By Michelle Lim
Eileen Tan Shi Hui (29) works day in, day out at Leenie’s Bakery to bring smiles to her customer’s faces. Little do most of them know that her business had come to fruition from her deepest, darkest moment in life.
How did Leenie’s Bakery come about?
Honestly, I have no prior culinary background. I was actually enrolled for a Pharmacy degree with a reputable international university. However, by the third semester, I realized I had made the wrong choice of course and it wasn’t what I signed up for.
This led me into depression. With my increasing medical bills, I sought to lighten my family’s burden by baking for some side income, as well as to follow the physician’s advice (to occupy myself all times to help the mind and soul heal). What started out as a hobby, turned into a business. This eventually healed me of my depression.
Was this hard to achieve since you had no culinary background?
Like a baby learning to take its first step, I learnt to walk again. With the power of Google and endless resources online, I learnt how to bake. I began to invest in basic baking tools – a hand-mixer, a cheap oven, and ingredients. For the next 3 years, I patiently brushed up my baking and cake decorating skills and even took an ICCA course. I continued baking, decorating and improving until I sold my first cake!
What’s your challenge in being a business owner?
Life is full of ups and downs. Due to my past, the hardest struggle for me would be to constantly maintain a positive mindset and avoid falling back into depression. I am also relentlessly facing the challenge of thinking up fresh ideas to impress our clientele and keep up with the ‘baked-goods trend’. As my husband Kobee Ng is my business partner, it’s sometimes difficult to find a balance between work and personal life.
Where do you draw inspiration from to make your delectable creations?
Since our cakes are fully personalised based on our client’s preference, I draw inspiration from their stories. I aim to make their stories come to life through Leenie’s Bakery!