As with many of us, Rafaela has always enjoyed cooking, cooking with her mother and grandmother especially, being a true family tradition. She has always worked to perfect her craft, be it through old family recipes or in new discoveries, so when times became a little difficult, it was in cooking and baking that she found some comfort and eventually… a new way of independence, her own business.
Baking was something Rafaela already had experience in, so when she became mom and needed a flexible work schedule to be with her child, the idea of having her own business looked quite promising. She soon realized however that sometimes we need a little more than inspiration, we need guidance in order to transform that first good idea into a business.
“During the last few years, I worked with farmers markets and farms and in the catering business, in food businesses in general, so when I thought in creating a business, all my previous experience plus my passion for food came together to become a project, to create my own cooking business.” Rafaela explained during an interview with us. “It was very hard at the beginning, the first few months I spent researching, googling everything I could, but there is so much information out there that you do not know where to start. I was getting nowhere. Once, in a farmers’ market I used to work, I met Sonia (Sonia Chang, our Food Cottage consultant) and she told me about the NEW Women Business Center and the Cottage Food Program they had, and that was the push I needed for everything to start to happen.”
The same month Rafaela started her classes, she finished the process for registering her business and acquiring the licenses and permits she needed to start operation as a Cottage Food Vendor. Rafaela told us, “If it wasn’t for the WBC and all the guidance of the cottage food program, I would probably still be going around in circles without getting any result.
This is precisely one of the main focuses of all our training programs, to provide not only information, but guidance on the process of creating your own business with your ideas and your vision, but with the necessary support and training that can let you really feel the certainty to succeed. Rafaela told us she was a little anxious at the beginning—she didn’t know how people would react to her products—fortunately, however, she had a marvelous reception and is quickly creating a loyal clientele who will follow her, and her delicious products, to all the venues she and other members of the Cottage Food Pop-up Group go to every week. Her sweet dream has come through and is called, Bayleaf Mama.