop whoop ?. I must love baking ? . 5 days of Shooting ‘My Sweet Life ?’ & 5 days to go ?. We shoot 10 recipes a day, each one with a different style. Sure, it’s a lot of work ??‍??, but I can’t explain the incredible feeling of seeing the cakes come to life in the images we have shot thus far. I can’t wait to share them with you, you are going to LOVE them, I have no doubt! Thank you to my amazing team, I couldn’t do it without you ??. Published author coming soon… to my bio ??. The book will be available in stores and on my website soon… watch this space! #mysweetlife?#baking#recipes#recipebook#cakes#pastry#patisserie#patissier#thestylishbaker#alhamdulillah

A post shared by • Faaiza Omar ™️• (@faaiza_omar) on

But back to Faaiza’s biz… What are the basic steps to securing your online store?

1/ Secure a domain for your online store.
2/ Get your website designed and upload your stock or content.
3/ Decide on a payment platform eg. Payfast.
4/ When you’re ready, go live!

Leadership lessons learnt along the way…

1/ Be patient!

“Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes time to master a skill or craft. If I think back now it’s better to remember the other side of this story: Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.”

2/ Embrace every challenge – don’t be despondent.

“There will be rejection; don’t take it to heart.”

3/ Keep evolving. As you grow, so will your career path.

“I started out as a trained skin care therapist and I’m now a pastry chef and run a successful online pastry supply store and pastry school. You can do what you’re passionate about too.”


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Wanna score BROWNIE points? Here you go ?? ? • She asked for brownies, I whipped these up in 10min. Basic brownie batter swirled with peanut butter, topped with choc chips and crushed peanut brittle. Baked and then drizzled with salted caramel. It’s pretty basic ??? • Recipe here ?? Peanut Butter Brownie 120g butter 150g 55% dark choc 3/4 cup brown sugar 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk 1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence 3/4 cup cake flour 3Tblsp cocoa powder 5 Tblsp peanut butter Choc chips (handful) Crushed peanut brittle (2 handfuls) Melt together, butter, choc & sugar. Transfer to a mixing bowl, whisk in eggs/egg yolk and vanilla essence. Whisk in flour and cocoa powder. Pour 3/4 the batter into a lined 20cm square loose bottom cake tin. Dollop the peanut butter randomly, swirl. Then scatter the choc chips & crushed peanut brittle and bake for 25- 30 min on 180C. Serve with a drizzle of salted caramel

A post shared by • Faaiza Omar ™️• (@faaiza_omar) on

Connect with Faaiza

@faaiza_omar is Faazia’s personal Instagram account and @thestylishbakers is her brand account. We love both!

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